Summers Leaving Obama's Economic Team

Another of President Obama’s leading economic-policy wonks will leave the White House following the midterm elections.

Bloomberg News first reported the impending departure of Lawrence Summers, the director of the National Economic Council and the person who gives the president his daily economic briefing. Summers will return to Harvard University at the end of the year to teach economics and, according to the White House, to write about job creation and the global financial system.

 “We will miss him here at the White House, but I look forward to soliciting his continued advice and his counsel on an informal basis, and appreciate that he has agreed to serve as a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board,” Obama said in a press release.

The announcement of Summers’s departure comes within weeks of other vacancies opening up on the White House’s economic-policy team. Christina Romer, chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, left in early September. In her farewell speech, she made a pitch for a second stimulus package to combat the country’s persistently high unemployment rate. Peter Orszag, the president’s budget guru, is now writing a column for The New York Times. If the midterm elections do not go well for the Democrats, skeptics wonder, will Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner follow his economic comrades out the door?

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