The Deck is Stacked

“I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them.” This is the advice that Larry Summers, then Director of the National Economic Council, gave Elizabeth Warren, when she was chairman of the committee investigating TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.”

Warren was passed over as the first Director of the Consumer Protection Agency, though she had been its major architect. Perhaps that was why she chose to take an independent course and run for the Senate from Massachusetts – or was she taking Summer’s advice to heart?

As senator it will hardly be her last chance to become an insider. The revolving door between legislators and lobbyists guarantees lucrative careers.

Interviewed by Gretchen Morgenson for The New York Times, she said with some heat: “The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes.” (See, “From Outside or Inside, the Deck Looks Stacked.”)

That doesn’t sound like someone who wants to be an insider.