By Ryan Lizza – The New Yorker 23 Jan 12
In a piece this week on Barack Obama’s shift from idealism to pragmatism, I describe an important fifty-seven-page document from Lawrence Summers to President-elect Barack Obama dated December 15, 2008:
Marked “Sensitive and Confidential,” the document, which has never been made public, presents Obama with the scale of the crisis. “The economic outlook is grim and deteriorating rapidly,” it said. The U.S. economy had lost two million jobs that year; without a government response, it would lose four million more in the next year. Unemployment would rise above nine per cent unless a significant stimulus plan was passed. The estimates were getting worse by the day.
This document is the ur-text of economic policymaking for the Obama Administration. Given the importance of this issue for understanding the past few years, I’m making the full document available below. (Click on the arrows in the lower left corner to expand.) I hope it ignites a lively debate.
Read the full Memo [PDF]