Former University president Larry H. Summers stirred up controversy earlier this week after his statements on a morning talk show seemed to contradict U.S. president Barack Obama's position on Bush-era tax cuts.
Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" television program Wednesday morning, Summers, who is currently an economic adviser to Obama, seemed to imply that the tax cuts should be extended beyond their current Jan. 1, 2013 expiration date.
"The real risk to this economy is on the side of slowdown, certainly not on the side of overheating, and that means we’ve got to make sure we don’t take gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year," Summers said. "That’s got to be the top priority.”
Summers was responding to questions about comments from former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who the day before seemed to suggest that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts should be postponed to allow for economic recovery.
Clinton quickly retracted his comments after push-back from the Obama campaign, but Republicans have since jumped on both his Summers' statements as evidence of bipartisan disapproval of tax increases.
Summers, in a written statement to the Crimson, clarified his statement on "Morning Joe" and said he thought Bush-era tax cuts should not be extended.
"People look for excitement and conflict but there should be none here," Summers wrote in a statement to The Crimson. "I have been thinking and saying the same thing for months. I am strongly for doing more to promote demand and economic growth. I am very concerned about upcoming fiscal cliff and expect that if congress does not act, the economy will go into recession. When congress acts, the actions should include infrastructure investment, relief for states, continuing middle class tax relief, tax reform to broaden the base and lower rates, and further steps to address entitlements. The actions should not include extending the [B]ush high income tax cuts."