Summers Finds Area of Agreement With Paul Krugman (VIDEO)

05/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

The White House chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, finally found a point of agreement with Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman: the belief that the economy remains in a precarious despite slight signs of improvement.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Summers was asked about the New York Time's columnist's warning that the public should not consider current signs of an economic turnaround to be proof that the recovery has worked.

"You know, I disagree with Paul about a lot of things, but he is right to be raising cautions," said Summers. "That's why, when I just spoke about the economy, I said that after a period when, when everything was negative, there was now some mixture in the indicators. We don't know what, we don't know, we can't know with certainty what's going to happen next, and there certainly are real risks ahead."

The remarks fell in-line with the generally cautious rhetoric of Summers' Meet the Press appearance. Outlining a new economic structure for the nation, the former Clinton Treasury Secretary described a financial system built on better regulation and a new ethos guiding how the American consumer saves and spends.

"Individuals are going to have to save more," he said. "That's why savings incentives are so important. That's why we need to do things to stop the marketing of credit in ways that addicts people to it, so that our households are again saving, and families are again preparing to send kids to college, for their retirement, and so forth."

In one of the more playful moments of the interview, Summers was asked about the series of tea party protests that occurred this past week in opposition to the Obama administration's tax policies.

"You know, I don't know that much about politics," Summers said, "but I've been surprised by these tea parties a bit. The President is the one proposing cutting taxes on virtually all Americans, so I'm not sure who these tea parties see as being King George."