Former Treasury Secretary and Obama economic adviser Larry Summers may be the front-runner to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. But he could face a tough time getting confirmed by the Senate. Liberal groups are stepping up the pressure on President Obama to pick someone else. The Wall Street Journal reports that at least three Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are expected to oppose Summers if he’s nominated. This sets up “a razor-thin vote to determine who will lead the central bank at a critical moment for its easy-money policies,” the paper reports. No Republican has publicly expressed support for Summers or any other likely Fed nominees. President Obama is expected to announce his choice in the next few weeks.
What a difference a year makes. Unlike the past few global economic summits, European leaders are out of the firing line at the G20. With its debt crisis “Europe felt whipped; the class dunce,” says this morning’s Reuters report from St. Petersburg. Now much of Europe has emerged from a recession and its finances appear to be in somewhat better shape. “I want to tell you, at this G20 we were no longer the focus of attention,” said a relieved European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
A controversial report by a consulting company helping to restructure Detroit’s finances says pension trustees weakened the city’s retirement funds with misspending. Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July. Its state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the city has underfunded obligations of $3.5 billion for pensions and $5.7 billion for retiree health. The Detroit News says the report found that trustees used hundreds of millions of dollars on savings plans for active workers and gave out annual bonus checks. This spending was “effectively robbing” pension funds and contributed to a “significant underfunding,” according to the report.
Stocks rose yesterday for the third straight day with encouraging news on jobs from the private ADP payroll survey and higher sales from two major store chains. Costco was among the best performers. Crude oil futures rose again with West Texas crude now above $108 with concerns about a possible US military strike against Syria. The biggest single factor to influence financial markets today is the monthly employment survey from the Labor Department, due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc