Paul Volcker, the chairman of Obama's new economic advisory panel, is reportedly fuming over delays in organizing the outside expert panel.
The chief obstruction to getting the group’s 16 members in place, according to sources, is Lawrence Summers, national economic council director in the Obama administration.
"Summers isn't regularly inviting Volcker to White House meetings and hasn't shown interest in collaborating on policy or sharing potential solutions to the economic crisis," according to a source quoted by Bloomberg News.
A Clinton-era Treasury secretary, Summers is in charge of White House economic policy. Reagan-era Fed Chairman Volcker, by contrast, was tapped to bring new ideas and "out-of-the-box" thinking to economic policy debates.
Ego appears to be the center of the problem.
"When you have two strong, highly accomplished, driven people, it's not unusual that there is going to be a battle over turf," James Cox, a Duke University law school professor, told Bloomberg.
But Summers brushed off the notion of any conflict between himself and Volcker.
"Paul's [Volcker] got the kind of experience that no one else has, and the president enormously values his advice," Summers said recently.
Volcker, meanwhile, warns that inaction will be costly and that the stimulus bill still sitting in the Senate will cost more — much more — than politicians believe.
"It's going to cost more money to deal with this financial crisis ... It's going to be lots more billions of dollars," Volcker told the Senate Banking Committee this week.
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