Ability to fight recession a matter of serious concern, Larry Summers says

Summers: Voters sour on traditional economic policy
Summers: Voters sour on traditional economic policy

The concern about low interest rates and the ability to fight off a recession should be keeping central banks up at night, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNBC on Monday.

That's because interest rates typically come down 500 basis points to contain a recession, and according to market pricing, there's not going to be 500 basis points of room anytime soon, he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"Probably sometime in the foreseeable future we'll have a recession in some major part of the world. And yet we don't really have the fuel in the tank to respond," said Summers.

"That's got to be a matter of serious concern … in terms of monetary policy frameworks, a matter of serious concern requiring more use of fiscal policies than we've seen so far."

Summers believes there is a strong case for "substantially expanded" infrastructure investment in the United States and Europe.

"It's demand in job creation in the short run. It's increased economic capacity in the medium run," Summers said. "It's more economic growth that can ultimately improve the budgetary picture and, crucially, it's the removal of what is a huge differed maintenance liability from our national balance sheet."

Both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have said if elected to the White House they would increase infrastructure spending.