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Friday, November 20, 2009

Tim Geithner on the Brink

One thing is for sure, Tim Geithner would win the award for most embattled Presidential aide or cabinet member after ten months. Even before he was confirmed, Geithner faced controversy when it was revealed that he didn't pay his taxes. Since then, a series of embarrassing public appearances and vague explanations have caused Geithner to lose the confidence of many.

Tim Geithner rolled out the PPIP plan. That's if you want to call it a rollout. Instead, it was more of a sketch. The rollout was so embarrassing that the markets were spooked and dropped about 300 points that day. Geithner also once suggested that the dollar didn't need to remain the world's currency and that caused the dollar to tank following that announcement. (the Treasury Secretary is on our currency and so it's important, to say the least, for that same individual to contribute to its strength not weakness) He later rolled out the same PPIP in much greater detail and that lead to a rise in the market on that day. (of course the same PPIP program was later scaled back significantly)

The heat was taken off Geithner for a while, though he's become the butt of ridicule for conservatives since the revelation that he didn't pay his taxes. Meanwhile, many liberals are non too happy with Geithner either. He's seen as far too close with Wall Street by liberals and they were hoping for much more populist policies.

This week a lot of these tensions bubbled back to the surface. The bubbled up following revelations of Treasury IG Neal Barofsky that Geithner failed to negotiate a good deal for the tax payers in the AIG deal while President of the New York Federal Reserve.

Of course, while this was revealed this past week, all of this occurred in 2008. The time to discuss it was during his confirmation. Had this come to light then, along with tax revelations, it's unlikely that he would have made it through. Still, during te course of this week, Democrat Peter Defazio of Oregon and Republicans lead by Kevin Brady of Texas called on Geithner to resign.

Now, it's important that Geithner hasn't done anything recently to cause anyone to ask for his resignation. That can be viewed two ways. On the one hand, you could call it nitpicking. On the other hand, you could call it a lack of confidence that has been brought to the surface. One thing is for certain. Geithner's public presentation doesn't create a sense of security. That doesn't create a sense of comfort in his stewardship of the economy.

He's fumbled a series of Treasury tasks. More than that, there's a growing sense that the Obama administration doesn't know what it's doing on the economy. Our deficit will be about $1.5 trillion this year. Unemployment may reach 11% and beyond. There doesn't seem to be any end in sight, nor is there a sense that they can fix this.

On top of all this, Geithner, and Obama for that matter, continue to blame Bush. That's what happened in Geithner's exchange with Brady.

There's no worse leadership than blaming others. That's been the M.O. of the Obama administration. Whenever they were challenged on any of their misdeeds: massive deficits, massive unemployment, etc., they blame Bush. The half life on that ended months ago and they would be wise to put an end to it. Geithner wins no points by blaming his problems on the previous administration. The massive deficit is entirely his administration's not Bush's. It was his administration that promised that unemployment wouldn't reach above 8% with the stimulus, not Bush. These are the things that are making people jittery, and Geithner is doing nothing to relieve the jitters by blaming Bush.


Anonymous said...

I for one am glad Geither refused to heed calls to resign. Because he does not deserve the privilege of resigning. Obama needs to fire him. Were Geither to "graciously" resign, Obama wouldn't learn anything. If Obama were to fire him at least we'd know Obama "gets it". "It" being its not the economy its JOBS. Jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs! Next to Jobs, the Dow and GDP are just meaningless numbers on a page. The era of the Democratic Leadership Council is long, long gone. The sooner Obama realizes that, the better off he'll be both with his base and with the economy. And the only way we'll know if he realizes that is if he fires Geither and Summers.

Anonymous said...

He is not "on the brink".

He is not even close to resigning.