Thursday, March 19, 2009

Borrowed time?

The Times joins the list of those questioning whether Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can long endure.

From the article: "Fair or not, questions about why Mr. Geithner did not know sooner about the A.I.G. bonuses and act to stop them threaten to overwhelm his achievements and undermine Mr. Obama’s overall economic agenda."

What are the Secretary's achievements? Either because they have been slim, or hard to describe, or have not yet come to fruition, or because neither Treasury or the White House have been effective in getting them out to the people, they are hard to discern. That needs to change.

The Treasury Secretary's political weight needs to be heavy if the administration is going to get us out of our plight on its terms. Remember a few months ago, when Hank Paulson (Hank Paulson!) seemed to be running the country? Yes, I know, in those days of yore the Oval Office was for all intents and purposes vacant, but even a strong President needs a strong lieutenant at the Treasury. President Obama can't afford to spend his political capital on building up Tim Geithner's credibility; the Secretary will have to do that for himself. We need leadership, and not just from the President. If Mr. Geithner is not going to be an asset, he needs to get out of the way.

(And this from someone who paled at the thought of Larry Summers as Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration.)

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Tim Geithner seems awkward and uncertain when trying to talk tough. It is not the kind of skin he is comfortable living in. Effective communicators must be more than smart. They have to sell their ideas with real conviction. I think TG needs to spend more time with his family, here on Cape Cod.

I, too, cringe at Summers. Why has he upstaged Paul Volker so constantly? Does he feel threatened by Volker? Why does Obama stand for this kind of gamesmanship? Why has Obama been so silent about the Chas Freeman kneecapping? I'm becoming more cynical by the day.