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Timothy Geithner, in our view, deserves retirement, not promotion

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Where was Geithner in turmoil?

    By Andrew Ross Sorkin
    Published: November 25, 2008


    President-elect Barack Obama unveiled on Monday an economic team with deep experience handling economic crises. But does the man at the center of this star-studded cast, Timothy Geithner, the nominee for Treasury secretary, have the chops to take the nation in a new financial direction?

    That is what a number of Wall Street chieftains are quietly asking, even after the stock market surged with relief after his nomination.

    One reason Obama gave for nominating Geithner was his "unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency." More important, he suggested, "Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today's markets — and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them."

    Geithner is clearly a 47-year-old wonder boy.

    A graduate of Dartmouth, he has a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, did a turn with Henry Kissinger's consulting firm, a stint in the Clinton administration and, for the last five years, has been the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    He will effectively lead the team Obama has chosen to mend a crippled economy. That's important because they won't just be debating economic theory — they will be making deals Wall Street-style, negotiating billion-dollar bailouts and restructuring entire industries on behalf of their client, the taxpayers.

    But Geithner's involvement in several ultimately ill-fated efforts to buttress the American financial system is the very reason some Wall Street CEO's — a number of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of piquing the man who regulates them — question whether he's up to the challenge.

    "We have only two things to say about Tim Geithner, who we do not know: AIG and Lehman Brothers," said Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics. "Throw in the Bear Stearns/Maiden Lane fiasco for good measure," he said, referring to the site of the New York Federal Reserve, where many rescue discussions took place.

    "All of these 'rescues' are a disaster for the taxpayer, for the financial markets and also for the Federal Reserve System as an organization. Geithner, in our view, deserves retirement, not promotion."


    "He was in the room at every turn of the crisis," said another executive who participated in several such confidential meetings with Geithner. "You can look at that both ways."

    While Henry Paulson Jr., the current Treasury secretary, has taken a drubbing for the changeable nature of the government's efforts to bolster the financial industry — some of which clearly contradicted each other — Geithner has managed, for the most part, to remain unscathed. He's been widely praised as a bright, articulate out-of-the box thinker who is a bailout expert, to the extent anyone can truly be an expert at fast-changing emergencies.

    Behind the scenes, Geithner was the point person for weeks of sleep-deprived Bailout Weekends. It was Geithner, not Paulson, for example, who put together the original rescue plan for the American International Group.

    And, of course, Geithner also oversaw and regulated an entire industry whose decline has delivered a further blow to an already weakened American economy. Under his watch, some of the biggest institutions that were the responsibility of the New York Fed — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and most recently, Citigroup — faltered. While he was one of the first regulators to smartly articulate the potential for an impending disaster, a number of observers question whether he went far enough to stop the calamity.

    Perhaps what has most people on Wall Street stirring is Geithner's role in the fall of Lehman. At the time of its bankruptcy, he, along with Paulson, appeared to be the most vocal in supporting the government's refusal to bail out the firm, according to people involved in various meetings. With hindsight, many in the financial industry blame a deepening of the global financial crisis on the government's decision to let Lehman crumble.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there have been moves afoot in recent weeks by some in the New York Fed and Obama team to put distance between Paulson and Geithner, whose salary was $398,200 last year and who will take a pay cut to $191,300 in his new role.

    These include the suggestion that Geithner was not in league with Paulson over Lehman; that Geithner pressed to save the firm from bankruptcy; that he was a lone voice on the subject and was overruled by Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, on this issue.

    The validity of this new claim is hard to verify. The New York Fed declined to comment.

    Many executives suggest it may be a bit of revisionist history. "If that's true, he did a good job of hiding it," said one executive who spent the weekend at the New York Federal Reserve the weekend of Lehman's fall.

    Paulson has only praise for Geithner. "I have the highest regard for Tim — his judgment and creativity have been critical to designing and implementing the necessary actions we've taken to protect and strengthen our financial system," he said.

    Let's hope he's right.

  2. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    A Nation article I posted earlier is also skeptical of this appointment.
  3. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I keep hearing alot of people say this. I wonder if the Government had to do it over again, would they choose to save Lehman Brothers?
  4. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    The "leaders" of Lehman Brothers and every company like it along with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd all need to end up in jail with their assets seized.

    This is stealing plain and simple. The politicians that benefited financially from these irrational policies put in place with a wink and a nod to the Bankers need to go first. Then round up all of the fat cats and throw them in a cell. To bad the Judaical Department will never do anything. All bought and paid for. Nice and tidy.
  5. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Christopher Whalen is clearly a smart man, but he's taken a bit of the extremist view on the financial crisis, once quoting Henry Ford's statement:

    "Let them fail; let everybody fail! I made my fortune when I had nothing to start with, by myself and my own ideas. Let other people do the same thing. If I lose everything in the collapse of our financial structure, I will start in at the beginning and build it up again." Henry Ford, February 11, 1933

    But, I think, letting every financial institution fail would have been the true "disaster for the taxpayer," or what little would be left of the taxpayer.
  6. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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  7. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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