Secretary Geithner Visits Detroit
Secretary Geithner Visits Detroit by US Treasury Department
The Washington Post has a great and frankly terrifying most read profile of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He has been a top proponent in the White House of not worry about jobs but instead feed the deficit hysteria.
By early last year, Geithner was beginning to gain the upper hand in a rancorous debate over whether to propose a second economic stimulus program to Congress, beyond the $787 billion package lawmakers had approved in 2009.
Lawrence Summers, then the director of the National Economic Council, and Christina Romer, then the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, argued that Obama should focus on bringing down the stubbornly high unemployment rate. This was not the time to concentrate on deficits, they said.
Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, wanted the president to start proposing ways to bring spending in line with tax revenue.
The economic team went round and round. Geithner would hold his views close, but occasionally he would get frustrated. Once, as Romer pressed for more stimulus spending, Geithner snapped. Stimulus, he told Romer, was “sugar,” and its effect was fleeting. The administration, he urged, needed to focus on long-term economic growth, and the first step was reining in the debt.
Geithner wasn’t just wrong but devastatingly wrong. The pivot away from jobs has result in a staled recovery, hurting millions of Americans and likely endangering Obama re-election.
The most amazing thing about the entire article, of course, isn’t that it shows Geithner has been a destroyer, that should have been clear from his role in the financial melt down and HAMP. Rather it is simply that Geithner can be so constantly wrong yet still keep his job. He defines failing upward.