The Tim Geithner Legacy Project
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Step One in the Tim Geithner Legacy Project is complete: Barack Obama delivered a ringing endorsement of the Treasury secretary, who’ll be stepping down on January 25. Here’s the president:
“With the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together. So when the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest Secretaries of the Treasury.”
Step Two: favorable consensus opinion. Neil Irwin writes that Geithner was “one of the most important Treasury secretaries in history” — he agrees that Geithner’s primary task was to “stop the bleeding” and that Geithner’s experience at the NY Fed made him a highly capable financial first-responder.
Joe Weisenthal pulls a chart from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis that puts Geithner’s tenure in perspective: compared to previous financial crises — and compared to other countries recovering from the current crisis — the US job market has rebounded relatively quickly. Politico joins in the praise, and includes this gem from a former colleague: “If anything, he was quite focused on the pain the country was suffering”.
Not everybody is so positive, however. Paul Krugman isn’t sad to see him go: “Geithner has consistently been a voice urging the president to cave in for fear of upsetting the markets, with no real concern for the dangers of giving in to blackmail.”
And Binyamin Appelbaum tweeted his own take on Geithner’s legacy by pointing to an August piece headlined “Cautious moves on foreclosures haunting Obama”. The administration, Appelbaum wrote, “tried to finesse the cleanup of the housing crash”, and that caution hurt economic growth. (You can read more on the Obama Treasury’s troubled housing legacy here and here.)
What’s Step Three? Geithner told Charlie Rose that he’s unlikely to write a book after leaving office, and he’s equally unlikely to want to stay in Washington as Fed chairman. So maybe he’ll just work on his jump shot for a while before taking that inevitable highly-remunerative job at BlackRock. — Ben Walsh
On to today’s links:
It turns out that it’s actually quite hard to tell if Herbalife is (technically) a pyramid scheme – Steven Davidoff
“Have a shake, share an Aloe”: A great liveblog of the Herbalife conference – Will Alden