James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

More on the future of Geithner, Summers and the Obama econ team

April 8, 2010

Bruce Bartlett adds this on the speculation about Tim Geithner and Larry Summers:

Keep in mind that one reason for creation of the NEC in the first place was to give Bob Rubin someplace nice to hang his hat while waiting for Lloyd Bentsen to move on after being given Treasury to protect Bill Clinton’s right flank. Keep in mind also that Geithner is widely viewed as being under Larry’s protection. Without that it is quite possible that Tim would be gone already, given the generally poor grades he has gotten from across the political spectrum. Finally, remember that the appointment as NEC director does not require Senate confirmation, which may be an attractive quality in this political environment.

Someone like Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary, might be a good replacement for Larry and, eventually, Tim. Knowing how badly Roger would like to be Treasury secretary, I’d start packing my bags if I were Tim and Roger became my de facto White House boss.

I think Jon Corzine may also have aspirations for being Treasury secretary, but considering how badly his term as governor of New Jersey went I suspect that considerable time will need to pass before he is politically viable again.

Me: I think all this is really premature. I think Geithner’s stock has skyrocketed and will only elevate further if the economy improves the way the WH thinks/hopes it will. Roger Altman, by the way, wants a VAT, like, yesterday. ¬†And a BIG one.

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