The Geithner approach: make the best of bad choices

October 21, 2009

Ever wonder how the U.S. Treasury Secretary gets through some of the most economically stressful times this country has seen in a while — does he go for long runs? Sleep two hours a night?

Timothy Geithner has been in the job less than a year, and came in after the economy had slumped into recession. Now unemployment is approaching 10 percent, he’s had to navigate through an economic stimulus package, and on top of all that the weakness of the U.S. dollar has other countries questioning whether it should still be the reserve currency.

Enough problems, we imagine, to give anyone a big giant headache and more than a few sleepless nights.

So what does Geithner do under the weight of it all?

“I’ve been in the middle of this for quite a long time,” he said in an interview at the Reuters Washington Summit on Tuesday. (Remember, before this job, Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank).

His general approach, Geithner said, is to “focus on trying to make sure you’re making the best of a bunch of bad choices.”

And to make sure “you are helping the president make sensible decisions,” he said.

“I think the basic imperative in these things is just to make sure people understand that we’re not going to debate when there’s a problem anymore, we’re not going to like hope it takes care of itself, we’re going to commit to fix it,” Geithner said. “And we’re going to do what it takes to fix it.”

For more news from the Reuters Washington Summit, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Geithner at Reuters Washington Summit)

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