Meet Obama’s Cabinet: 7 Things to Know About Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner


His bio:  Geithner is President of the NY Federal Reserve.  He “is a career government official who has worked for the Treasury under five secretaries since 1988. He served as undersecretary of international economics from 1998 to 2001 and held several other Treasury posts…Geithner doesn’t have the stigma of working for an investment bank during the period when New York institutions expanded their use of the financial instruments that contributed to the financial crisis.  (Marketwatch)

He’s internationally experienced:  “Geithner has a deep understanding of monetary and fiscal policy and broad experience in international trade issues. Before the current crisis, he was involved in the bailouts of Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Brazil and Thailand.”  (New York Times)

He saw it coming…and spoke up:  “Back in 2006, while most of the financial establishment was pooh-poohing the possibility that the global economy was at any risk from a systemic shock, Geithner was actively warning that unregulated derivatives posed a threat to financial market stability.” (Salon)

He’s independent“Geithner has never made a political contribution to any candidate for federal office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations.” (Wall Street Journal)

His criticism:  He “would likely endure some critical questioning over his role in the decision to let investment bank Lehman Brothers fail, which many experts say exacerbated the crisis, as well as other unpopular decisions involving him, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson – particularly the rocky bailout of the insurance giant AIG…Geithner reportedly did not want to let Lehman fail, but he and other Fed officials were overruled by Paulson.  (Politico)

He’s Obama’s type:  “Geithner has a great deal in common with Obama. They’re almost exactly the same age. (Both were born in August 1961.) They’re both products of elite East Coast universities: Geithner was a Dartmouth undergrad and has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins. Like Obama, Geithner is a citizen of the world. He spent a chunk of his childhood in Asia. (He has “lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China, and Japan,” his résumé notes.) Both are skinny, fit, high-energy guys with two children. And like Obama, Geithner sometimes appears mismatched to the majesty of his surroundings. Geithner has a quick laugh, a sense of irony, and bounces in and out of rooms at the sedate New York Federal Reserve.” (Slate)

He’s a hipster:  “He skateboards and snowboards and exudes a sort of hipster-wonkiness, using ‘way’ as a synonym for ‘very’ as in ‘way consequential’ and occasionally underlining his point with the word ‘fuck.'” (The Economist)

Posted by: Mariela


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