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Wag the Blog: Should Geithner Stay or Go?



Is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's job safe? AP Photo by Ron Edmonds

The White House's decision to release a time line of when President Obama and his senior aides discovered that bonuses were being paid out to AIG executives has, once again, put Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in the spotlight.

Geithner first found out about the bonuses last Tuesday and two days later he informed the president. Even before the time line was released -- late last night by White House aides -- questions had arisen about why Geithner wasn't aware of the bonuses earlier and whether his job might be in trouble. At least one lawmaker, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), has publicly called on Geithner to resign.

Before departing for California this afternoon, President Obama offered a vote of "complete confidence" in Geithner and his entire economic team. (Politico's Eamon Javers writes about the message behind any vote of "complete confidence" in Washington.) Obama added that Geithner faced the most complex economic challenges of any treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton in the wake of the Revolutionary War.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear your opinion on Geithner. Should he stay or should he go? And, regardless of where you come down on that question, make sure to explain your reasoning in the comments section below.

We'll sort through the comments and pluck some of the most insightful to be featured in a post of their own later this week.

Go to it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 18, 2009; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: White House Cheat Sheet: Cleaning Up the AIG Mess
Next: Bayh's Centrist Gambit

Comments

This is a waste of time. Once again the media has lost focus on the big picture. Here, everyone is up at arms about 160 million. That's two drops in the bucket compared to the 100,000 million the liberals are spending of our money. while in all actuality its more like 300,000 million. Let's get back to business and stop supporting the welfare mom's across this great land. I'm 33 and have worked since I was 12. I grew up in a housing project in Boston and decided that my Mother's way of life was no good. I did something about it. I went to work. It's time we all go to work and stop wasting our time worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Posted by: MG603 | March 23, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

To King of Zouk--Libs? What a load of falderol. Is that women without Burqa's or people who actually care about other people rather than their bottom line? And Conservatives--aren't these the people who have waged a war for 8 years and spent billions of dollars for the most expensive therapy session in history--So Bush could avenge and please daddy? JbleenyC is right--President Obama has been in office for 60 days. He inherited a boatload of corruption and economic chaos. He deserves at least the same amount of time as the idiot and his corrupt administration that put us here. I know war, and all those nice young people dying for nothing is probably more exciting to a "conservative" but I'd rather hear about the first dog.

Posted by: plainlyspoken | March 21, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

To Anonymous 1509--You must be either an AIG employee or a Republican to suggest that it is acceptable to pay out any portion of this bailout money for bonuses. The amount isn't the point. Needing a "bailout" by definition means they didn't do their jobs sufficiently to warrant their inflated salaries let alone a reward in the form of a bonus. These people don't deserve $1.00 in bonus money. They need a reality check as do so many people who still subscribe to the Bush "let them eat cake" philosophy.

Posted by: plainlyspoken | March 21, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

AIG. Get out your calculators. 218 M seems like alot of money, but they were given 182 B. Okay, so their bonuses totaled .0011%. That is barely over one tenth of one percent. I think that this is a smoke and mirrors outrage on Obama's part against private industry. He should have put at least a couple of stipulations on his loan to them. His outrage is legally ungrounded.

Posted by: anonymous1509 | March 21, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Gueitner should go. He should have never been put in the position in the first place.(He is a tax fraud). The banking queen(barney Frank) & chris Dodd should be thrown out of office & indicted for the corruption that they have bestowed on the american tax payers. Charole Wrangle is also a tax fraud & should be indicted. The whole obama addministration is a sham.

Posted by: sharpino | March 20, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Two days ago, I believed Geithner should go and emailed POTUS to tell him so. Now, I'm not so sure. That's what happens when I read the news every day. It makes me crazy.

Who really needs to go away? The Republican Party leadership, that's who. That will happen in 2010, b/c they have no solutions, no ideas, just NO.

As far as blame, where to begin? I think I'll start with every voter who voted for Raygun, Bush I and Bush II, the kings of deregulation. Nobody remembers when Raygun deregulated the tire industry, leading to hundreds of rollover deaths of SUV drivers/passengers with Firestone tires underneath them. That should have alerted everyone to the hazards of deregulation but it didn't. So congratulations, voters (especially the Bush II crowd), you got the system you wanted.

Posted by: cdnunn | March 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

What trouble makers you guys are! Where were you in the last 8 years when there was really something to complain about?? The Obama admin has been in existence for a bare 60 days - 2 months - and you know-all-the-answers-geniuses are deciding when the chosen Sec of the Treasury should go or stay. If you had made the fuss you should have made - but tolerated for 8 long years - Messrs Obama and Geithner, and the rest of us, wouldn't have inherited this massive mess that everyone expects to be solved in a month. Pu-leeze - just cool it.

Posted by: jbleenyc | March 20, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Libs are furious and outraged that they got caught in one of their daily lies. Would be comical if fascism was not the ruling way of this regime.

No first dog, no solutions to ongoing crises, but we all know who messiah wants in b- ball

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 19, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Why does the American public always rush to blame without research? We don't have all the facts yet about Geithner and I concer with the earlier comment that, "These are contractual agreements that every major wall street firm has. How can Congress and the President be outraged when they made no pre-conditions on payments of $32 billion?" However, I do not think it is too late for the company to take action to remove contractually agreed to bonuses - this is not a private industry anymore, AIG belongs to the people.

The President(starting with George Bush and Congress could have done this before the money was given to AIG; but unfortunately it was not done. Why did the Bush administration drop the ball when they structured the groundwork for the AIG bailout? Why was AIG's executive managment infrastructure left in place starting with the first transfer of funds? These are the people who didn't do such a red hot job at the helm to begin with - and now they've been rewarded? So now, let's make it right and learn from our mistakes.

Obama's administration appears to be trying very hard to clean up the mess they were handed - let's get the full story on all counts and sides, even the Bush administration. Unless we drop the partisan politics and start working as a united nation and people, we're not going to survive.

However,if we're going to remain with partisan agendas - on another topic, let's look at how much money our former vice president made and continues to make off the fiasco in Iraq.


Posted by: icsgjg | March 19, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Geithner's face is disturbingly anxious and is definitely made for radio. Because of the constant MSM attention O's people receive, his appearance may be his undoing. One thing for sure, I'd rather see Volcker and O up there. They look calm. Poor Geither always looks harassed which is an invitation to meaningless criticism. There's more to do than AIG, big as it is. We'll see if he can hack it. I don't think it matters, but we'll see what happens.

Posted by: s06301936 | March 19, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Well since this is not a Serious question, not sure whether to give a serious answer?

The GOP hard on to earn votes through the "America fails" campaign is so reminiscent of the Salem witch hunts that it borders on treason...

Some of us have actually worked in Corporate America...We've worked at companies that worked the Capitalist system for all it was worth, ended up in bankruptcy and STILL paid retention bonuses to employees at all levels to keep operations running.

Yet, suddenly the anti American Conservatives that have for years preached a platform of "Executives deserve every Billion they make" screaming about Bonuses??? Are you guys now expressing your Socialist lean by demanding they give back contractual money?

Speaking of Contractual, these same anti American Conservatives who constantly remind us of the "Rule of Law" being absolute, now want to break the law by ignoring Contracts signed prior to W giving the $700B financial bailout??

Seriously, I understand the RNC and GOP strategist are pushing hard for failure to earn votes, but if we could give Reagan 3 1/2 years to turn the economy around, while spending more than all previous Presidents combined, can't we give Obama 3 1/2 months before the anti American rants??

Posted by: HugoPhucoffGOP1 | March 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Geithner stays.
The Fix must go.

Posted by: rbpgregory | March 19, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Why should he go? The people who are primarily responsible for this are the legislators who have encouraged the deregulation of the entire banking system beginning 25 years ago with Reagan. Any time you let unbridled capitalism exist without adequate regulation, it always leads to greed and eventual collapse. History has proven that over and over again. Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. The people who should go before the American people and apologize are primarily the Republican legislators and pundits who have sponsored this kind of stupidity for years. They are the idiots who actually caused this and now they are the jackasses braying the loudest!!!

Posted by: jwelch5 | March 19, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

It's not just Geithner - it's the way the entire rescue of AIG is just a front for siphoning money into hedge funds and banks.

May I suggest 3 simple fixes:
1. Not a single penny more to AIG. Let it go bust - enough money has been pumped into the global financial system to prevent a meltdown - it's time to default on AIG's remaining obligations and let a few hedge funds and banks fail.

2. A new 100% tax on any bonus paid by a company that received a bonus after taking bail-out funds - tax retro-active to when bail out funds where issued.

3. A new law that no company receiving bail-out funds can employ, or pay compensation in any form, to any individual who has accepted a bonus from any company after it received bail out funds.

Posted by: plebeian09 | March 19, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Weeee, I get to quote the Clash. Should Geithner stay or should he go? If he goes there will be trouble. And if he stays it will be double.

If he goes there will be trouble because Obama will have to wipe egg off his presidential face. And finding another Treasury Secretary will be another rigamarole, another megillah, another hullabaloo.

If he stays it will be double because he doesn't seem to be inspiring the kings and knights and pawns of the marketplace to feel that warm-all-over sensation. Well, I don't know if it's "double" or a "subtle bubble." Maybe Geithner does have a clue. Who can say?

Should Geithner stay or should he go? Beats me. What do I know?

(I think I may have just quoted Dr. Seuss.)

Posted by: dognabbit | March 19, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I am for giving the guy a chance to prove himself. Eveyone sit quietly while Bush took this country for a ride to destruction and now wants to criticize anyone trying to change the course without the person's having a chance to do so.

The negative energy needs to put in correct perspective of who did what instead of venting and blaming and criticizing the new admin.

Posted by: mac7 | March 19, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Geithner is as tied in to Wall Street as anyone, including former Treasury Secretary Paulson. Although Wall Street ties may be an asset under normal circumstances, these are by no means normal circumstances since it is the culture of Wall Street greed that is poisoning reform, and thus recovery. Geithner needs to fall on his own sword and resign immediately, which may cause some short-term damage to the Obama administration but will ultimately allow the President to choose someone such as Paul Volker, with maturity and impecable credentials and ethics. In the mean time, Summers should be named Acting Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: billbolducinmaine | March 19, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Geithner is a total liability for President Obama and he must go.

1) On 2/10/09 Geithner triggered a major market crash with his wholly inadequate financial recovery plan; the market dropped 381 points: 8,279 to 7,888. Within a month, the market sank below 7,000--for the first time since 1997!

2) Why did the market crash? Geithner’s failure to provide adequate details for his financial plan undermines investors’ confidence—when Treasury speaks, we all listen. Moreover, the details he did provide indicate he essentially swiped Hank Paulson’s old plan—consequently, he undermine everyone’s confidence in HIM as Treasury Secretary.

3) Geithner-Paulson’s plan still lacks controls/accountability and still has no requirements that bank use bailout money for loans. Bad for two reasons: a) The public wants and is entitled to accountability of taxpayer funds; b) The economy cannot begin to recover until we loosen up lines of consumer and business credit.

4) We now have the AIG bonus scandal churning up public rage. President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner made a big show before the people about how they will hold AIG accountable and will try to recoup (some of) the money.

NOW we learn from Sen. Dodd (CNN interview 3/18/09) that “Treasury” demanded he insert exemption language into the stimulus bill which allows for bailout recipients to give bonuses.

How can President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner denounce corporate bonuses with bailout money when Geithner’s department is responsible for the exemption language in the stimulus bill? President Obama now has a major public relations problem with Giethner.

The tide of public opinion is turning fast against President Obama’s Treasury Secretary…the President better brace himself because a tsunami of public rage is about to hit his shore.

My concern is if he doesn’t get someone competent at the helm of Treasury quick he’s definitely a one term President.


Posted by: txgall | March 18, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Why are we blaming Geithner? These are contractual agreements that every major wall street firm has. How can Congress and the President be outraged when they made no pre-conditions on payments of $32 billion? It is too late for the company to take action to remove contractually agreed to bonuses. Only the President and Congress could have done this and only before the money was given to AIG.

Posted by: graysoncorteyahoocom | March 18, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Obama entertained the suggestion that Geithner's job may be on the line, by expressing upmost confidence in his position, surely is the best indication that the Tres Sec is swinging on this one. If the President really backs TG 150%, he would have ignored the premise of the question.

Posted by: isaaclevido | March 18, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Geithner should stay for at least a year unless he loses the confidence of his boss. I am assuming a full complement at Treasury within a month and that after another nine months we may then be able to assess his performance.
----------------------------------
Trying to shoot from the hip every day is a terrible way to make policy even if it is good for ratings at the 24/7 cable news channels.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 18, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Geithner's work is way too important to even dream of firing him right now. It's true that he's not the only candidate capable of filling the spot. But whoever fills the spot can't be worried about how secure his position is. He could have coke problem and three dead hookers in his past for all I care, he has a job to do. The worst possible thing you can do in crises is make people too busy evading blame to fix anything.

Posted by: theamazingjex | March 18, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

On May 8, 2008 AIG disclosed in an SEC filing a plan to pay retention bonuses to Financial Products employees. Plans for payments were widely reported in late January 2009. This was after the government rescue package increased to $150 billion on November 9, 2008. Fed and Treasury staff worked on the AIG retention-payments issue in late February as they prepared the latest AIG rescue. However, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the former head of the New York Fed, recused himself from AIG matters, and other issues in late November after learning he would be nominated as President Obama's Treasury Secretary. I just think that Mr. Geithner needs to explain his actions (or inactions)as head of the Fed and then the Treasury as things transpired so the public can make up their own minds.

In addition, Chris Dodd is one of the largest beneficiaries of AIG lobby money. Given this, his actions require closer scrutiny.

If President Obama says that the "buck stops with him" as he did in his town hall tonight, I look forward to him putting those words into action and I will be watching closely as I am sure all of you will. The "words" of republicans OR democrats mean very little to me these days - I want to see leadership in "action".

Posted by: jsigno | March 18, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Considering that this is an economic crisis in which nobody can expect the recovery to go hitch-free, canning Geithner would only serve to degrade consumer confidence and thereby hurt the economy.

Obviously Pres. Obama would like to keep the consumer confidence line moving in the positive direction, so retaining stability of his competent economic team trumps the occasional politically frustrating hiccup (so long as the hiccups remain relatively minute and thereby politically manageable).

Posted by: jrosco3 | March 18, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This is the perfect representation of the sad fact that Americans want a quick fix. But it's a lot easier to break the economy than it is to put it back together. It's obvious he wasn't picked for his speaking prowess, so he must at least know what he's doing. Let him work.

Posted by: thecorinthian | March 18, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

how about filling the rest of his dept ASAP? he's holding the dike virtually alone and taking all the hits. until then, it's too soon to tell.

Posted by: davidarosy1 | March 18, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

He's probably no worse than his potential replacement.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 18, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Tim Geithner should stay. Unless there is one amongst you who can walk on water. In the meantime, cut the guy some slack and take some advice from Teddy Roosevelt: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

1910 - The Man in the Arena

Posted by: Suzsan107 | March 18, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

GEITHNER & RANGEL TO BE SUBPOENAED IN TAX FRAUD CASE

Federal Case Alleges Political Elite Get Favorable Tax Treatment Over Ordinary Citizens

On 5 March 2009 a Motion was filed in U.S. v. David Jacquot, Case # CR 08-1171, in the Federal District Court, in San Diego, California seeking to dismiss a false tax return indictment on the grounds that the Defendant was not treated in the same manner as politically prominent individuals. A hearing on this matter is set for 30 March 2009 in San Diego and the Defendant in this case intends to subpoena Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and others.

The Defendant in this case is David Jacquot, an attorney and retired Army Officer. He is a decorated disabled Desert Storm veteran living in rural Idaho with his family.

This “Geithner Motion” cites HR 735 titled the “Rangel Rule Act of 2009,” which if enacted, would eliminate penalties and interest for common citizens to allow them to be treated in the same manner as House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Charles Rangel. The Geithner Motion also quotes President Obama stressing the need to “treat common citizens in the same manner as politically prominent individuals in regards to tax matters”.

The Geithner Motion details how Mr. Jacquot was vindictively indicted in retaliation for his successful defense of his clients against the IRS. The tax returns of his corporate law firm for the four (4) years of 2001 to 2004 were investigated and the government alleges that the law firm declared almost $200,000 TOO MUCH income during this time period. The Geithner Motion contains descriptions of numerous actions by the government and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Faith Devine that are the basis for the claim of retaliation against Mr. Jacquot for his zealous representation of his client’s Constitutional and statutory rights. The improper actions of AUSA Devine have been reported to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility for disciplinary action and are currently under review.


A copy of the Geithner Motion can be downloaded at:

www.jacquotlaw.com/vindictive-prosecution.html

Posted by: dave70 | March 18, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

If you are bothered by occasional or frequent constipation, repeat the following
phrase three times in succession when symptoms occur:

"My financial and personal well being are totally in the hands of Barack
Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geithner, Rahm
Emmanual, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Al Gore".

Posted by: leapin | March 18, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Republicans who opposed Wall Street salary caps, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Banking Commitee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL), are now flipping their positions to condemn the bonuses paid by AIG. Last night, McConnell made the rounds on cable television to misleadingly suggest that he has always favored salary caps.

But McConnell and Shelby are not the only Republican lawmakers pushing this deception. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) also are hypocritically altering their views:

Q: “Should Congress, should the White House be getting a way for these contracts to be broken?”
KING: “Congress should find a way to do it or the administration should lean on them in a way to get – to have it done.” [MSNBC, 3/17/09]

BOND: “It’s unacceptable to pay bonuses after the American taxpayer was forced to bail out an institution without reforming it.” [KRCG, 3/18/09]

INHOFE: “The AIG situation is clear evidence of what happens when you shovel money out the door with no strings attached and no transparency.” [KTUL, 3/17/09]

Only a month ago, King argued against strong provisions to ensure executive salaries were capped:

KING: “No, I will say, I agree there should have been some caps. I think this went too far, and I think it can be counterproductive.” [ABC News, 2/15/09]

Last month, Bond sharply criticized a bill offered by Sen. Claire McCaskill to limit the salary of executives at companies receiving federal bailout money to no more than what the president of the United States makes — $400,000 a-year:

BOND: “The worst thing we can do is tell businesses how to run themselves. Congress has a pretty bad track record. If you you look at our collective judgment, all 535 of us in our wisdom can’t run government very well. (We) sure can’t run business.” [STL Today, 2/2/09]

While Inhofe today demands “strings attached” to federal bailout money, he expressed the opposite in February:

INHOFE: “I thought, is this still America? Do we really tell people how to run [a business], and who to pay and how much to pay?” [Huffington Post, 2/6/09]

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich today penned an op-ed venting his “outrage” at the “fat bonuses” paid to staffers at AIG. However in November, while speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, he attacked Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) for having the audacity to send “off letters to every bank demanding to know all of their executive compensation policy.” Gingrich then scoffed at the idea of capping salaries specifically at AIG:

GINGRICH: “You have a level of micromanagement of AIG and others. You can’t apply Washington bureaucratic rules to a free market company without ultimately destroying the company.” [Fox News, 11/12/08]

Hypocrisy abounds.

Posted by: drindl | March 18, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Finger pointers bumping into butt coverers jostling the clueless. Ladies and gentlemen, your Democratic Party. Coming soon - Bonuses at Freddie and Fannie.

Posted by: leapin | March 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Try as I might, I am having a hard time turning our economic crisis into a party game. It does seem easy for some parts of the press, mainstream and other.

... but the stakes (the economy!) are very real here. I wish you could find a way to be informative as well as entertaining."

hear hear! good comment. obviously, to some people this is all a gotcha! game...

Posted by: drindl | March 18, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim Geithner is exactly the kind of financial wonk we need at Treasury right now. I believe his perceived lack of "communications skills" come from his unwillingness to speak in the diplomatic pseudo speak on which Washinton thrives. And the issues he is dealing with are too complicated to easily explain.

The overwhelming different types of complex derivatives that AIG deals with and the underlying securities that they insure are far beyond the ken of the average taxpayer, Washington politician, or media experts. Hell, they are far beyond the above-average intelligent citizen. Try a google of derivatives and you will find numerous examples of which types are used when and for what reason. If you can get through all of them, and understand them you a a better man/woman than I. This stuff would peel wallpaper off the walls.

Let's leave this administration, the Federal Reserve, AIG and Liddy alone for a few months until some of these contracts can be unwound. As Mr. Liddy testified, if the market continues to improve, the US government stands to make a good deal of money on their investment. My guess is that there will be a good bit of back-slapping on the hill when that day eventually comes.

I am not at all happy that our top global financial companies have brought us to the brink. I remember the savings and loan crisis and that was child's play compared to this party. The "smartest people in the room" will always find ways around the regulations that governments should be imposing. They will always make money at someone else's expense. We as citizens need to make sure that the global and national regulations are in place to protect us as much as possible. We also need to make sure that the agencies have enough funding from Congress to provide that protections.


Posted by: Taxlady1040 | March 18, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Transparency? Change "I" can believe in?
Who was in charge at the NY Fed when AIG was rescued? Tim! In that case, shouldn't he have had foreknowledge of the rentention and bonuses? How can he possibly say that he just recently learned of it.

Why is he having so much difficulty with filling posts at Treasury? Trust issues, or knowledge of his operating MO? Or could it be his candidates are all in the same tax boat or lobbyists or have other financial ghosts in the closet? What's up with no one wanting the jobs?

Finally, even I know enough to check my tax preparation...usually 3 times, out of fear of missing something. "Fox in the henhouse" comes to mind when I think of Tim at Treasury. Also sick of all the tax cheats currently residing in Congress...these people should all be held to the highest standard!!! And hey, just take a look at campaign contribution sources v. congressional committee seats...come on folks, how stupid are we the people? Time for Term Limits to be voted on! And for us both Dems & Reps to examine our candidates and get rid of the people with no integrity!

Posted by: rimwah | March 18, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

This fall we had three primary leads overseeing the financial crisis, Paulson, Bernanke, and Geitner. Now we have two of the three still running it. Why would we expect the outcome to be different?

Unfortunately, while I respect him and his service, I think that we a new set of ideas. Maybe as opposed to canning Geitner, President Obama can elevate someone else (not Sommers, he was there at the offing). Then we can prosper from the experience of Bernanke and Geitner but we also need a new number 3 at the table.

Posted by: WhoKnewIt | March 18, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"Geithner first found out about the bonuses last Tuesday and two days later he informed the president. Even before the time line was released -- late last night by White House aides -- questions had arisen about why Geithner wasn't aware of the bonuses earlier and whether his job might be in trouble."

The whole story smacks of opportunistic outrage. The implication is that now the Treasury Secretary is supposed to be familiar with employee contracts for every firm that's received bailout funds, including those prior to his tenure in the job. What is unclear is what he's supposed to do when he finds an agregious contract in place. Rewrite it? Ask for the bailout money back? Make Secreatry Paulson (his predecessor) fix the mistake, since Paulson was in charge when AIG first received funds? Should he have dropped whatever he was working on at the time, and immediately phoned the President to alert him to the wasted money? I can imagine the call:

"Mr President. I hate to disturb you, but it has come to my attention that $180 million is being misspent at AIG. Yes, I understand this is a pittance in comparison to the trillions of dollars of bad debt that could further cripple the global economy. Surely you can understand the outrage that the Republicans will manufacture in the face of this abuse of funds. Laws be damned. I will claw the money back if it costs me my job."

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 18, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Try as I might, I am having a hard time turning our economic crisis into a party game. It does seem easy for some parts of the press, mainstream and other.

For Pete's sake there is not a chance in Hell that Geithner is going anywhere for at least two years... he has been on the job for a couple of weeks. I know I know you are just stirring up discussion... but the stakes (the economy!) are very real here. I wish you could find a way to be informative as well as entertaining.

Posted by: breedingandstroud | March 18, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Tim Geithner needs to go. While I don't expect any miracles from him, he seems to be clueless as to what is going on. Tens of millions of people pay their taxes correctly. Why can't we get one of those people to replace him?

A friend of mine has taken to calling Geithner Obama's Michael Brown as in "Heck of a job, Timmy!"

slackerwithadvanceddegrees.blogspot.com

Posted by: deckard1982 | March 18, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

This is wrong. You are trying to make-up a story. IMO, there's nothing here. Stand back and let 44 and Geithner train on the job. Yes, they were scammed by professional AIG scammers. Shame on AIG, not on poor naive community organizer BHO and Tiny Tim Geithner.

Posted by: leapin | March 18, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

DO A BLOODLESS MEA CULPA AND MOVE ON.

There's plenty of culpability to go around -- starting with the Federal Reserve officials who last year green-lighted the AIG bonus payments, and the as-yet unknown bill markup operative who inserted language that expressly permitted the financial largesse.

Calls for Geithner to be scapegoated make for good politics, but not good policy.

That said, Geithner should call a press conference to concede that he should have moved to block the payments when he first gained knowledge -- and to promise to do better by the public in the future.

The palliative effect of such a mea culpa would be enhanced if President Obama said as much himself, at the same press event.

Then Team Obama should tough it out and move on.

The public would be satisfied with this display of contrition, and the critics would be left to find another distraction upon which to dwell.

Speaking of which...

***

THE LARCENY OF DISTRACTION


While the manufactured economic crisis effectuates the fleecing of the middle class by the clever plotting of the power elite, and manufactured controversies distract the masses from the root causes of this global transfer of wealth...

...freedom also is being stolen from the people; but the mainstream media "watchdogs" are too busy chasing the manufactured tale of the day to notice who's making off out the back door with the coin of liberty.

EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND PUNISHMENT OF AMERICAN BREADWINNERS AND THEIR FAMILIES:

THE UNTOLD STORY BEHIND THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN.

***

TEAM OBAMA: WHAT DO YOUR BUSH HOLDOVERS KNOW ABOUT THESE ONGOING SECURITY-INTEL-REVENUE 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTIONS'...

* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."


http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://www.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 18, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: leapin | March 18, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

As sweetlucy47 said, the most interesting to come out of Liddy's hearing so far was that he was only communicating with Bernanke at the Fed. That backs up Geithner's assertion that he didn't find out about these bonuses until last week. I also hope the media makes clear that Bernanke is not a part of the Obama administration. The Fed is a separate entity and Bernanke was there under Bush as well. That's an important point and may seem obvious to some of us but I'm sure many in the public are not aware of the distinction.

Posted by: mpl2 | March 18, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Did you see Jake Tapper of ABC getting getting all medieval on Robert Gibbs at the White House yesterday? When did the President first learn about the AIG bonuses? Would you give us a tick-tock on what he knew, how he knew, and what his reaction was?

And the newspapers are going nuts. Outrage is the #1 headline word of the day. And the pundits are wondering: is the bloom off the Obama rose?

I have two words for the MSM: shut the f up.

For eight years, the Republicans gave unprecedented trillion dollar bonuses to the richest people in America. They took the Clinton boom and intentionally turned it to bust. On top of that, they lied us into a war that killed 4000+ Americans and maybe a million Iraqis.

Where was the MSM's OUTRAGE then? Was David Gregory outraged when he boogied with Rove at the press dinner? Did any of his colleagues join Helen Thomas when she asked some really hard questions at the daily briefings? No. They laughed at her for taking it all so seriously.

But now they are GENUINELY outraged at a Democratic President who is trying to fix a mess that occured in part because they refused to challenge the big scarey Republicans. Chutzpah.

I can't stand the MSM. Obama should ignore them. Most Americans do."

Posted by: drindl | March 18, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with mpl2 I think this is a made up story. The GOP is trying to make Geithner the scapegoat here, just as the media and Wall Street has for the last few weeks.

I am sitting here watching the hearing and Liddy just said he hadn't talked to Geithner only Bernanke about these bonuses up to last week. And that's when HE knew that Geithner knew about them. So that backs up just exactly what everyone said.

NON-Story then.. move on nothing to see here. I vote he stays.

Tim Geithner had the confidence of Wall Street, Main Street and everyone on Capitol Hill when he was selected as Secretary of Treasury. The Stock Market jumped 494 points the days he was announced and reacted well for several days afterward. He had one bad day, when he didn't do what the market wanted and since then it has been nothing but bad press from everyone.

He went to Europe and was warmly received. But no one here even bothered to say anything about it.

Let it lay. Give him a break. Write a positive story for a week on him and see what happens. It might surprize you.

Posted by: sweetlucy47 | March 18, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Tim Geithner is too close and too cozy to Wall Street. (Working next door to the NYSE and Goldman Sachs' headquarter obviously does not help his neutrality.)

He need to resign in shame over his inability and/or unwillingness to protect the taxpayer.

I nominate Barney Frank to be our next Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: donriver | March 18, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

For an economic crisis eight years in the making and that draws comparisons to the Great Depression, people must be insane to demand an immediate solution that is released, implemented and successful within a 24 hour news cycle!

This is going to take some time and putting in a new Treasury Secretary every two months is certainly not going to solve this problem. Let's get the programs rolled out, get the wrinkles out and work at the solution. Short term, immediate gratification was at the heart of the financial geniuses who helped create this mess. Let's not emulate them.

Posted by: DJAsson | March 18, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I feel like now we are stuck with him for the next four years, the funny part about all this is that after he was nominated everyone was saying he is a genuis! he can solve this! then the tax non payment came up, and i thought if this guy is so brillant how come he didnt know he had to pay his taxes? so i think he should have never been confirmed in the first place. Would i like there to be a new Sec. of Treasury yes, but Obama would never allow him to get replaced because it would hurt him politically.

Posted by: dee150586 | March 18, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

There's no question Geithner should have seen this coming-to expect AIG execs-the same execs that wanted to take a trip to Vegas after getting bailed out- to limit their own bonuses is ridiculou, especially after all the broo-ha-ha about legislative limits in the second half of tarp. If Geithner and the WH were going to continue to throw money at AIG, there needed to be an understanding that nothing as politically damaging as bonuses would be in the question.

Nevertheless, sacking the Treasury Secretary might do more harm then good if what the economy needs is stable and predictable leadership. It may be best to keep him on and just make him less visible, having Larry Summers be more of a public figure, or BO himself.

Posted by: sfcpoll | March 18, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure the *public* has any faith in Secretary Geithner at this point, and that will make it hard for him to achieve the Administration's goals.
If he cannot show any progress--to show that the bailouts and stimulus spending are having a positive effect--he won't remain Treasury Secretary for very long.

Posted by: dbitt | March 18, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The Politico uncritically quoted top congressional Republicans criticizing the Obama administration over AIG bonuses, reporting that "[h]aving mostly opposed Obama's stimulus plan, the second half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and the omnibus spending bill, Republicans feel they have a free shot at the Democrats for anything that goes wrong now."

The article did not point out that it was the Bush Treasury Department that worked with the Federal Reserve in carrying out last year's bailouts and bought AIG stocks notwithstanding the existence of these bonus contracts.

Posted by: drindl | March 18, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This is wrong. You are trying to make-up a story. IMO, there's nothing here. Stand back and let 44 and Geithner do their jobs. Yes, they were scammed by professional AIG scammers. Shame on AIG, not on BHO and Geithner.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 18, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse


Your own Harold Meyerson:

"But Geithner's indulgence of bankers' indulgences is fast becoming the Obama administration's Achilles' heel. The AIG debacle is the latest in a series of bewildering Geithner decisions that threaten to undermine the administration's efforts to restart the economy. So long as it's Be Kind to Bankers Week at Treasury -- and we've had eight straight such weeks since the president was inaugurated -- American banking, and the economy it is supposed to serve, will remain paralyzed. The Geithner plan to restart the banks provides huge taxpayer subsidies to hedge funds, investment banks and private equity companies to buy the banks' toxic assets without really having to assume the risk.

That's right -- the same Wall Street wizards who got us into this mess, using the same securitization techniques that built mountains of debt within a shadow financial system that remains unregulated, are the saviors whom Geithner has anointed to extricate us -- with our capital, not theirs -- from the mess that they created.

...
It's certainly not because Americans are dead set against bank nationalization: A Newsweek poll this month found that 56 percent of respondents supported it. Hell, Alan Greenspan supports it. But Geithner seems unable to imagine a banking system not run by its current leaders or owned by its current shareholders or engaged in the same arcane securitization practices that led to its collapse. An administration that is busily creating alternatives to our health-care system and our energy policies is being dragged down by a Treasury secretary who cannot conceive of an alternative to our catastrophic system of banking."

Posted by: drindl | March 18, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for the love of...
Would you inside-the-beltway types STOP with your "wink-wink, we know what 'complete confidence' really means..."?

I saw what Obama said today. He couldn't have been stronger in defending Geithner. What other word could he use to express confidence other than... "confidence"? Does he need to carry around a thesaurus?

Please stop pretending to be so "in the know". It's very insulting to our intelligence.

Posted by: mpl2 | March 18, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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