Timmy Has Fallen Down the Well

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A GOOD SWIFT KICK - Between Wall St. greed and Treasury Tim Geithner, it's time to kick Timmy to the curb and do an America's Funniest Home Video crotch kick on Wall St.

A GOOD SWIFT KICK - Between Wall St. greed and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, America is hip deep in bull shite. It's time to kick Timmy to the curb and do an America's Funniest Home Video crotch kick on Wall St.

Through long and ignominious tradition, the US has selected people for cabinet and top departmental leadership positions based on a combination of nepotism and party loyalty. Products of this system include such luminaries as the hapless former FEMA director, Michael Brown, a man singularly unqualified for the important position he filled. But sometimes there are qualified cabinet nominees installed for all the wrong reasons. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is a useful example.

Not many people argue that he doesn’t have good qualifications, at least on paper. He is exceptionally well-educated and filled several top or near-the-top posts in a variety of capacities, including Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve. But, it’s precisely his former position as FedChair that is troubling.

Federal Reserve chairs are intricately tied to Wall Street movers and shakers. It’s inevitable that architects of monetary policy be on a first name basis with CEOs from Goldman Sachs or Citibank. In fact, this isn’t an altogether bad thing. A “friendly” suggestion sometimes goes farther than a kick in the pants when you’re trying to get something done. But sometimes, the relationship gets a little too chummy.

Lassie, Timmy’s Fallen Down the Well!
Unfortunately, Timmy fell down the well when he “solved” the financial crisis in favor of Wall St. After all, that’s the way he usually did things in his previous job. He relied on what he knew instead of what he needed to learn and left Main St. holding the empty bag. He forgot that those who regulate and those who are regulated need some semblance of an adversarial relationship. Otherwise, those being regulated will steal you blind.

Stop the Plunder

Stop the Plunder

Timmy has some other bad traits too. He frequently promises things and then fails to follow up. In the beginning, he agreed that the one thing that would happen for sure was cracking down on greedhead CEOs and making sure the money being handed out was being spent on increasing lending. Good promises maybe, but a distinct lack of meaningful execution.

Geithner also has a penchant for secrecy that would make the Bushies blush. It appears he’s made side deals and bad deals and protected himself by telling the beneficiaries of the deals to keep mum. Though there may have been some rational reasons for the secrecy – for example, preventing a run on banks – had he not made the deals there would’ve been no reason to hide.

Bring Us the Head of Timothy Geithner
Many are calling for Geithner’s head – as well they should, but not for the same reasons. Those in favor of a laissez-faire approach say can him because his policies are just wrong. Others don’t like his cozy relationship with Wall St. Still, others don’t like the secrecy. His fan base is dwindling rapidly and soon the Bailer-Outer-in-Chief will have to ask him to leave to “take on new challenges”.

It’s true that cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President, but we might be better off if there wasn’t so much turnover from administration to administration. We’d certainly be much better off if cabinet members not only had the proper experience, but also the right mix of friends and adversaries.

Imagine it, a Treasury Secretary who did something other than rub elbows with the wingtips and remembered that he works for the people, not the corporations. We could even start with the no-brainer positions. How about a Labor secretary who was previously something other than a CEO – a labor representation, what a concept? Or, perhaps an EPA director who did something other than work as a lawyer for a strip mining company? And while we’re at it, let’s set some rules for how long key positions can remain open. Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to hold up a nominee for TSA head and then complain the confirmation is taking too long?

It’s time to start cleaning house and Geithner is a good starting point. Let’s just remember his successor should be a little more adversarial and a little less chummy with those who stand to benefit most.

15 thoughts on “Timmy Has Fallen Down the Well

  1. I notice that Southers has withdrawn. I also notice that the unionization question was not the only issue over which DeMint was holding up Southers’s nomination. There was also the question of several incidents of allegedly improper activity in a former position and, on top of that, the question of alleged lies under oath regarding these incidents of improper activity.

    Hell, we impeached a president over lying under oath about a blowjob. Seems reasonable that we ought to be sure the guy we place in charge of security isn’t given to improper use of his ability to gather information on people and then lie to Congress about it.

    To be fair, Southers says he was speaking from memory when he (to be most charitable) misspoke to Congress about his impropriety but even if we take him at his word, he still misused his office and acted improperly before — not the sort of thing we want to have happening in the TSA in my opinion.

  2. Poobie,

    I don’t see that you’ve addressed one of my questions, namely, “So why wouldn’t the Democrats simply say, “Fine,” call Southers before them and let DeMint ask away?” No need to answer if you don’t feel like doing so but I’d be interested in your response. I mean, even if your point about us not negotiating contracts is your answer, wouldn’t it make sense to hold a session so that DeMint could get Southers on the record regarding his position on unionization, thus neutralizing DeMint’s stated objection? After all, DeMint can sustain his hold indefinitely, no? Seems stupid to just let that go on without doing something commonsensical to try to bring the stand-off to a close? It does to me, anyway.

    Cheers!

  3. Poobie,

    You wrote, in part:

    I agree it’s the Senate’s responsibility is to advize and consent, but that’s the problem isn’t it? There’s been no talk, there’s been no vote. That’s not advize and consent, that’s just hold everything up to be a butt head. Of course, that’s not to say others haven’t been equally bad.

    Sure, but that’s because the Democrats in Congress have been so hell-bent on forcing an increasingly unpopular bill on health-insurance reform through as quickly as possible and with as little transparency as possible. Also, I contend that holding up a vote on a nominee is offering advice, namely it says that a given Senator is not comfortable enough yet with the nominee to even vote on him. You see, I believe that advising the president involves much more than just voting yes or no on him or her. After all, DeMint has not said he would not vote on Southers’ nomination. He hasn’t even said that he would not vote for Southers, only that he wants further clarification on Southers’ position in regard to unionization.

    As for DeMint’s feeling on labor, I don’t see what that has or doesn’t have to do with the TSA head. We’re not negotiating a contract, we’re trying to guard people fromo terrorists.

    We aren’t doing so presently but that doesn’t mean that, given a head favoring worker unionization, we wouldn’t be negotiating one toute d’ suite, especially if the so called “Card Check” bill becomes law. Indeed we are trying to guard people from terrorists and I’m sure the acting TSA head is working overtime on that but DeMint’s position is that allowing TSA unionization would likely degrade TSA’s ability to guard people from terrorists.

    Certainly DeMint might be all wet with that argument. It might be that allowing unionization would enhance TSA’s ability to do its job, I couldn’t say, I’m sure, but we ought to at least acknowledge that DeMint’s concerns are, at least as overtly stated, to prevent a degradation in TSA’s ability to protect us from terrorists. Then we could argue whether DeMint’s argument has any merit.

    And as for Geithner, you’re right that Obama would pick someone else close to his agenda. There’s nothing wrong with that. Presidents are supposed to do that. His having a view contrary to yours doesn’t mean he’s unqualified, only that he has a different view.

    No there’s nothing wrong with that and I haven’t said that I thought Geithner is unqualified. I’ve criticized many of his moves as being foolish. That’s not quite the same thing as thinking him unqualified. In fact, it is because I do not think him unqualified that I see no point in pushing Obama to replace him. If I truly thought Geithner was unqualified, I certainly would argue for his replacement. There should be no place for incompetents in our government in any position, let alone in the TSA.

    As far as fixing the problem, I’m not sure anyone, regardless of qualifications could sort it out. He’s doing many things that Bush started before he left and doing other things that he instituted himself. Our problems these days are bipartisan suckage either way. And either way, regardless of where the problem started he’s the man in charge now, so it’s his responsibility to work it out, gather the praise when there is some, and accept the failures when they happen.

    I agree, mostly.

    Cheers!

  4. To elaborate, I never said that business has no say in our government. My point is that government has the power to regulate business and does so. Businesses can and do lobby legislators in an attempt to avoid being regulated out of business but only because government so heavily regulates business. If our government truly had a laissez faire attitude toward industry, the attitude that private enterprise is both self-sustaining and self-correcting, industry would need no lobby. Indeed, government would then spurn all attempts at lobbying since such lobbying could only be for the purpose of obtaining governmental protection from competition.

    Because government has said power and routinely exercises said power, government is, I contend, on the top of the power chain.

    Perhaps you have a substantive argument refuting the above but contradicting arguments I have not made won’t do the trick.

  5. ” “From the top down” sounds like an equivalent of “From the federal government down”. Surely the government must be the top. “

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Oh Yeah, and Business has no say in our government.

  6. Craig,
    I agree it’s the Senate’s responsibility is to advize and consent, but that’s the problem isn’t it? There’s been no talk, there’s been no vote. That’s not advize and consent, that’s just hold everything up to be a butt head. Of course, that’s not to say others haven’t been equally bad.

    As for DeMint’s feeling on labor, I don’t see what that has or doesn’t have to do with the TSA head. We’re not negotiating a contract, we’re trying to guard people fromo terrorists.

    And as for Geithner, you’re right that Obama would pick someone else close to his agenda. There’s nothing wrong with that. Presidents are supposed to do that. His having a view contrary to yours doesn’t mean he’s unqualified, only that he has a different view.

    As far as fixing the problem, I’m not sure anyone, regardless of qualifications could sort it out. He’s doing many things that Bush started before he left and doing other things that he instituted himself. Our problems these days are bipartisan suckage either way. And either way, regardless of where the problem started he’s the man in charge now, so it’s his responsibility to work it out, gather the praise when there is some, and accept the failures when they happen.

  7. As for Geithner, I’d say can him but I have no confidence that whoever Obama replaced him with would be just as bad if not worse. I am among those who think that many of Geithner’s moves have been foolish but given my impressions of Obama, Geithner is probably as good as anyone Obama might replace him with. In any case, whoever is in that position will carry out Obama’s (in my opinion) foolish economic policies. In other words, six of one/half a dozen of the other.

  8. Daveawayfromhome, I’m a bit confused by this part of your comment above:

    We’ve gotten stuck with the idea that everything can be corrected from the top down.

    How does allowing business to do anything they want (laissez faire) amount to correcting from the top down? “From the top down” sounds like an equivalent of “From the federal government down”. Surely the government must be the top. Top down is the very antithesis of laissez fair, no? Could you clarify what you mean by this?

    I mean, isn’t what you’re calling for, greater government control of what business can and cannot do exactly correcting from the top down?

  9. Ah! I see the reason that DeMint is holding up Southers: DeMint fears Southers will permit/encourage TSA workers to unionize. Well, he has his reasons for wanting clarification on Southers’ position on this, I guess. So why wouldn’t the Democrats simply say, “Fine,” call Southers before them and let DeMint ask away? I suppose the answer to that question is that Southers would have to honestly answer that he would indeed allow/encourage TSA workers to unionize but if that’s what he wants, and that’s what the Democrats want, why not just bring it out in the open? Once that’s been answered, could DeMint continue his hold? I mean, surely Southers would be confirmed at that point. Why not just say, “Fine, DeMint, here he is. Ask him any fool question you want. He’ll answer and let’s get on with a vote”?

    Oh yeh…forcing through a government control/take-over of 1/6th of the entire American economy as quickly as possible is more important than getting the TSA nominee confirmed.

    That’ll end well.

    Maybe DeMint is just being contrary. Who knows what his actual motives are. However, I think the Democrats are as culpable as DeMint in this whole thing.

  10. Perhaps it would have been best if the Democrats had held up the nomination of “Heck of a job, Brownie” to force Bush to put up someone with a bit of relevant experience for FEMA head. Just saying. Not that I think Senators shouldn’t largely yield to the President in most cases; I do. But their job is not just to consent but to advise as well.

  11. Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to hold up a nominee for TSA head and then complain the confirmation is taking too long?

    Not if there are good reasons for objecting to the nominee. It is the duty of the Senators not just to consent to the President’s nominee but to give him advice as well. Part of the advice part of “advice and concent” is objecting to a given nominee if a Senator thinks the nominee has no business being in the position for which he’s been nominated.

    Having said that, I don’t know what might be found to be objectionable in the TSA nominee. It may be some petty, political pay-back thing. A sort of, “You all killed my bill/amendment so I’ll hold up your TSA nominee for no particularly good reason” thing. It might be just pure partisan cussedness. If this is what the holding up amounts to, the TSA guy is a very bad place to play that particular game. Does anyone know the offered reason for holding up this nominee?

  12. “remembered that he works for the people, not the corporations”

    And that, my friend, is the problem with our government, regardless of which party is running the show. Actually, you could say that it’s the problem with the entire society. We’ve gotten stuck with the idea that everything can be corrected from the top down. With the economy, that means that If It’s Good For Business, It’s Good For America, which the last thirty years or so have proven to be patently false, despite all the big-screen TVs. Still the idea persists that all you have to do to make everyone’s lives better is to let Business do whatever it wants, and Profit Will Fix Everything.
    Same seems to go for our social institutions; bring in New Management and all our troubles will be solved, or so the thinking goes. It never happens, but time and again we seem to fall for a New Face carrying a new acronym.
    This is not to say that I know what the solution is, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not Pick A New Daddy-figure And That Will Fix-it. Time for people to grow up and start doing things for themselves again and according value to work rather than to management. Unfortunately, the only group that seems to be pushing this idea are Libertarians, who want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We dont need a lack of Management, we just need to understand that Management does not equal God; that nobody has all the answers, but that everyone has something to contribute.

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