Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Treasury Secretary Designate Jack Lew Could be a Great Secretary of the Treasury

Of Course, Compared to Timothy Geithner Kermit the Frog Would be a Great Secretary of the Treasury

To the sounds of thanks from a grateful nation, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner is stepping down.  No those thanks are not for his four years of service, the thanks are that he is leaving.  Mr. Geithner couldn’t even do his own taxes and he may have counseled Mr. Obama to give in to Republicans on an earlier debt ceiling battle, a catastrophic position if ever there was one.  And there is this.

In congressional testimony in early 2009, Geithner garbled the explanation of the administration’s financial-crisis response so badly that Representative Connie Mack (R-Fla.) urged him to resign “for the good of the country.” 

And this

In Poland in 2011, Geithner annoyed a group of European finance ministers by offering unsolicited advice about the unfolding debt crisis. Jean-Claude Juncker, the group’s president, said, “we are not discussing” such matters “with a nonmember of the euro area.”

One can only hope that the lure of making big bucks on Wall Street will keep him from ever serving in government for the rest of his life.

Replacing Mr. Geithner is Mr. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Jack Lew.  Mr. Lew brings an impressive resume to the job.

White House chief of staff since last January, he’s served as budget director for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. That gives him unrivaled expertise in budget battles with Congress. 

And someone has given Mr. Obama the backbone to stand up to Republicans (at least for now) and we hope it is Mr. Lew.  As for Mr. Lew, he appears to have the exact requirements for the job of dealing with Republicans.

House Republican aides say that during the debt limit talks, Lew was more interested in explaining to his opponents why they were wrong than in negotiating. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor even asked to negotiate instead with National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling or Geithner. “If they could get away with it, they’d make Jack Lew a persona non grata on Capitol Hill,” Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, says of the Republicans. Lew’s friends see his relentlessness as a good thing. “There’s a quiet ferocity to him,” says White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe. “He knows this inside and out.”

Mr. Lew could, and did make a lot of money in banking,

He’s passingly familiar with the canyons of Wall Street, too. In 2008, the year before joining State, he earned about $2 million as the chief operating officer forCitigroup’s (C) alternative investments unit.

but gave that up for government services.  So he may be that very rare individual, a person not only willing to serve, but eminently qualified to do so.  And the fact that an editorial in the Wall Street Journal came out in strong opposition to the appointment merely confirms that this could be a great selection.

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