Tim Geithner's Bad Week

The Treasury Secretary draws fire.


Tim Geithner is having a tough week. Wall Street obviously isn't confident in Washington's nebulous plan to fix the banking sector, and the pundits are losing patience with both the Treasury Secretary and the Obama Administration. Consensus is building that Geithner still hasn't owned up to the severity and even the true nature of the problems facing the economy.

Paul Krugman ( The Big Dither) says Geithner sees value where there is none in all those bad assets: 

[I]n a recent interview Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, tried to make a distinction between the “basic inherent economic value” of troubled assets and the “artificially depressed value” that those assets command right now. In recent transactions, even AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities have sold for less than 40 cents on the dollar, but Mr. Geithner seems to think they’re worth much, much more.

Henry Blodget simply says its time for him to go ( Time To Fire Tim Geithner). He flogs Treasury's tin-eared communication style (multiple versions of plans, vague explanations, defensiveness in testimony), and  says Geithner's most important flaw is that he:

Refused to revisit or defend his almost certainly inaccurate view that this crisis is merely a temporary price decline caused by a lack of liquidity, rather than a collapse of a debt-driven economy.  You can't cure the patient if you're treating the wrong problem.

Plus, the Treasury Department continues to suffer through staffing problems.

Treasury undoubtedly has a communication problem right now, and that's being charitable. So, as the financial crisis continues, is Geithner getting anything right? If not, who's qualified to step up and take over?

  • Kirk Shinkle

    Kirk Shinkle is a senior editor for U.S. News Money and manages the Best Funds portal. Follow him on Twitter @KirkS or email him at kshinkle@usnews.com.

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