Tuesday, January 26, 2010
There seems to be a growing consensus that Secretary Tim Geithner will become President Obama's sacrificial lamb at the alter of what has become a populist outrage over the U.S. government's much too cozy relationship with rich Wall Street banker types.
In today's commentary at Bloomberg, Caroline Baum adds to the case against Geithner - one that may see its profile elevated after tomorrow's testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the AIG bailout - drawing the following conclusion:
Geithner has been a public servant his whole life, holding various positions at the Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and the Fed. Somehow he managed to shed the stigma of tax scofflaw, but now BOTH Democrats and Republicans in Congress want blood. His may be just the scalp Obama needs to pacify the populist outrage, especially since he’s perceived as being too cozy with bankers.It seems all but inevitable that Geithner will go. He'll no doubt join former Treasury Assistant Secretary Neel Kashkari, now employed by Pimco, by cashing in big in the private sector, all of which might make his personal, underwater housing situation all the more easier to bear.
Following the loss of the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, Obama is trying out his populist voice. By all rights, he should sacrifice one of his political advisers, who seem to have miscalculated the Massachusetts election and misjudged the public’s appetite for health-care reform when the chief concern is jobs.
Axing Geithner might be good for president and Treasury secretary alike. Obama would be seen as an ally of the people. Geithner would be free to claim his just reward: that plum offer from Goldman Sachs. The circle would be squared. Obama would have his man on the inside.