Pity poor Tim Geithner, the New York Times advises us. Not only does he have no answers for the current economic crisis, he spends his days at Treasury in a lonely office, surrounded by empty cubicles. Never mind that Geithner is the one who is supposed to staff these positions:
Analysts say it is far too early to know if Mr. Geithner and his team will be effective. But some worry that political and financial constraints have made them reluctant to grapple with the full magnitude of the crisis.
Many financial experts estimate that the nation’s banks are holding as much as $2 trillion in troubled assets, most of it tied to mortgages. By contrast, the Treasury has less than $300 billion left in the financial rescue plan that Congress reluctantly approved last year.
Well, so far, we can say that Geithner’s been ineffective. The markets continue to slide, despite a number of bailout proposals floated out of Treasury. Geithner himself has failed to produce the overall plan promised by Barack Obama a month ago, which clearly defines the term ineffective. Why not? The Times gives us this laughable excuse:
Compounding the strain on the Treasury, almost all the top posts beneath Mr. Geithner are still vacant. Though he has hired about 50 senior advisers — about half the number he hopes to recruit — the White House has become so worried about potential tax problems and other issues in the backgrounds of candidates that it has nominated only a handful of people.
They’re kidding, right? It’s that hard to find financial experts who can pay their taxes correctly? If so, doesn’t that say something about the tax code itself? Maybe we should concentrate on simplifying it and get the government off of everyone’s backs, instead of making it so complex that even PhDs can’t figure them out.
And, by the way, did the Bush administration have this much trouble finding people who complied with their taxes? Did the Clinton administration? Maybe the Times should look into that, and their previous cheerleading in casting the Obama transition as the greatest in human history. It seems to be failing as a meme.
Geithner seems to have a lot in common with his boss. Neither of them have proven particularly adept at executive positions. Geithner’s failure to staff his office is his own fault, not anyone else’s, and completely within his power to correct. Pardon me if I’m not crying tears over Geithner’s loneliness.