Geithner has undeniable strengths. His long relationship with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Lawrence H. Summers, Obama’s chief economic advisor, has enabled more effective coordination between the Treasury and the Fed than at any time in memory. That coordination was a key factor in the Fed’s decision to pump hundreds of billions of dollars directly into the credit system, money that (happily for the administration) doesn’t require approval from Congress. Already, the move has increased the supply of low-interest mortgage money, good for the battered housing market. The Treasury secretary has also succeeded in launching two programs to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure through refinancing or loan modification.
It’s true that Geithner failed to supply details when he outlined his bank rescue plan last month, but aides say he withheld the fine print because it just wasn’t ready. In light of the AIG fiasco, isn’t it better to take a few more weeks to get it right?