Who the hell picked this guy?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went before the American public Tuesday to offer up a new bailout plan for banks. By the time his miserable presentation ended, America saw a need for a bailout plan for the Geithner.

President Barack Obama promised Geithner would deliver a detailed bailout plan that would correct earlier mistakes and move forward. Geithner’s "plan" wasn’t a plan at all, just a vague reference to what he said would be a plan.

"(Tuesday’s) announcement is basically, ‘we have a plan to have a plan,’ James Ellman, president of Seacliff Capital, a San Francisco hedge fund, told Reuters. "We don’t know how the private-public partnership will work. But it does look like for the ‘bad bank’ the losses will mostly be suffered by taxpayers, and gains will mainly be by plutocrats."

Who the hell picked this guy? We know the answer to that question. This is the man whose financial expertise is so valuable that we were asked to overlook his tax dodges? This clown is the best man Barack Obama could find for the job?

God help us. I’ve watched a lot of bumbling idiots before but this bozo tops this all. No wonder the market tanked after he spoke. This guy could screw up a wet dream.

Notes Laurie Kellman of The Associated Press:

The new treasury secretary read from the teleprompter on his right. Then the one on his left. He hardly stood still or looked at his audience for more than a few moments during his big announcement on Tuesday.

Whether Geithner can handle the gargantuan task of bailing out a troubled government bailout — and saving the livelihoods of millions of Americans — couldn’t be answered by a single solo performance. But he could have helped with a showing that looked more sure-footed, square-shouldered and said: I can handle this. I know what to do.

That’s a tall order for a treasury secretary introduced weeks ago to a jittery nation as a tax scofflaw, a Cabinet officer who won confirmation with a third of the Senate against him.

It showed in Geithner’s nationally televised performance.

The man who is a main face of President Barack Obama’s recovery effort rarely looked through the camera to voters craving steadiness, his eyes drawn again and again to the words reflected in the trusty shields of glass.

First to his right, then his left. Briefly, he glanced at the copy of his remarks lying on the lectern and out to the reporters in the room.

He looked dwarfed by the American flags behind him.

To make matters worse, this guy is trying to convince us that he needs more time to get up to speed, saying we should understand that he has only been on the job since Jan. 20.

Bullshit. Geithner has been a player in our financial system for years. You can find his fingerprints all over many of the problems that plague our economy. He should wear a button that shouts "conspirator!"

Some say Tuesday’s event was Geithner’s trial by fire as Treasury Secretary. If so, he came off char-broiled, maybe even extra crispy. No wonder this guy didn’t know he had to pay taxes when he worked at the World Bank. If he really is as clueless as he appeared on Tuesday we have Elmer Fudd in charge of the American economy.  It’s amateur night at Treasury.

Writes Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post:

I’m not an economist, but when Tim Geithner unveils his long-awaited bailout plan and the Dow plunges nearly 400 points, that’s probably not a good sign.

Most people have been scratching their heads about the Bush bailout. How could we have spent half the $700 billion and yet the banks still aren’t lending? They’re sitting on the cash or buying other banks and paying bonuses? Where did the money go?

Against that backdrop, the last thing the Obama administration needed was complaints that its plan didn’t provide enough details. But that was the overwhelming reaction. "Critical details of the plan remained unanswered, despite the weeks of planning leading up to Tuesday’s announcement," the Wall Street Journal said in a midday report.

If Geithner, considered one of the stars of the Obama cabinet, is in so far over his head, what does that say about the rest of the new President’s picks to serve as his brain trust?


  1. Jim C

    Almandine , yes , a progressive tax system is the best way to achive some degree of parady , without it you simply form a two class system . The wealthy pay a far less amount percentage wise on FICA and other hidden taxes . Remember , they only pay on , I believe the first 120,000 which for the highest earners is a fraction of a percent of their earnings while lesser earners are paying around 18% of their entire income on same . The wealthy also have a vast amount of means to avoid taxes and fees the rest of us have to pay . Remember , we pay for Walmart workers health care , they also often pay little or any city or state taxes as a result of stupid tax abatement or deferal deals , they still use the infrastructure , sewers , police and fire protection and other public services as an example . You will find that type of corporate welfare is rampant .

  2. almandine

    Thanks… Jim

    Interesting articles and all. I still have trouble with the post-WWII growth as being related to high taxes instead of pent-up demand for new and improved technological wonders, housing/furnishings for the returning vets and their families, and personal transportation. I see a spurious correlation in the high rates/growth function. I also would like to see time series analyses of tax rates vs. growth, as lead/lag times would, of course, be something necessary to consider. I’m sure something has been published in this area.

  3. almandine

    Jim –

    While I was, in fact, refering to income taxes as you say, the EIC effectively rebates to those in the lower earning category most if not all of the other taxes you name.

    The upper earners pay more in absolute number of dollars, by far, even though the percentage of taxes they pay may in fact be lower. Regarding income tax alone, however, is there really some legitimate reason that someone earning, say $200K, should pay a greater percentage than others pay so that someone can receive that EIC? Is redistribution the BEST method to achieve the stated goals of that tax mechanism?

    As for FICA, fees, licenses, etc., the upper earners will also pay a greater total amount than the lower earners, just because of higher incomes and being more involved in the marketplace. Except for those at the VERY TOP, they pay their share and then some.

    One thing I have always wondered about is the cost of freedom… the cost of all the (now somewhat dilapidated) infrastructure that supports our citizens one and all… and the cost of maintaining America as a place worthy of being called home… and how people who are given a mostly free pass feel about it all. My question goes to those at both the top and the bottom. It would seem to me that only by everybody being responsible for paying our collective way can we all think we’re in it together.

  4. Jim C

    Alamandine , one more thing , due diligence is something that was ingrained in me since birth . My father was a scientist , all my sibilings are in business ranging from very to incredibly successful . One also tends to be a bit anal about due diigence when you have as much skin in the game as I do . I have from half to 100% of my assets on the line every day , that does tend to focus the mind , so don’t worry about my being dually dilligent , I’m all about it .

  5. CheckerboardStrangler

    Here’s your sign, Tim.
    Obama, there’s one reserved for YOU if you don’t get rid of this guy.

    Jeff H in TX

  6. Jim C

    Oh Alamandine , I simply have to address your statement ” I also know that the bottom 35% or more pay no taxes “. the hell they don’t , they just don’t pay ” income taxes ” . If you look at the percentage of their meager incomes the aformentioned group pays in taxes , FICA , sales , license fees and other hidden taxes the actual percentage of their tax load is over 40% . What the upper brackets pay in total taxes as percentage of income compared to the bottom 50% or so is infinitesimal .

  7. Jim C

    Alamandine , Your statement that ” you didn’t read that ” is rather astounding to me as it was well covered everywhere from my hometown paper to news sites . But here , read away , I realize that facts won’t sway your beliefs but perhaps might be enlightening for some other reader who stumbled onto this thread . On these subjects the information was overwhelming . You may have to pull the links and put them on your brouser , I not sure how well the links will work . http://www.cbpp.org/10-27-08tax.htmhttp: //www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1249465620080812 http: //charlotte.craigslist.org/pol/1017459121.htmlhttp: //www.csmonitor.com/2004/0419/p16s03-cogn.htmlhttp: //www.forbes.com/2009/01/29/irs-high-income-personal-finance-taxes_0129_wealthy_americans.htmlhttp: //www.selectsmart.com/DISCUSS/read.php?16,683493http: //www.laprogressive.com/2008/12/23/raising-taxes-is-good-for-the-economy/http: //www.alternet.org/workplace/106979/why_the_economy_grows_like_crazy_amid_high_taxes?page=entire

  8. almandine

    Well, Jim… I didn’t see it in the papers.. as if I would necessarily believe that source anyway. There are “official” stats all over the internet, govt reports, etc., you get my drift. Due diligence is a virtue.

    Regarding the 1950’s, the war was just over, consumers were in dire need of everything – appliances, furniture, cars, etc., – the soldiers were home to take manufacturing jobs – the war manufacturing machinery was converted to making consumer products – it would have taken a nation of fools not to make a profit or grow exponentially. Needless to say, I can’t get my mind around high taxes being the reason for the growth.

    As for taxes, I pay my share and then some. I do know that the top individual payers take care of the top 40% tax load. I also know that the bottom 35% or more pay no taxes. For the life of me, I can’t see how either is fair. Business taxes? It is true that the corporate tax load in the US is higher than most other countries, so I don’t know how that should translate to “swimming in jobs”.

    Again, I remain unconvinced that “high taxes produce greater growth” and I think instead that what you have identified is a confounded correlation.

  9. Jim C

    No , I don’t keep my investments under my mattress ( but at present I almost wish I had ) , about half of my investment capital is sitting safely in money market accts . The rest is languishing in the market invested in my fields of endeaver , energy production , equipment and small cap hi techs . I like a few others have been pounded in the last year , but , ka surah surah , I tend to be a very aggressive invester and as the old saying goes ” some times you get the bear , and sometimes the bear gets you ” .
    Now , you are absolutley correct , history does show tax rates on corporations and the wealthiest have a direct effect on the economy . From about 1947 to the sixties corporations paid about half ( a bit over I believe ) of the countries taxes . Today they pay I believe 7% or less, down from 16% in the 90’s . The period between 1950 to about 1960 was the only period in our countries history that the middle class controlled a majority of the countries wealth , the lower aprox 75% now has a bit less than 20% of same . That period of extremely high tax rates on the wealthiest was also one of the most explosive growth eras in our history . The middle class was moving nicely up the economic ladder and the wealthy were also doing quite well , business was booming because the middle class had the ability to purchase the products and services industry produced . Now , before you pounce with the idea that the wealthy pay 70% of the taxes , you have to remember , they ( the top 2% ) control over 70% of the countries wealth and the taxes they love to moan and bleat about are ” income ” taxes . The top 400 wealthiest people paid at a rate of 17% last year . Yes they paid a lot of money in but it still amounted to only 17% of their ( gag ) earnings . That 17% was their total tax load , the average american pays over 50% if you figure everything in , they wealthy pay a much much smaller preportion of their income on the real tax bite , FICA , sales taxes , license fees etc . They ( the wealthy ) have a raft of ways to avoid , defer or deflect such taxes . Now I am quite aware that both you ” Warren” and ” Almandine ” are going to argue who pays what in taxes , check it out and not just ” income taxes ” but the entire tax load . What you will find is that since the eighties the tax load has shifted significantly and steadily to the middle class . Every time the tax rate is cut states have to raise theirs to fill the void , thats one way the tax load has been shifted to the middle and lower classes . Again , forget that phony 35% rate on corporations , none of them pay it or even close if they pay anything at all . Now Almandine , you asked for sources . The real tax rate paid by the top 400 wealthiest people was all over the papers just a couple of weeks ago , you mean you missed it ? 17% that was it . Warren Buffet said about a year ago ” something is quite wrong with our system when I pay at a significantly lower tax rate than my secretary ” you didn’t catch that either ? Simply go back to the last time we had a balanced budget 1962 and look at the rates and economy . Richad Nixon stated that 50% was about right for a tax rate on the top 5% or so . Warren , you stated that corporate taxes have a direct effect on jobs , not really , if that was the case we’d be swimming in jobs . Large corporations only employ 30% or less of the work force , small companys are where the jobs are . As I stated , large corporations pay a very small amount of taxes if any at all . Their favorite game is to move production off shore then re import the product screwing this country out of both tax revenue and jobs . A large chunk of their untaxed income now goes to buy pliant politicians . Now , as far as my moving to Cuba or Venezuela , I would be much more inclined to move to Denmark , France or Germany , I prefer a socialist democracy to a communist government . I have always wanted to visit Cuba however , if they lift the tourist embargo I’ll be there in a heartbeat , I love the caribbean , Venezuela also has some of the worlds most beautiful women and they are a democracy you know , they’re getting ready to have an election to vote on term limits . They were also sending heating oil to our poor over here until this year . Cuba sends doctors all over the caribbean and africa , they are extremely well trained and a godsend to other poor countries in the region . Pardon me if this is somewhat disjointed , I accidently errased it on the first try and had to rewrite it , but I did my best to recapture the thought , don’t you hate it when that happens .

  10. Warren

    I can’t pass this up.

    History in fact shows none of what you say it does. It shows wealth is accumulated and reinvested. You haven’t stuffed your investments in your mattress, have you? I doubt it. You’ve put it into corporations of different sizes. Big corporations may be multinational. Smaller US companies are local, like your relatives’ companies. History also shows that we live in a world economy where tax rates on corporations have a direct effect on jobs.

    Your personal solution may involve a move to Venezuela or Cuba.


  11. Jim C

    You are free to ” disagree ” , but history shows clearly that your theory is incorrect . First , a national sales tax would simply shift taxes even more onto the middle class and has been the wet dream of the ubber wealthy for a long time . What actually works is a confiscatory rate on the very top , that motivates them to reinvest . As far as their ” putting it under the mattress ” , no , not really , they use their excess wealth to buy even more privilage . Again , don’t take my word for it , look at the history , when taxes are highest on the very wealthy the country and the middle class have boomed , when they’re very low , growth stalls . The very wealthy now pay on average 17% of their income in taxes , what do you pay ? If your low tax theory was correct we should be in fat city at the moment . All of this blather about us having the highest corporate tax rates in the world is pure nonsense . Most very large corporations pay little or no income taxes , the tax rate is around 35% but so full of holes few large companys pay anything . Again , before you charge for the keyboard , check it out , the informations out there . Now , for your car example , 1st , the Koreans only allow about 3000 cars from our country into Korea every year , while we take as many as they want to send over , that also goes for the other asian car makers , sharp limits on exports to them , unlimited imports to our market . Other countries , Japan , China , Korea etc have not only import limits but tariffs , we have neither . Now for your comment about how much the poor wealthy pay in taxes on their cars , Many pay nothing , they drive a car that is owned by their company and write that sucker off as a business expense or the shareholders pick it up . Again , before you blister you fingers firing off an indignant rebuttal I do understand these things a bit . My sister and brother in law own an oil and gas development and production company plus a real estate company in Dallas . They ( or rather their companys ) own an assortment of luxury vehicles plus a helicopter that their business’s bought and get handsome write offs for , that would include the purchase prices and taxes . My sister also runs a charitable foundation affiliated with the company which gives them an even bigger tax advantage ( not uncommon ) . I by the way am a long time invester . In good years my income tax rate is 15% on my investment income if I’m careful to keep it long term ( which I am ) , but more than twice that on my regular income which is usually much less , not a bad deal huh ? Most of the corporations you refered to are multi national , they could care less about this country . If they want to move off shore for slave labor ( most already are by the way ) , fine , just tax the bejebbers out of them when they want to bring their junk back over here to sell it .

  12. Warren

    I disagree.

    Higher corporate taxes are the first and best way to drive more jobs out of the country. Higher taxes on US corporations make the US less competitive in a world market.

    Wealth accumulated by ‘wealthy’ people is not stuffed into mattresses. It goes back into new investment that creates new jobs.

    The best way to insure both, that US corporations are not put at a disadvantage and that the wealthy are taxed progressively, is to do away with income taxes and replace them with a national sales tax. That way, when you buy a new car (for example) the Korean cars are taxed as much as US cars, and US corporations and jobs are not put at a disadvantage. And, the wealthy pay proportionately more tax when they buy more expensive goods. They pay much more tax on their Mercedes than you do on your Chevy.


  13. Jim C

    Good question , I like Reich but strongly disagree with his opinion that corporations should be taxed very lightly if at all . I say bring back the pre reagan tax structure . History shows clearly that the economy and the middle class have done best when taxes were highest on the very wealthy and corporations . It gives them incentive to reinvest rather than hoard or make mischief with their wealth . It also stimies the creation of an aristocratic class , that was what Teddy Roosevelt understood and spoke often about . If a countries wealth is allowed to pool at the top the economic machine stalls , kind of like a pond with no circulation grows stagnant , soon the only thing that thrives are vile smelling bacteria and scum floating at the very top .

  14. drich291

    I have re-reading The Resurgent Liberal by Robert Reich. He was describing the beginnings and underlying problems of what caused the current mess back in 1991. Why is he not being used by the Obama administration? Why not many other economists who knew what was coming and have intelligent solutions? Instead, we get the same crooks who caused the problem in charge of the hen house. Come on Obama, wake up!

    Incidentally, check out Money as Debt.

  15. AustinRanter

    What scares me most about Tim Geithner is that he was over the NY Fed and he knows, in detail, about all of the bad assets owned by this countries lending institutions. He’s also aware that the numbers regarding the depth of these corporations slide to insolvency has thus far not even close to being disclosed.

    Woe is us….

  16. remoran

    “Never stop questioning.” Einstein

    The financial system is a fraud. Do research and one will find our monetary system is a sham. Money is created out of nothing, back by nothing and run by a private cartel protected by government known as The Fed. Geithner was head of the NY Fed, the most powerful of the 12 charter banks run by the Fed so Tiny Tim is not one of us. He was a Bushie who greased the wheels for the $300+ billion dollar bailout of Citibank.

    He is now going to take ANOTHER two trillion of the public’s money to give to the banks in hopes of loosing up credit in order to foster more borrowing in order to enable money to exist because without borrowing, there would be no money. (The 2 trillion [soon to be four] is fungible funds under direct control of the Fed as the Fed handles the government’s money, not the government.)

    Adding fuel to the fire, consider that Bloomberg is suing the Fed on the first two trillion given to parties unknown back in Nov of 2008 under the Freedom of Information Act. On Jan 28, the Fed was supposed to supply answers to Bloomberg as to where the money went. Needless to say, no answers have come out as of yet.

    What’s even more amazing is the fact no one ever asks the question, What is Money? or better yet, How is money created and who owns the power of the purse? If people take the effort to find out, then answers to why we are being systematically screwed over this financial fubar immediately becomes apparent. Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln knew the dangers of a central bank and worked like crazy to prevent central bank control over the nation’s money. Obviously Obama does not, something that doesn’t auger well as we move further into this decade of disaster.

    Good post for sure..

  17. griff

    During the campaign I ran across some videos of Ron Paul from his Libertarian campaign in 1988. He was telling us then, and ever since, where we were heading with all of this.

    I agree, the Congress has had ample warning, but the Congress is no longer ours – it’s theirs. Good points.

  18. AustinRanter


    I couldn’t agree more.

    The world’s most successful business person, Warren Buffett, saw our crisis coming over 5 years and has repeatedly made warnings to the public, private business sectors, and I have no doubt to high level government officials.

    As far back as 2004 he said that the U.S. was probably holding about 83 trillion in bad assets because of credit swaps, and for damn sure derivatives, that insured the bad credit packages being sold and resold to the point that the original value…and hell, the identifiable collateral was no longer distingushable.

    In 2006 Congress knew there were serious problems beyond anything that our nation has ever experienced. There were a handful of very experience economist who were screaming out warnings, to only fall on deaf ears.

    Over the past 5 years, and as you’ve pointed out, there are a significant number of economist who are qualified to have been brought in to assist not only the White House, but Congress in developing a greater understanding of the problems…and how to construct a more reasonable and sound set of solutions…meaning if plan A fails…then go to plan B and so on…

    Our situation with both the White House and Congress dealing with the bailout is beyond perplexing. But more than that…Congress is blatantly showing it’s allegiance to corporations more than ever over the American people. The White House’s lack of experience is clearly shining through.

    I fear the consequences are going to be nothing less than profound.

    As recently reported in major news outlets…National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair is saying that our financial and economic problems surpass problems with terrorism and national security.

    Tim Geithner is no doubt a smart man…but, has he prematurely reached the affects and effects of the “Peter Principle” by taking on the Treasury position?

  19. Jim C

    I , for one , am wondering about Geithner , Summers , Emanuel and all of the rest of the republican lites that Obama seems so enamored with . I just don’t get it , there were plenty of fine economists that saw this mess coming and tried to raise warnings . That he now seems hell bent on installing the very nitwits that laid the groundwork for this fiasco to his economic team seems crazy .

  20. AustinRanter

    Sherry…we need to remove more than Reid and Pelosi. Way more, and on both sides of the silly invisible isle! If a person bears the name “Incumbent”….it’s time to go.

    There are a slew of Congressional-Corp Members who need to bid us all farewell.

    As we’ve all seen in most media resources…the Executive Salary Caps have been cut from the Stimulus. Surprised anyone?

    I think it’s now obvious that the corporations (especially banking and market place) are currently laying off so many citizens because of the profound sums of money that they had to investments to pay off Congress to enact the laws that allowed them to conduct greatest swindle known to humankind. Yes, I’m being my usual ass self, of course, by this little analogy.

    Geithner has an opportunity to make history beyond his reknown skateboarding days. He can work to reduce the size of huge banking corporations, so much so that it would be impossible for banks to fail anywhere near the proportion they are today.

    But, we all know that Congress would never make those need laws to cut-down banking corp sizes. They don’t bite the hand that feeds them.

  21. sherry

    As everyone who has read my postings prior to the election, knows I was not an Obama supporter. That said, we are in a mess. Obama prior to 20 Jan, had ZERO executive experience. He still has his training wheels on.
    Just finished reading “All Too Human” by George Stephanopoulos. Clinton had an advantage in that he had at least been a governor and had an idea has to how to govern.Despite this, people, Clinton still had plenty of mis steps. Travelgate anyone?
    Obama has a learning curve. Those who were so enthused with him, should have known it would take Obama some time. Cut the guy some slack.
    Would McCain have been better? I doubt it.
    We are in a mess. We have an inexperienced POTUS who has to learn to govern. While he championed himself an outsider, he has surrounded himself with insiders. Not only that, the very good ol boy network he railed against, is the one who helped get him elected. He owes them favors. And he will pay. They always do.
    It’s a bad combination really, two bad choices for POTUS and the worst financial mess in history.
    One silver lining I see Nancy Pelosi out. Reid is not far behind. Perhaps some people with better skills will replace them. Or not. Time will tell.