In a disturbing display of bipartisan head-up-your-assery, Tim Giethner laid out his “plan” for regulatory reform before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday. Before explaining what is so terrifying about all this, some history:
“I’ve never been a regulator, for better or worse. And I think you’re right to say that we have to be very skeptical that regulation can solve all of these problems.“
~Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (March 26, 2009)
Interesting. Apparently Geithner never bothered to read his job description. From Newyorkfed.org:
As part of our core mission, we supervise and regulate financial institutions in the Second District. Our primary objective is to maintain a safe and competitive U.S. and global banking system.
Fun fact: Timothy Giethner was President of Federal Reserve Bank of New York (November 17, 2003 – January 26, 2009).
So it’s unfair to say that Geithner was “asleep at the switch” during the events leading up to, and including the greatest regulatory failures in history. It is more accurate to say that Geithner didn’t even know he was supposed to be at the switch.
And while we’re clarifying details, let’s review Mr. Geithner’s tax problems. Not only did he fail to pay self-employment taxes while working for the IMF, he was re-imbursed for the taxes he didn’t pay. This wasn’t automatic, he had to apply for re-imbursement.
At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, “I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.” Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row.
With that track record in mind, it should surprise no one that pretty much everything in Geithner’s “reform plan” is already clearly stated policy. Policies that failed the American financial system because their execution was entrusted to the likes of Tim Geithner.
Naming Geithner Treasury Secretary is a joke, much like Met’s fans naming Bill Buckner 1986 World Series MVP, except this is a joke we can’t afford.