Scary Players I: Timothy Geithner

Maybe it’s the nature of democracy, when it’s starting to work again after a long hiatus, to be uncertain. It seems like every time I get set to proclaim happy days are here again, some new cold ugliness dampens the impulse. What could be better than Yitzhak Perlman and Yoyo Ma improvising together in concert followed by President Obama’s inspirational inaugural? And then within 48 hours, a series of historic Executive Orders reconnecting our government with our Constitution once again. It doesn’t get much better than this.

But then, this following bit of cold water caught my attention:

Treasury Nominee Failed to Halt Bond Scam

U.S. senators at Timothy Geithner’s confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary Wednesday may want to ask him about a failure to act that is costing the U.S. a lot more than the amount he evaded on taxes.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which he has led since 2003, conducts the operations on Wall Street of the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, the country’s central bank. The New York Fed under Geithner’s presidency has failed to stop massive naked short selling of U.S. Treasury bonds that threatens the stability of the market and sale of the bonds.

via Treasury Nominee Failed to Halt Bond Scam :: The Komisar Scoop.

It is definitely worth following the link to the Komisar Scoop, investigative journalist Lucy Komisar’s website, to read a clear description of just how and why Timothy Geithner‘s failure to act “threatens the stability” of the U.S. Treasury bond market. But the scary part is that this guy’s work history provides no clue as to why he should be trusted with the U.S. Treasury. Scarcely out of Dartmouth, he goes to work and learn from no lesser paragon of probity than Henry Kissenger, prime candidate for a war crimes tribunal if there ever was one. A few years later he goes to work in the Treasury Department under Bush I where he remains through the Clinton years, becoming the disciple of Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who, along with Alan Greenspan, was an active opponent to the regulation of derivatives in the run-up to the current credit debacle.

We can only hope that, if his appointment goes through as predicted, that he has learned the folly of his former ways. After all, as the investment banks’ PR flacks are always telling us, “Past performance is no predictor of future behavior.”

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