Today’s must read MSM piece is a NYT OpEd by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Welcome to the Recovery.  I have been critical of Geithner’s reign at Treasury, and even more so of his former role as President of the NY Fed.

But today’s commentary is fascinating: What he writes is, for the most part, true. However, it does not quite paint a fully accurate picture. It tells only half of the story of the recovery, while ignoring the long term costs:

• Exports are booming because American companies are very competitive and lead the world in many high-tech industries.

• Private job growth has returned — not as fast as we would like, but at an earlier stage of this recovery than in the last two recoveries. Manufacturing has generated 136,000 new jobs in the past six months.

• Businesses have repaired their balance sheets and are now in a strong financial position to reinvest and grow.

• American families are saving more, paying down their debt and borrowing more responsibly. This has been a necessary adjustment because the borrow-and-spend path we were on wasn’t sustainable.

• The auto industry is coming back, and the Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors — are now leaner, generating profits despite lower annual sales.

• Major banks, forced by the stress tests to raise capital and open their books, are stronger and more competitive. Now, as businesses expand again, our banks are better positioned to finance growth.

• The government’s investment in banks has already earned more than $20 billion in profits for taxpayers, and the TARP program will be out of business earlier than expected — and costing nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars less than projected last year.

If you have ever wondered why some people progress within organizations, this is a perfect example. Say what you will about the Treasury Secretary’s understanding of the crisis or his policies at the NY Fed or at Treasury, he knows how to make his boss happy. I doubt there is anyone at the White House unhappy with him today.

I will go into greater detail in the future, but I just had to point out this little tidbit:

According to a report released last week by Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi, advisers to President Bill Clinton and Senator John McCain, respectively, the combined actions since the fall of 2007 of the Federal Reserve, the White House and Congress helped save 8.5 million jobs and increased gross domestic product by 6.5 percent relative to what would have happened had we done nothing. The study showed that government action delivered a powerful bang for the buck, and that the bank rescue on its own will turn a profit for taxpayers.

That is now our standard — what was done versus doing nothing? That is truly the wrong counter-factual (more on this tomorrow).

The bottom line: Timmy’s job is safe for the foreseeable future.

>

Source:
Welcome to the Recovery
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER
NYT, August 2, 2010  
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/opinion/03geithner.html

Category: Economy, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

51 Responses to “Welcome to My Job Security”

  1. Mannwich says:

    Who, exactly, does he mean by “we”?

  2. Greg0658 says:

    saw this last nite too:
    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talked about how the recently-passed financial regulation bill @ NYU Sterns School of Bus
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/229661

  3. Mannwich says:

    And you’re right – this is exactly what goes on in all large organizations, private or public. The crafty folks who are able to deflect blame, push real problems onto others, while making it SEEM like they’re saving the day right now, are always the ones who climb the latter. Long term thinking and actually trying to solve the actual problems is for suckers.

  4. Morgan says:

    “…the combined actions since the fall of 2007 of the Federal Reserve, the White House and Congress helped save 8.5 million jobs and increased gross domestic product by 6.5 percent relative to what would have happened had we done nothing.”

    In addition to assuming an odd counterfactual, it’s a pretty astounding claim. I mean, if an analyst said that his model showed the CEO of MegaCorp was responsible for $8.5 billion in profits “relative to what would have happened if he had done nothing”, while the income statement showed MegaCorp losing $7.2 billion over the CEO’s tenure, I’d be pretty skeptical. That doesn’t mean the claim is wrong, or course. But it’s still pretty astounding.

  5. purple says:

    Geithner is talking to his buddies, that’s all. The rest of us are peeking through the key hole.

  6. BDW says:

    In studying leadership for my MBA, the ones who progress are those who network effectively and latch their lips onto the right people, not competent managers who strictly do their jobs.

  7. DeDude says:

    When you are arguing with tea-partiers who wanted gobinment to not have done anything, then the standard is a comparison to not doing anything at all. If we had followed their “let it crash and burn” ideology then the economy would have lost 900 billion per year and U3 unemployment would have been around 16-18%. The loss of 8.5 million more people this year doing nothing, is a loss of productive work that could never have been recovered again. The 900 billion loss, per year, to the economy has to be brought out when tea-partiers complain about the 400 billion per year invested in the stimulus package as something we cannot afford.

    If you are talking to sensible people who are not happy with the way our financial sector was bailed out or the specific things that the stimulus package was invested in, then the standard (as always) have to be what worked and what didn’t. The good news is that the Obama administration insisted on collecting detailed data on the use and effects of the stimulus money – so for those interested we will soon be able to have that discussion based on facts. Hopefully there are still a few conservatives left who have not been completely Foxified and can enjoy a fact-based debate.

  8. wally says:

    As purple says, above, it depends on whose eyes you read this through. The number of people insulted by Timmy’s claims is not a small one.

  9. Mannwich says:

    Nice Strawman, DeDude. You’re very adept at building those up to take them down. There were/are MANY actual non-thinking tea-partiers who didn’t think the choice was either we do it THIS way or NOTHING at all. There were other better choices that would have actually helped the real economy but when you’re looking at everything through a political prism, it’s almost impossible to see or acknowledge that. Yawn.

  10. Mannwich says:

    That too, BDW, but deflecting blame and kicking it onto others, while APPEARING to save the day is enormous as well.

  11. b_thunder says:

    The Bullshit-o-Meters around the world are simply off the charts!

    • The government’s investment in banks has already earned more than $20 billion in profits for taxpayers

    Of really? you mean $189Billion from AIG has been repaid? What about Maiden Lane 1,2 and 3? Are they all “marked to market”? and $1250B Fed MBS crap, is that also in the black? How about $1trillion or more that will be needed to “fix” Fannie/Freddie?

    That Beavis look-alike (and think-alike) definitely feels no shame lying and and distorting the facts like that. You’ve got to give him that. I wonder what his escape plan is when “the reign of terror” commences here.
    And on top of that he’s got the balls to involve Rogoff and Reinhart, the authors of a preeminent research book that spells out what exactly the Geithner’s own policies will lead to? I am really speechless…

  12. louis says:

    Strategic Default = Paying down your debt.

  13. constantnormal says:

    “That is now our standard — what was done versus doing nothing?”

    Sadly, it is even worse — it is: “That is now our standard — what was done versus what we think would have happened if we had done nothing?”

    There is a piece linked to over at Infectious Greed that is worth perusing in this regard:
    http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_social-science.html

    And economics is no more than a social science at this point … at least until we start doing practical experiments, like dividing the nation and trying one approach on one half and another on the other half, and after a suitable period of evaluation, making the “winner” the national standard.

    Of course, nobody is going to stand for being a guinea pig in that manner, so we are all guinea pigs in this unverifiable, random, nonsensical approach to expanding our knowledge base on economics. (Actually, it isn’t even that, it’s an experiment in politics, not economics or economic policy)

  14. plantseeds says:

    I love it when econimists pull numbers out of their estimates and Moody’s Analytics models of the U.S. economy to tell what would have happened and how many jobs were saved as a result.

    According to some, estimates and models are transformed into facts.

    This report is filled with declarations such as the following,

    “Estimating the economic impact of the policies is not an accounting exercise, but an econometric one. It is not feasible to identify and count each job created or saved by these policies. Rather, outcomes for employment and other activity must be estimated using a statistical representation of the economy based on historical relationships, such as the Moody’s Analytics model.”

    “But modeling the vast array of financial policies, most of which were unprecedented and unconventional, required some creativity, and forced us to make some major simplifying assumptions.”

    John B. Taylor has some intersting views on the subject worth looking at.

    http://www.johnbtaylor.com/

    http://johnbtaylorsblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/more-on-blinder-zandi-working-paper-on.html

    And a PBS discussion with Zandi here.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec10/economy_07-29.html

  15. Blurtman says:

    Welcome to the new USSR, comrade.

  16. DeDude says:

    Mannwich; sorry but the only thing you hear from the Tea-partiers and their leader Glen Beck is to get gobinment out of this and leave it to the free market forces. There may be individual tea-partiers who have other ideas – but I have not heard any of them. I personally support the idea of bringing the deficit down – but have yet to hear any realistic and specific proposals coming out of the tea-party. It’s all the old BS about “cutting waste” with absolutely no specifics about how much and where. They also say nothing about what taxes to raise and quite a few are stupid enough to think that we can get rid of the deficit without raising revenues. I understand the political problem of becoming specific and standing for more than just “mother and apple pie”, but if they can’t, then they are no better than the political parties they are raging against and presumed to be an alternative to.

    As said before, I was against the way the banks were bailed out – I wanted the Swedish solution not a handout to the banksters. But all I have seen from Glen and his tea-partiers is “no handouts”, where is their official alternative to the handouts?. I wanted a stimulus plan that was 100% public infrastructure investment and unemployment support in the first year, followed by a $1000 tax rebate in the second year. All I have seen from Glen and his tea-partiers is “we couldn’t afford this gobinment stimulus giveaway”, where is their official alternative to doing nothing. The most absurd thing is that they now are talking about the need to continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich as if we couldn’t possibly afford 40 Billion for the unemployed, but affording a 400 billion handout to the top 1% is no problem. If tax cuts for the rich, enacted 2 years after the beginning of the crisis, is their answer – then they are just a freaking joke.

  17. DeDude says:

    Constantnormal@11:12;

    That is just unadultered BS. The fact that you cannot do a double blind randomized placebo controlled experiment does not mean that you cannot learn anything at all. The certainty (p-values) in physics/chemistry is a lot stronger than they are in biological/biomedical sciences and the social/economic sciences brings the least certainty to their conclusions. But in all cases you are dealing with predictive values that are a lot better than random “toss of a coin”. We have over 100 economies and over 100 years of data from the outcomes of different actions on different parameters. So yes we do know what works and does not work in a financial crisis and a severe recession. That knowledge can easily be applied to predict outcomes of doing or not doing something with much higher certainty than simple guessing.

  18. Mannwich says:

    Why are you bringing the Tea Party into this, DeDude? Did I mention anything about my allegiance to them? I think that as a group they’re basically all nuts but that’s beside the point. You’re making my point for me. Why bring them into this discussion?

  19. DeDude says:

    I am bringing them in because Timmy did not write this for you (or me) he wrote it in response to the attack from Glen Beck and his “do nothing” tea-partiers. That is why it is legitimate for him to compare the Obama administrations actions to not having done anything. I will be happy to debate what they should have done instead – although I am realistic enough to understand that they cannot be faulted for the need to find a compromise in order to get anything through the senate. So they can legitimately say that it was this or nothing (i.e. a crash and burn tactic in the senate).

  20. Transor Z says:

    • Exports are booming because American companies are very competitive and lead the world in many high-tech industries.

    Are financial products included in exports? Also, define “booming.”

    • Private job growth has returned — not as fast as we would like, but at an earlier stage of this recovery than in the last two recoveries. Manufacturing has generated 136,000 new jobs in the past six months.

    Riiiiight … while initial claims have dug in at 450 – 460k. And job growth ex everthing but manufacturing is cherry-picking at its finest, especially since this was a credit/asset bubble event — not an industrial over-capacity event.

    • Businesses have repaired their balance sheets and are now in a strong financial position to reinvest and grow.

    If only they were interested in borrowing to grow, Tim. But they’re not, are they? And anyway, when you say “businesses,” I assume you mean “major banks” and this bullet is redundant with the one below.

    • American families are saving more, paying down their debt and borrowing more responsibly. This has been a necessary adjustment because the borrow-and-spend path we were on wasn’t sustainable.

    I guess that’s one way to describe an environment of massive deleveraging with record numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures.

    • The auto industry is coming back, and the Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors — are now leaner, generating profits despite lower annual sales.

    Let’s just omit everything prior to “lower annual sales.”

    • Major banks, forced by the stress tests to raise capital and open their books, are stronger and more competitive. Now, as businesses expand again, our banks are better positioned to finance growth.

    Again, by “businesses” you mean “major banks” and their ability to finance one another infinitely upwards into the upper reaches of the Ponzi-sphere.

    • The government’s investment in banks has already earned more than $20 billion in profits for taxpayers, and the TARP program will be out of business earlier than expected — and costing nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars less than projected last year.

    $20 billion… does government even spend in denominations that small anymore?

  21. Mannwich says:

    Well done, Transor. Well done indeed. And the beat(ings) go(es) on.

    Crony capitalism for them, quasi-capitalism for the rest of us.

  22. DMR says:

    @Mannwich says: “Why are you bringing the Tea Party into this, DeDude?”

    DeDude might be the troll, but it is Mannwich who picked up the bait :)

  23. Mannwich says:

    Good point, DMR. Mea culpa. ;-)

  24. constantnormal says:

    @DeDude — I never said that we can’t learn anything at all, only that we are not availing ourselves of the opportunity to learn anything. We could be piloting multiple smaller projects to alter the dynamics in the mortgage markets, that take perspectives that are different and see which one works better.

    Or we could have examined the various state alternatives to government-regulated health insurance (California and Massachusetts spring to mind), and attempted to devise a national plan that benefitted from those working instances, or examined all the national health care programs around the world (which are all different and all successful to varying degrees, at least when measured by the health of the recipients and the cost of the programs) — but instead we did neither, branching out in a third direction which has pleased no one (except the die-hard Demoncats and the insurance companies), choosing instead to escalate costs without regulation or limit.

    I don’t believe that our current approach allows us to “learn” anything about economics. That is different from claiming that there are no approaches that permit learning, even if only in modest amounts. It’s just that we are not doing any learning along the economics dimension, it’s all concentrated along the lines of which public preening and attack commercials gives the best result at election time — the political dimension.

    Hence my observation that we are not conducting economic experiments, but rather political ones, with the election being the selection that demonstrates winning tactics (not ideas, there are no ideas, so far as I can tell) over inferior tactics.

    While Reinhart & Rogoff have compiled an impressive database of past historical examples, and Simon Johnson has brought a lot of contemporary experience to bear that says the same thing, what good does it do us if all this “knowledge” is ignored by everyone within the government, and unknown by the body of the sheeple? We are simply not playing the economics game, having forsaken it for the political games.

  25. constantnormal says:

    Transor Z — you seem to be writing BR’s follow-on piece for him … [chuckle]

    A pity that there are no responsible and prominent opposition party members to deliver this rebuttal to the public.

  26. Mannwich says:

    And why is that, constant? Think about it for a second. This has never been about “learning” anything. It’s always been about bailing out the elites and preserving the status quo for them.

  27. Mannwich says:

    In fact, all of our policies (the health care and Wall Street bills included) are now crafted with this very goal in mind. Shared sacrifice is for everyone else.

  28. Mannwich says:

    So no mention of small businesses by Timmy? Do they not exist in his mind and world?

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/08/wells-fargogallup-small-business-index.html

  29. curbyourrisk says:

    Geithner lied through his teetht he entire time. I am tired of mainstream media likes applauding anything this man says. I am very interested to read your take when it comes out. I will pass judgement on Barry until then. But beieving any of the nubers quoted or put out by the administration will lengthen your stay in the administration, but just proves to the average Joe what side you are on……

  30. pintelho says:

    “• The government’s investment in banks has already earned more than $20 billion in profits for taxpayers, and the TARP program will be out of business earlier than expected — and costing nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars less than projected last year.”

    If it is profitable by $20 Billion how can it cost $750 Billion? And this guy is the Treasury Sec? WTF?

    It simply doesn’t add up.

    Has anyone really studied the P&L of the TARP? If so can someone share that study?

  31. WFTA says:

    I think we may be having the wrong argument. After reading Krugman this morning (today’s Houston Chonicle) it looks like amoral Republicans and dickless Democrats are set to give us years and years of 10% unemployment. Should prove successful for the amorals in November. And God help us when they sing the encore.

    Maybe they’ll run Grover Norquist in 2012 and we can bring our discussion back to the merits of feudalism.

  32. NoKidding says:

    It takes only a few years of corporate experience to understand how Geithner operates, and held up against a moral vacuum his performance is to be admired. His use of language is offensive only when considered in human context.

  33. constantnormal says:

    Geithner puts a little different spin on the ball in his appearance on Good Morning America:

    “People start to come back into the labor force, and that can cause the measured unemployment rate to go up temporarily.”

    Only if they can’t get jobs.

    Geithner Says Unemployment May Advance Again Before Declining [Bloomberg]

  34. Indeed, everything is turning up roses. Consumer spending failed to increase its anemic growth rate (o.1%). Housing failed to recover from the collapse in transactions after removal of the tax credit (2.4% drop in June). Unemployment remains well above that magical 9.0% number (is “9″ the new “4.5″?). And bank balance sheets are still riddled with holes big enough to drive a truck through, at least so far as assets that they haven’t been able to pawn off on the Fed yet are concerned (recent WSJ article about sales of bank assets for significantly less than the price they were carried on the balance sheet). Auto sales are lower than expected (even after over $50 billion directly being poured into two of them).

    This is not over. The beginning is not even over. It won’t be over until the American middle class becomes poorer by several degrees. That’s the reality. This Geithner piece is just garbage.

    And here’s the thing–nothing can be done, government, monetary or otherwise to prevent the economy from doing what it wishes to do–i.e., to reach a state of equilibrium of lowered aggregate demand and income. Nothing.

  35. napster says:

    Yea I’m never sold on the dialectic reasoning process.

    The meta-problem occurs when the two choices are really just restatements of the same decision : to do nothing, or to do whatever was done that is better than nothing. Rather than allocating numerous possible paths towards a goal, the two choices methodology obfuscates the goal and insists their are only two choices : do nothing or do what was done. There could be a lot of different things that could have been done, but when the crisis management is frame as two possible routes the human tendency is to view the two paths as opposites, regardless of the accuracy.

    Life is not this simple. There is no Good-Insightful way to do something, versus the Bad-Stupid method. There might be a bad-stupid method and a lot of good-insights by plenty of people, but if we reduce issues down to 2 choices, what usually happens is not a solution to the problem at all, but rather an insistence upon a self-reinforcing paradigm. It is the World-view of the actors involved in the presentation of the problem that creates these dialectic choices. Whatever choices become the two paths are more the result of the desired goal then an actual attempt to understand the meta-problem. Other choices will lead to other results and might achieve different goals.

    I don’t want to get into a political discussion, but I would like to ask those who might so choose to reflect upon the plethora of statements by the elite during any period of economic plunge over the last 200 years ( aka, the Panic of 1819, the depression of 1837 to 1842, the Panic of 1852, the Massive Strikes of the 1870s, the world-wide malaise from 1880 to 1900). It is important not to mis-perceive the minutia of the contemporary crisis.

  36. Beet says:

    The reason why people are so upset despite a gradual recovery starting and the reason why people are so eager to believe the worst, is the horror of the realization that free market capitalism has been proved a failure. The conservatives have lost everything they built up for a quarter century. The entire Reagan mythology, the Milton Friedman mythology, which seemed invincible, has been demolished. The system — not one company, like Chryslter, but the core, the beating heart — had to be rescued by the government.

    A recovery at this stage doesn’t help that mythology any more. A total collapse would be better for conservatism. Partisan gains from a collapse would be secondary. More importantly, a total collapse would allow them to salvage the notion that the market is all powerful and that governments are all impotent.

    Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true. Government, with the power of the force, with control of the gun, has the ultimate power to compel production at full capacity, and the modern world has more capacity than ever before.

  37. IS_LM says:

    That is now our standard — what was done versus doing nothing? That is truly the wrong counter-factual (more on this tomorrow).

    Macroeconomic counterfactuals are interesting, but they require an analytic framework to do any type quantification. My preference is a macroeconometric framework, which has admittedly fallen out of favor. Most central banks now rely on dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DGSE) models. (Even neo-Keynesian Krugman uses a DGSE framework to justify his call for greater fiscal stimulus.) Given a framework, one needs to specify the counterfactual. The more stark is the counterfactual, the looser the analytical framework can be. Blinder and Zandi have a loose framework, so their counterfactual must be stark: what happened (given the bailouts, TARP, ARRA, etc) v. none of those things. Krugman’s framework is highly structural, so he can be looser in his counterfactual: what happened v. more government spending of any kind.

    Because I enjoy this site so much, I look forward to learning what BR sees as the “correct” counterfactual, and, in particular, the framework in which he will quantify the counterfactual outcomes.

  38. DeDude says:

    @DMR; yes if you can’t dismiss the argument you can always dismiss the person. I guess it is actually the only choice if he is right and you are wrong ;-)

    Sort of reminds me of high school

  39. Thor says:

    Agree with DMR – Trolls will usually go away once they realize people refuse to take the bait anymore.

    The obsession with turning any and all topics into political arguments is tiresome.

  40. IS_LM says:

    DGSE = DSGE (doncha know). I will this site had a preview function.

  41. Greg0658 says:

    forgotten fact .. good people will buy what they need/want if/and when they can afford it .. and if they can’t afford it or get it on credit they will do without … less than good people will steal for needs .. salted people will fight for needs and be forgiven by my Gods Son for he understands (so I’m told)

  42. DeDude says:

    @constantnormal;

    I am with you on learning from the facts and doing experiments where possible. But I actually think that is going on to some extend most of the time. If you google “pilot program” with words like mortgage you will find a fair amount of experimentation going on and some of that ends up being adopted into current policy, if and when it has proven itself.

    I am totally with you on health care with respect to learning from states and the rest of the world. But there is no way that we can get a functioning health insurance system without a huge doze of government regulation. This is one area where there is no way to get the kind of symmetric knowledge to all parties that would allow government to just step out of the way. I think the final bill should have been a European system not this mess that we got – however, the political games of the republicans basically forced us into a corner where the choice was “this or nothing”. Unfortunately that is what it always boils down to in our current political mess. A compromise is worked out that can muster 60 Senators behind it (usually a GD mess) and then the choice is between this or nothing (regardless of what the dreamers might say). I think that what passed (with all its imperfections) was a lot better than nothing. I hope that I will live to see this country grow up and understand that the profit motive (market forces) and good affordable health care are about as incompatible as water and oil – but then I am a dreamer at heart.

    Sorry that I misunderstood your remarks about economic experiments. I totally agree that the economic arena is one area where facts have been completely overpowered by ideologically based opinions and politics. As mentioned a few days ago “people start with the conclusion (more money to me) and then work backwards to find information and arguments to support it. As a scientifically trained person I find that absolutely revolting – not just because that approach is asking for disaster, but for its hypocrisy and dishonesty.

  43. Bruman says:

    “Doing nothing” is not really the standard. It’s simply a way to try to counter the claim that the stimulus “didn’t do anything.” This is particularly key for the administration, now that deficit and national debt is much more front-and-center.

    There are plenty of ways to criticize the stimulus program – too much pork barrel spending, not appropriate targeting of small business, etc.. But in an election year, Tim Geithner is trying to point out that all that spending did in fact have observable effects, and that these effects are positive even though our economy is still in the dumps.

    When I would argue with Brazilians criticizing the IMF, I pointed out that it’s a bit like telling the doctor that they are a bad doctor because life was so much better before the leg was amputated. But the whole point is that you don’t do an amputation unless the alternatives are far worse, so our nature is to compare today with life before the crisis, when in fact the appropriate comparison is what our life would look like if 1) we had done nothing, or 2) we had done the best politically feasible alternative.

    Given that we had to do things and get them done quickly, I’m inclined to cut the stimulus guys a fair amount of slack. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, so we can always figure out how we should have done things better.

  44. [...] optimism rubbed some people the wrong way, including The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz, who views the Treasury Secretary’s analysis as avoiding painful realities in a manner informed by [...]

  45. JohnC says:

    I can’t wait for my $64 dollar check. Isn’t that what happens when my government makes $20bn and there are 309m of us?

  46. Beet says:

    @JohnC, no that’s Bush 2000 reasoning: the government is running a surplus, so let’s return it back to the people who rightfully earned it by sending them a check. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Sounds fair. Sounds righteous!

    Only one problem…. forgot that you have to pay off the debt first.

  47. MikeG says:

    That is now our standard — what was done versus doing nothing?

    Nothing is pretty much what the Republicans would have done, judging by their antics in the Senate over the past 18 months.

  48. napster says:

    Yea Bruman, I agree.

  49. napster says:

    @MikeG:

    Very true. The GOBP party of “No” has achieved new heights in obtructionism and parasitical hypocrisy.

  50. [...] that we're singling out Geithner. Barry Ritholtz is right to point out that this op-ed probably met with great approval in the White House, since it gibes perfectly with the Administration's overall messaging. That's what scares me. Their [...]

  51. [...] this month, I discussed a NYT OpEd by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (Welcome to My Job Security). Geithner pointed approvingly to the report released by Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi, advisers to [...]