It is a shame that President Obama has failed so miserably to appoint a strong and seasoned economic team to take on the biggest problem our nation (and the entire world) faces today - The 2nd Great Depression.
In fact it's a damned shame he hasn't appointed any economic team at all. He chose his general in Tim Geithner. And for the last five weeks, Geithner has fought the war for our future entirely alone
The Associated Press has a detailed analysis out today:
|For five weeks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has battled the worst economic crisis in generations with no key deputies in place. That's made for a rocky debut for the man President Barack Obama put in charge of addressing the financial crisis.|
With an awkward first television appearance, a bank rescue plan that lacked promised specifics and two restructured bailouts that raised taxpayer risk, Geithner has failed to calm financial markets desperate for answers.
Critics say part of the problem is that Geithner is flying solo: Not one of his top 17 deputies has been named, let alone confirmed. And without senior leadership, lower-level Treasury employees can't make decisions or represent the government in crucial conversations with banks and others.
"Everyone would think it's a travesty if the Defense Department didn't have a lot of their people in place, because you're in a crisis fighting a couple of wars," said Tony Fratto, who was a Treasury spokesman under President George W. Bush. "But Tim Geithner is fighting wars on a few fronts himself, and he doesn't have the generals there to help him."
Treasury's staff problems apparently have affected its ability to report to Congress on the massive bailouts it has been doling out.
At a Senate hearing Thursday about failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. — which has received four separate bailouts totaling more than $170 billion — Sen. Chris Dodd said he had asked Treasury for someone to appear, but that no one was available.
"I am not pleased that we don't have someone here from Treasury to explain what their role in this is," Dodd said.
Until Treasury gets some Senate-confirmed leaders, these people can't sign documents or make policy decisions. They can't even sit in their future offices.
Among the harshest critics of Treasury's leadership vacuum is Paul Volcker, an Obama economic adviser and former Federal Reserve chairman who last week called the situation "shameful."
"The secretary of the treasury is sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsible in substantive areas at a time of very severe crisis," Volcker said. "He shouldn't be sitting there alone."
It's not looking any better. Today alone two key nominees withdrew their names from consideration for Treasury posts. And Geithner himself has lost the confidence of Wall Street. Serious financial experts do not want to be associated with this disaster.
But the real problem is that a completely distracted President Obama has left Geithner hung out to dry.
TO MY FELLOW BLOGGERS OVER AT THE HUFFINGTON POST and DAILY KOS: One general with no army is marching into the biggest economic battle in over two hundred years and you "progressive" bloggers and pundits think the biggest problem facing America is Rush Limbaugh?