Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Tim Geithner Retrospective

Every time I see Tim Geithner I can't help but think of Billy Crudup who played Geithner in "To Big To Fail" about the financial crisis. That's weird and I realize that, but Billy Crudup is "The Watch" is way weirder.

Regardless, Friday is Geithner's last day at Treasury is tomorrow and to that end the Associated Press has a round up of some of the most contentious policies Geithner inherited, implemented, and supported during his tenure. It's definitely worth a read and I would note two things:

1) This is a Treasury Secretary that faced unprecedented challenges before he was on the job and while he was on the job. Certainly quibble with the man's performance, but I don't see how he can't be considered a great Treasury Secretary. It's impossible to prove the counter-factual, but things could have been far worse.

2) The two of the three most derided of the bailouts, TARP and AIG, have shown about 20% returns past the original amount. Plus we didn't crash our entire financial system, so bonus! There's a very serious argument to be made regarding banks, implicit government guarantees, and moral hazard, but hard to argue with making money while saving the financial system.

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