StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Are Geithner's Days Numbered?

21 Jan 2010
Posted by Bruce Bartlett

Andrew Leonard thinks so. (See here. Also here.) Geithner's political tone-deafness is becoming a serious liability to Obama. The problem with replacing him, as I have said earlier, is finding someone who is qualified, confirmable and not connected to Wall Street. Given that half the top political appointees at Treaasury are still awaiting Senate confirmation, I think Obama may be stuck with Geithner no matter how low his stock falls. Is there a potential replacement who has paid his taxes, has populist leanings, knows Wall Street but isn't part of it, who wouldn't be filibustered by the Republicans? I'm sure Obama would welcome suggestions.

James K Galbraith? Jon

James K Galbraith?
Jon Corzine?

Those were two names floated earlier, but I guess the right would go completely crazy. By the way, he also would need to look for a somebody to replace Summers. So he's really doing some heavy shopping.


Jamie's a smart guy and a good friend of mine. But his views are well to the left of Obama's--he supported Edwards during the campaign. I can maybe see Jamie on the CEA, but that's only because the CEA doesn't have much influence. Note that Jared Bernstein, who is not nearly as far to the left as Jamie, was exiled to the vice president's staff.

On paper, Corzine is a possible replacement for Geithner, but he carries a lot of baggage. I think he'd have a difficult time getting confirmed. Don't foget that he made all his money at Goldman. That guarantees heavy opposition from the left.

Erskine Bowels? It's been

Erskine Bowels? It's been over a decade since he sold his boutique I-bank, and even then it was based in NC so he's not a "real" Wall Street guy.

Galbraith, slim chance -- can't see an academic.

Corzine . . . . no hope. Obama wants to forget he ever heard the name of Corzine.

I don't believe for a minute the stories that Jamie Dimon is in the mix, but someone of that caliber is needed. Unfortunately for Obama they are also needed in the jobs they have.

I bet Phil Angelides would love it.

Roubini? Blooomberg?

The latter just spent nine figures getting re-elected, but that's a sunk cost, no?

You don't need populist leanings, just a clear view of the situation. And Roubini doesn't have Krugman's baggage--since he hasn't been a target for as long.

Ben Bernanke would probably be a good choice, too. And he's gone as far as he can in his current job.


At this point I have doubt that he can be reconfirmed as Fed chairman, so he certainly has no prayer as Treasury Secretary.

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