The former treasury secretary's next move is intended to preserve his dignity. It won't.
The former Treasury Secretary's corrosive career move
Learning power politics from Gene Sperling
Learning the art of power politics from one of the most inexhaustible—and exhausting—men in Washington.
Just what did he know about AIG and Citigroup. Plus: What about those F-Bombs?
Tim Geithner was a good hire. But Obama erred by keeping him too long. Three-and-a-half years too long.
Two years ago I was interviewing Tim Geithner when he started ticking off the ways he was poorly suited to being Treasury secretary late in Obama’s first term. Above all, he said, was the fact that the job was increasingly focused on questions of values and ideology—how the government should spend its scarce resources, who should get the shaft and who should pick up the tab—whereas Geithner saw himself as a financial technocrat. “A huge part of the economic challenge the president faces on this stuff is that it’s going to be at the center of the political debate,” he told me.
It’s hard to overstate liberals’ sense of relief that Obama is finally negotiating like someone who’s encountered a deck of cards once or twice in his life. It wasn’t just the hard-ass opening bid he made last week—$1.6 trillion in revenue, higher tax rates for the top two percent, $50 billion in infrastructure, extended unemployment insurance, money for mortgage modifications… all in exchange for about $600 billion in spending cuts.