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Thread: Who do you trust to pick the next Treasury Secretary?

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Question Who do you trust to pick the next Treasury Secretary?

    Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 15:30 PDT
    Who do you trust to pick the next Treasury Secretary?

    As we digest the news that John McCain, who has missed more votes in Congress over the last two years than any other Senator, is suspending his campaign and wants to duck Friday's debate, in order to offer his help crafting a bailout plan, now is as good a time as any to mull over what could be one of the first significant early tests for the next President. Who would Obama or McCain pick for the job of Treasury Secretary?

    If the current crisis tells us anything, it is that the job of Treasury Secretary is of preeminent importance -- especially if Congress grants Paulson anything like the discretionary fiscal power he is asking for. Whether you think Paulson is just another Wall Street fat cat grabbing goodies for his pals, or is actually motivated by a concern over the state of the economy, I think we should all be breathing a sigh of relief that neither of his predecessors, John Snow or Paul O'Neill, were in charge of grappling the current crisis. A recent New York Times story exploring possible choices for the job noted that O'Neill and Snow were two of "the least regarded Treasury secretaries of recent decades." The Times was being polite.

    My interest is not in handicapping who will get the job -- the Times story does a good job of that, as does economist Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser earlier today. What interests me is that both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have speculated that Tim Geithner, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and a veteran of the Clinton Administration Treasury Department, is high on the list of likely Democratic prospects. Both papers observe that Geithner has been on the front lines of dealing with the current crisis.

    But neither paper notes what to me is his greatest qualification -- his early warning about the potential for exactly the kind of crisis we are currently enduring. On Sept. 15, 2006, Timothy Geithner gave a speech on hedge fund and derivatives regulation.

    As I wrote at the time:
    Geithner acknowledges that the explosion, over the past 10 years, of hedge fund trading in exotic financial instruments may well have contributed to the general resilience that the U.S. (and global) financial system has demonstrated in response to external shocks since the Asian financial crisis of the late '90s. And yet he surmises at the same time that the very flexibility of the current system may actually make it more vulnerable to a really, really big shock.

    Financial panics start when traders and bankers who call in loans or sell off their holdings at the first sign of trouble set off a cascading effect in which everybody else follows their example and the system implodes under the strain. Paradoxically, Geithner appeared to be saying, the more flexible the system, the more quickly such a cascade could happen, and the harder it could be to stop.
    The same factors that may have reduced the probability of future systemic events, however, may amplify the damage caused by and complicate the management of very severe financial shocks. The changes that have reduced the vulnerability of the system to smaller shocks may have increased the severity of the large ones.
    That's a subtle argument, and we're not going to know whether it holds water until the flood is already 5 feet high and rising.
    Imagine, a man with the foresight to worry about how unregulated credit derivatives could increase the chances of systemic failure. Imagine having a President who might pick such a person as Treasury Secretary.

    Or, conversely, imagine the surprises a John McCain could deliver. Maybe he'd pick a Robert Zoellick (a Goldman alum who is currently president of the World Bank) or a John Thain, (who just sold Merrill Lynch to the Bank of America.) Wall Street would likely not be upset at either choice. Or maybe he'd pick someone completely out of left field. As McCain demonstrates for us on daily basis, there's really no telling what surprises are up his sleeve.

    ― Andrew Leonard

    Who do you trust to pick the next Treasury Secretary? - How the World Works - Salon.com

  2. #2
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    He could pick me.

    I was once the treasurer of my bowling league.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brookie View Post
    He could pick me.

    I was once the treasurer of my bowling league.
    I dunno. Can you see Russia from your house?
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    The person definitely has to be a POW!

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ana-mish-ana View Post
    The person definitely has to be a POW!
    Now see-that is sexist. Too few women get to be POWs. How about: must be married twice,having left the first spouse after she/he is diagnosed with cancer? Or serial adulterer ? Now THAT would fit both.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    I've played Monopoly, so I know about both money and real estate. Pick me!

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkur View Post
    I've played Monopoly, so I know about both money and real estate. Pick me!
    I like this solid credential. But are you now or were you ever treasurer of you bowing league?
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I like this solid credential. But are you now or were you ever treasurer of you bowing league?
    No, but during Monopoly, I won a prize in a beauty contest!!

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Judging my McCain's track record he'd probably pick Kathie Lee Gifford to be the next Treasury Secretary.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkur View Post
    No, but during Monopoly, I won a prize in a beauty contest!!
    That counts. That is a heavy duty credential. Did you win a tiara?
    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Judging my McCain's track record he'd probably pick Kathie Lee Gifford to be the next Treasury Secretary.
    Guess that beats out Pamela Anderson. But I hear she is good with money. Or was it honey?
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    That counts. That is a heavy duty credential. Did you win a tiara?

    Guess that beats out Pamela Anderson. But I hear she is good with money. Or was it honey?
    McCain wouldn't pick Pam. He wants his political picks to at least 'look' intelligent...until they open their mouths.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    McCain wouldn't pick Pam. He wants his political picks to at least 'look' intelligent...until they open their mouths.
    Exept for the larger boobage,Cindy favors her a great deal.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    Exept for the larger boobage,Cindy favors her a great deal.
    Well, they both like prescription drugs.

  14. #14
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Well, they both like prescription drugs.
    See? That a comfort zone for him. Look out.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  15. #15
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    See? That a comfort zone for him. Look out.
    I think meds are a BIG comfort zone for McCain. His behavior the last few days means he's off of them.

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