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Thread: Barack Obama introduces his economic team

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default Barack Obama introduces his economic team

    (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama said Monday that the country is facing an "economic crisis of historic proportions," and unveiled the team he has chosen to help get the economy back on track.
    Obama said he sought leaders who share his fundamental belief that "we cannot have a thriving Wall Street without a thriving Main Street."
    Obama has tapped New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner as treasury secretary and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as chief of the National Economic Council.
    Geithner helped manage Wall Street's financial meltdown earlier this year, overseeing the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase, the bailout of AIG and the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He was appointed as the New York Federal Reserve president in November 2003.
    Summers served as treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. He was the chief economist of the World Bank from 1991 through 1993. Prior to his career in government, Summers taught economics at Harvard.
    University of California-Berkeley economics professor Christina Romer has been chosen to be the chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
    The Council of Economic Advisers is a group of economists --including three who are appointed by the president and need Senate confirmation -- that advise the president on economic policy.
    Obama also announced Melody Barnes as director of the Domestic Policy Council and Heather Higginbottom as deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council.
    Obama's remarks came just hours after the federal government announced a massive rescue package for Citigroup -- which President Bush said he'd spoken with Obama about before it was announced.
    Obama on Saturday offered an outline of his economic recovery plan to create 2.5 million jobs by 2011, saying American workers will rebuild the nation's roads and bridges, modernize its schools and create more sources of alternative energy. Watch Obama outline his economic plan »
    Details of the plan are still being worked out by his economic team, Obama said, but he hopes to sign the two-year, nationwide plan shortly after taking office January 20.
    The president-elect said Monday that he has asked his newly formed economic team to develop recommendations for his plan and to consult with Congress, the current administration and the Federal Reserve on immediate economic developments over the next two months.
    During the presidential campaign, Obama proposed a $175 billion stimulus package over a two-year period, but some of his economic advisers have said recently that the package would need to be much larger.
    Obama on Monday declined to speculate about how large the stimulus package would need to be, saying it's important for his economic team to come back with a recommendation.
    "We have to make sure that the stimulus is significant enough that it really gives a jolt to the economy," he said. "We are going to do what's required to jolt this economy back into shape," he said.
    Also this weekend, sources told CNN that Obama is expected to pick New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as secretary of commerce.
    Obama aides also have told CNN that Obama is "on track" to nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state after Thanksgiving.
    Obama's picks mean that at least three former rivals from the Democratic presidential primaries will be in senior posts in the Obama administration: Richardson, Clinton and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Obama's cabinet choices
    The president-elect also met behind closed doors with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to a U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the talks.
    The meeting, which took place in Chicago on Friday, was a "get acquainted session," the official said.
    President Bush personally approved the meeting, and it was also "encouraged" by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the official said. The approval was not required, but was given because of the sensitivity of having a sitting president's advisers giving advice to a president not yet in office.
    The meeting came as Mullen is reviewing a formal "request for forces" or RFF from commanders in the field for 15,000 to 20,000 additional troops to send to Afghanistan during the opening months of the Obama administration. The president-elect has spoken about his desire to find Osama bin Laden.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Obama spoke to him by phone Saturday and assured him that the United States would send more aid and pay more attention to his war-torn country, according to Karzai's office, but Obama aides declined to confirm that the call had included specific promises.
    Obama names his economic team
    It seems like Obama's got a smart team in place. Considering how bad the economy is predicted to get next year they've all got their work cut out for them.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Geithner helped manage Wall Street's financial meltdown earlier this year, overseeing the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase, the bailout of AIG and the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
    um... out of curiosity, where was he when this thing was looming in the distance?
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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    um... out of curiosity, where was he when this thing was looming in the distance?
    He was warning that this could happen. He gave a speech in 2006 in which he noted that while changes in the market made it more flexible and allowed it to absorb smaller events, those same changes would amplify the effects and complicate the management of larger shocks (just like what we're seeing now).
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    here's your answer Grimm....It's possible that some history is being re-written in regard to Geithner and the economic collapse....


    Where Was Geithner in Turmoil?


    President-elect Barack Obama unveiled on Monday an economic team with deep experience handling economic crises. But does the man at the center of this star-studded cast, Timothy F. Geithner, the nominee for Treasury secretary, have what is needed to take the nation in a new financial direction?

    That is what a number of Wall Street chieftains are quietly asking, even after the stock market surged with relief after his nomination.

    One reason Mr. Obama gave for nominating Mr. Geithner was his “unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency.” More important, he suggested, “Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today’s markets — and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them.”

    Mr. Geithner is clearly a 47-year-old wonder boy.

    A graduate of Dartmouth, he has a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, did a turn with Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm, a stint in the Clinton administration and, for the last five years, has been the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    He will effectively lead the team Mr. Obama has chosen to mend a crippled economy. That’s important because they won’t just be debating economic theory — they will be making deals Wall Street-style, negotiating billion-dollar bailouts and restructuring entire industries on behalf of their client, the taxpayers.

    But Mr. Geithner’s involvement in several ultimately ill-fated efforts to buttress the American financial system is the very reason some Wall Street C.E.O.’s — a number of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of piquing the man who regulates them — question whether he’s up to the challenge.

    “We have only two things to say about Tim Geithner, who we do not know: A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers,” said Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics. “Throw in the Bear Stearns/Maiden Lane fiasco for good measure,” he said.

    “All of these ‘rescues’ are a disaster for the taxpayer, for the financial markets and also for the Federal Reserve System as an organization. Geithner, in our view, deserves retirement, not promotion.”

    Ouch.

    “He was in the room at every turn of the crisis,” said another executive who participated in several such confidential meetings with Mr. Geithner. “You can look at that both ways.”

    While Henry M. Paulson Jr., the current Treasury secretary, has taken a drubbing for the changeable nature of the government’s efforts to bolster the financial industry — some of which clearly contradicted each other — Mr. Geithner has managed, for the most part, to remain unscathed. He’s been widely praised as a bright, articulate out-of-the box thinker who is a bailout expert, to the extent anyone can truly be an expert at fast-changing emergencies.

    Behind the scenes, Mr. Geithner was the point person for weeks of sleep-deprived Bailout Weekends. It was Mr. Geithner, not Mr. Paulson, for example, who put together the original rescue plan for the American International Group.

    And, of course, Mr. Geithner also oversaw and regulated an entire industry whose decline has delivered a further blow to an already weakened American economy. Under his watch, some of the biggest institutions that were the responsibility of the New York Fed — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and most recently, Citigroup — faltered. While he was one of the first regulators to smartly articulate the potential for an impending disaster, a number of observers question whether he went far enough to stop the calamity.

    Perhaps what has most people on Wall Street stirring is Mr. Geithner’s role in the fall of Lehman. At the time of its bankruptcy, he, along with Mr. Paulson, appeared to be the most vocal in supporting the government’s refusal to bail out the firm, according to people involved in various meetings. With hindsight, many in the financial industry blame a deepening of the global financial crisis on the government’s decision to let Lehman crumble.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there have been moves afoot in recent weeks by some in the New York Fed and Obama team to put distance between Mr. Paulson and Mr. Geithner, whose salary was $398,200 last year and who will take a pay cut to $191,300 in his new role.

    These include the suggestion that Mr. Geithner was not in league with Mr. Paulson over Lehman; that Mr. Geithner pressed to save the firm from bankruptcy; that he was a lone voice on the subject and was overruled by Mr. Paulson and Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, on this issue.

    The validity of this new claim is hard to verify. The New York Fed declined to comment.

    Many executives suggest it may be a bit of revisionist history. “If that’s true, he did a good job of hiding it,” said one executive who spent the weekend at the New York Federal Reserve the weekend of Lehman’s fall.

    Mr. Paulson has only praise for Mr. Geithner. “I have the highest regard for Tim — his judgment and creativity have been critical to designing and implementing the necessary actions we’ve taken to protect and strengthen our financial system,” he said.

    Let’s hope he’s right.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/business/25sorkin.html?_r=1&dbk
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    yeaaah,. but look at who's saying it, the very people who's shitty investment strategies bankrupted their own companies, and are now whining that they aren't getting enough corporate communist handouts
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    ^^ the opinions, yes.

    But the facts are still facts, he was involved in the bailouts- which they are trying to downplay now, he was head of the NY Fed while this was happening in NY- the person who was in charge of regulating - he was supposed to be watching.

    we'll all just have to wait and see.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    In The Nation today on Geithner:

    Past and Future

    A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward. The president-elect's lineup for key governing positions has opted for continuity, not change. Virtually all of his leading appointments are restoring the Clinton presidency, only without Mr. Bill. In some important ways, Obama's selections seem designed to sustain the failing policies of George W. Bush.

    This is not the last word and things are changing rapidly. But Obama's choices have begun to define him. His victory, it appears, was a triumph for the cautious center-right politics that has described the Democratic party for several decades. Those of us who expected more were duped, not so much by Obama but by our own wishful thinking.

    Let us stipulate that these are all honorable people, smart and experienced veterans of Washington combat. But they represent the Democratic party that mainly sees itself as managerial--making government work better. The long era of conservative dominance has taught them to keep their distance from big reform ideas that promise fundamental change of the system. Their operating style is incremental and cautiously practical. They conscientiously avoid (or actively block) propositions that sound too liberal or radical. Alas, Obama is coming to power at a critical moment when incrementalism is irrelevant. The system is in collapse. Financial chaos won't wait for patient deliberations.

    Events have confronted Obama with a fearful symmetry between past and present, illustrated by his choice of economic advisers. On Friday, we learned that Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve, would become his new treasury secretary and Larry Summers, who held the same position in the Clinton administration, would be the White House overseer of economic policy. On Monday, Geithner was busy executing the government's massive rescue of Citicorp--the very banking behemoth that Geithner and Summers helped to create back in the Clinton years, along with Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, Clinton's economics guru. Now Rubin is himself a Citicorp executive and his bank is now being saved by his old protégé (Geithner) with the taxpayers' money.

    The connections go way beyond irony. They raise very serious questions about where the new president intends to lead and whether he has the nerve to break from the weak and haphazard strategy of the Bush administration. It has dumped piles of public money on the largest financial institutions and demanded little or nothing in return, hoping for the best. Geithner has been a central player in the deal-making, from Bear Stearns to AIG to Citi. The strategy has not only failed, it has arguably made things worse as savvy market players saw through the contradictions and rushed out to dump more bank stocks.

    On Wall Street, Geithner is known as a highly competent technocrat, well versed in the financial complexities. But he has also been seen as a weak and compliant regulator of Wall Street firms, someone who did not seem the storm coming. Occasionally, Geithner would anguish publicly about the accumulating time bombs like credit derivatives and urge bankers to do something, but he did not use his supervisory powers to compel action. In bailout negotiations with Wall Street titans, Geithner and the Federal Reserve were spun around like a top more than once.

    No wonder the stock markets rallied explosively when they heard Geithner would be their new boss in Washington. They think he is their guy. Summers may be a brilliant economist--everyone says so--but he, too, is a club member in good standing and now manages a huge hedge fund while he advises Obama. The president-elect needs to get a "second opinion"--someone from outside the financial club who can explain the flaws in the rescue strategy preached by Bush's treasury secretary Henry Paulson and Tim Geithner at the New York Fed.

    Their approach has clearly been designed to preserve what's left of the Wall Street establishment and maintain the supremacy of the largest financial firms while the taxpayers pick up their losses. That model has failed and too many smart people know why. The bailouts have been too little too late and aimed at an impossible objective--persuading private capital investors to believe in the phony assurances proffered by the bankers. AIG, the insurance giant taken over by the feds, has turned into a bloody hemorrhage. Citigroup will be another and may soon be joined by other major banks demanding the same favorable terms. Wasting more public money on insolvent mastodons is the least of it. The real scandal is it doesn't work. It can't work because the black hole is too large even for Washington to fill. Government should take over the failing institutions or force them into bankruptcy, break them up and sell them off or mercifully relieve everyone, including the taxpayers.

    Stock markets rallied again with the salvage of Citigroup. But not everyone in Wall Street was cheering. Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics, the bank monitoring firm that has repeatedly been right about the banks when the government officials were wrong, had harsh words for the deal. "Pretending that Citi is going to be a going concern I think is silly," Whalen said. "We should be thinking about breaking this company up and redistributing the assets into stronger hands."

    Will Timothy Geithner or Larry Summers advise the next president to face reality and throw in the towel? One hopes so, because Whalen warns: "By embracing Geithner, President-elect Obama is endorsing the ill-advised scheme to support AIG directed by Hank Paulson et al at Goldman Sachs and executed by Tim Geithner.... This scheme to stay AIG's resolution cannot possibly work and, when it does collapse, Barack Obama and his administration will wear the blame."

    Barack Obama is too smart and perceptive to let this happen to his yet-unborn presidency. Maybe he should find out what Whalen knows.

    Past and Future
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    You know what's interesting, is that Democrats always hold the knife to their guy and pick apart every decision, which is good. You don't see that on the Rethug side. They just blindly accept it as Gods will or something.

    It's just too bad the knife doesn't actually hold any threat for the Dem leadership.
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    Don't judge; this is just a team of people not actual policy!

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    Last edited by Just Kill Me; November 26th, 2008 at 04:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    You know what's interesting, is that Democrats always hold the knife to their guy and pick apart every decision, which is good. You don't see that on the Rethug side. They just blindly accept it as Gods will or something.

    It's just too bad the knife doesn't actually hold any threat for the Dem leadership.

    that's the main difference. it's also how we shoot ourselves in the foot because we never get out of the barn sometimes for the nit-pickery, and circular fire-squadding. Rethugs pull on their brown shirts and black boots and proudly gooSSe-step in unison as soon as they get their marching orders.

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