I wrote earlier that I believe the Obama Administration’s wanton destruction of our economy was the result of simple inexperience or incompetence rather than malice. Tomorrow’s Sydney Morning Herald seems to support that conclusion:
When Barack Obama announced his champion to rescue the world from economic ruin, it was the first time most Americans had ever heard the name Tim Geithner.
The initial impression was good. The stockmarket surged and the pundits swooned. “Exactly a decade ago, he was Uncle Sam’s golden-boy emissary sent into the stormy centre of what was then the world’s worst financial crisis [the Asian crisis],” reported The New York Post.
The paper gushed: “Just 36 at the time, he’d been raised in Asia and knew the culture so intimately he scored successes and won confidences that other diplomats couldn’t match. Geithner earned widespread plaudits for pulling together quarrelling Asian finance ministers into a $US200 billion rescue of their economies.”
“A fantastic choice,” said a Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi analyst, Chris Rupkey, as the Dow rose by nearly 6 per cent. Even one of Obama’s political rivals, the hard-bitten Republican senator Richard Shelby, agreed Geithner was “up to the challenge”.
If anyone in the US media had thought to ask a former Australian prime minister for his assessment, they would have heard a different view. And they would not have been so surprised at Geithner’s performance since.
In a speech to a closed gathering at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on Thursday, Paul Keating gave a starkly different account of Geithner’s record in handling the Asian crisis: “Tim Geithner was the Treasury line officer who wrote the IMF [International Monetary Fund] program for Indonesia in 1997-98, which was to apply current account solutions to a capital account crisis.”
In other words, Geithner fundamentally misdiagnosed the problem. And his misdiagnosis led to a dreadfully wrong prescription.
Go read the whole thing… and then ask yourself is Tim Geithner really the right man for the job? We were told he was “uniquely qualified” to lead the nation out of economic collapse, and that he should be confirmed despite his tax troubles because no other candidate could possibly replace him… Heh!
So far all he’s done is fiddled while the stock market has crashed and unemployment has climbed to 8.1 percent.
H/T: Ed Morrissey.