Normally I’d say the calls for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s resignation were just hot air but given the recent disclosures about his role in AIG bailout while President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, I suspect this is more than just normal political blustering:
Snowballing frustration about the economy burst into a political fracas Thursday, with several lawmakers calling on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to resign over angst about unemployment and Wall Street bailouts.
The criticism came largely from House Republicans, who have long been critics of the Treasury secretary. Mr. Geithner’s job status doesn’t appear to be in serious jeopardy and several Democrats at a congressional hearing leapt to his defense.
But joining the anti-Geithner chorus in increasing numbers are more liberal Democrats who say the White House’s economic policies haven’t done enough to boost job growth. The degree of venom aimed at Mr. Geithner is also unusual, as was his willingness to fire back.
During a Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) told Mr. Geithner “the public has lost all confidence in your ability to do the job.”
Mr. Geithner traded barbs with the Republicans, occasionally raising his voice to the point of shouting. “What I can’t take responsibility is for the legacy of crises you’ve bequeathed this country,” he told Mr. Brady.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) a vocal liberal who called on Mr. Geithner to resign this week, said in an interview that the Treasury secretary’s policies are too closely geared to Wall Street. “Quite frankly, all the gambling on Wall Street is doing nothing to put people back to work in America and rebuild our economy,” he said.
I’m not sure the President can save Sec. Geithner this time, frankly given his tax troubles he never should have never been confirmed as Treasury Secretary in the first place, but that’s an aside. What’s happening here is the effects of 10.2 percent unemployment and the election results in New Jersey and Virginia are starting to take hold.
Democrat’s on Capitol Hill are starting to worry about the 2010 mid-terms and are trying distance themselves from the White House’s economic policies. Second Republican’s are no longer scared of the White House… At least not so far as the economy is concerned. If they were they wouldn’t be calling for Sec. Geithner’s resignation, particularly to his face.
You can read the full the Special Inspector General’s report on on the AIG bailout Special Inspector General here (PDF).