Maybe if Mick Jagger will sing it. For surely today there is more sympathy for the very devil himself than Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Today Brad Delong was looking for the most scarce thing imaginable: a "sympathetic account of Geithnerism."
Geithner has had few visible advocates in his three years at the helm. What is notable is that he is the only major economic figure who remains in the Obama Administration. Romer is gone, Summers is gone, Jared Bernstein is gone. To be sure this only further antagnonizes his many detractors. Make no mistake, while he has suffered the slings and arrows of the Republican Right-starting with the belaboring of his tax records at the confirmation process (to my mind a trivial matter but in saying this I may be in a minority even among Obama supporters), he has also been the scion of the Left.
Some of the top Geithner haters are Obama Democrats; there remain loyal Obama Democrats they are not Firedoglakers but even they hate Geithner. Indeed they especially do as they explain Obama's policy failures real or imagined by Geithner's untoward influence on the Administration. If it weren't for Geithner we would not have given a blank check to the banks with no oversight, etc. So even among Obama supporters it is not that easy to find those who like Geithner.
Again it's partly who he is and what he represents. He like Bush Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, is a Goldman Sachs alumni and during the bailouts of 2008 he was basically Paulson's second in command as then Presdient of the Ny Fed.
For all this, Delong is able to find some sympathetic accounts of Geithner.
"And yet—whisper it softly—there is good news about the financial system and the roundly loathed bank bailout, the seven-hundred-billion-dollar relief package that Congress approved in October, 2008. During the past ten months, U.S. banks have raised more than a hundred and forty billion dollars from investors and increased the reserves they hold to cover unforeseen losses. While many small banks are still in peril, their larger brethren, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs, are more strongly capitalized than many of their international competitors, and they have repaid virtually all the money they received from taxpayers. Looking ahead, the Treasury Department estimates the ultimate cost of the financial-rescue package at just a hundred and seventeen billion dollars—and much of that related to propping up General Motors and Chrysler. Barring something unexpected, the bailout will end up costing taxpayers less than the savings-and-loan implosion of the early nineteen-nineties. The government could conceivably end up making money."
Bear in mind that this was written in early 2010 when the recovery looked better. This year during the first half the sluggish numbers gave reason to worry of a double dip, though at this point, the second half numbers are giving much more reason for optimism again. The fact that we actually have received most of the TARP back is something that Geithner haters simply ignore. I've talked to Obama supporters who hate Geithner who have simply denied this reality. In a sense Geithner is convenient for Obama however in the the way Hillary was for Bill in the 90s or maybe in a way Cheney and Rove were for Bush in the 2000s: a lightning rod who serves as a repository to all the frustrations of his supporters so they don't have to blame him personally.
Geithner truly has gotten it from all sides of the Left and Right so there were of course those who actually saw him as too tough for the banks: "In fact, some commentators agreed that the Treasury and the Fed were being too tough on banks. (Stock issues dilute existing stockholders and reduce earnings per share.) One of these skeptics was Richard Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Securities, who has been following the financial industry since 1965. He has since changed his mind. “Geithner recognized that the system needed overkill on security and soundness to rebuild the confidence that was lacking,” he said. According to Bove’s calculations, U.S. banks now have more capital as a percentage of assets than in any year since 1935. “He built in that safety and soundness throughout the industry. As time goes on, I’m getting more and more respect for him.
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/03/15/100315fa_fact_cassidy#ixzz1fEpTctmF