Sunday, March 22, 2009

Help, I Need Somebody

I wonder if he picks up his own phone, empties the trash and makes copies of vital documents. With the economy holding on by the barest of threads, one would anticipate that the full force of our brainpower would be huddled together discussing stratagies and solutions. Yet, Tim Geithner is having a hard time finding someone to keep him company.

On February 24, 2009, The Business Insider stated that "the Treasury Department still has numerous job vacancies that need to be filled, leaving Secretary Geithner working on his own". Quoting Darrell West, head of government studies at the Brookings Institute, "Essentially Geithner is sitting over there by himself and does not have a staff".

Three weeks later, H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of the New York law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell withdrew his name from consideration for deputy Treasury Secretary. As reported by First Read on March 13, this was the fourth person in recent weeks to disappear from public view before the vetting process was completed.

On today's Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw discussed possible reasons for this growing dilemma.He stated that the 40 page list of questions that one must fill out to assure purity of heart and mind, has now grown to 60 pages. In addition, Brokaw mentioned that many of those who might otherwise be willing to serve do not want to endure AIG like recriminations for having multiple homes or large bank accounts, and would rather remain away from the spotlight and in the private sector.

Further, Politico points out that "Having campaigned on a promise that lobbyists won't run his White House, President Barack Obama is discovering that what may make for a good sound bite on the campaign trail can complicate governing.... because of a ban on individuals from agencies that they have lobbied in the past 2 years" the pool of potential appointees is limited.

The result of these combined forces is to leave the Secretary of Treasury an island unto himself. This is bad business for him and for us and requires immediate attention and remediation. Do whatever is necessary to get the help to Geithner that he needs and do it now. We all know there is not a minute to waste.

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