Thursday, January 22, 2009

If Geithner thwarts open government, does Obama really support transparency?

In the past, I've spoken favorably of our new President. He was an advocate of good government. He wanted transparency and accountability.

And as he takes office, he continues talking the talk. See his reinvented

Also see today's NYTimes piece by Brian Knowlton:

President Obama moved quickly on Wednesday to lay some touchstones for the “more responsible, more accountable government” he has promised, ordering a salary freeze for senior White House staff, tightening rules on lobbyists and establishing what he said was a new standard of greater government openness.

I applaud President Obama for his efforts.

But I have one question for you Mr. President.

Have you mentioned any of this transparency stuff to your Treasury Secretary-designate, central planner central banker Timothy Geithner?

I see this January 12 headline in Bloomberg News:

FOX Business Network Sues the Federal Reserve over Non-Compliance with Freedom of Information Act Requests

And I'm reminded of some of my recent posts (such as here, here, here and here) in which I mentioned news agencies had filed FOI requests from The Fed* and / or The Treasury.**

Unfortunately for the journalists, they were asking Tim Geithner for information. And this guy apparently believes that he's the CIA... and everything that happens on his watch deals with "sources and methods" and thus cannot be revealed.

And ignoring how he pulled a Rowland and "forgot" to pay half his taxes even after the IRS came knocking...

Just today during his confirmation hearing... as live-blogged by the NYTimes:

1:20 p.m. TARP strategy: There is a refrain running through the questions for Mr. Geithner, and it has to do with the focus of the government’s bailout plan. That question, already asked several times in various forms, is this: Should the bailout program return to its originally stated plan of buying up toxic mortgage assets, or continue to focus on investing directly in banks?

And what's the response from our most-Transparent-Treasurer-ever?

Mr. Geithner isn’t giving a direct answer, basically saying that he and his team will look at both approaches, as well as others, and take the best of the bunch.

Mr. Geithner isn’t giving a direct answer


But even worse is that this guy not only has been involved in the TARP from the very beginning... he's about to be given $350 billion of taxpayer-funded Monopoly money... and he can't give a straight answer.

Obama can talk all he wants about transparency and accountability. He ran a campaign on "Bush's failed economic policies." Yet not only is Obama continuing Bush's failed monetary policy of fiat money, he's worsening* Bush's failed fiscal policy of deficit spending.

If Geithner is as averse to open government as his record shows, then either he'll need to go... or President Obama will need to acknowledge he's not really a fan of open government.

Tim White

* Geithner is currently the head of The Fed's New York branch - the heart of the central bank
** Geithner likely soon-to-be employer
* worsening by Obama's own standard of opposing deficit spending


Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Geithner didn't pay his taxes for four years. But that was just an "oversight", Obama and Geithner assure us.

Once may be an oversight. Not paying your taxes four years, even after being sent notice by the IRS, is a deliberate pattern of evasion and deceipt. So much for honesty and transparency from this new administration.

Anonymous said...

The last poster is so negative. We need to be positive. Obama wants to move beyond the old arguments of politics and unite us. Stop criticising.

Anonymous said...

"Obama wants to move beyond the old arguments of politics and unite us. Stop citicising."

They stopped criticising Bush and you can see how good that worked out.

If Obama is to maintain our trust in him and his administration, then he has to get rid of people who have done things that make them appear untrustworthy.

Geithner can not be trusted. If he is so smart, then he knew he wasn't paying his taxes and just didn't care. Only little people pay taxes.

If Obama doesn't get rid of him now and any other screwups, these people will be lodestones around Obama's neck and the American people will be to ones that get hust the most.

Dump the cheater.

Anonymous said...

The day we “move beyond” arguments in politics is the day we no longer have a democracy. The day we stop criticizing dishonesty in government is the day we are not capable of self-government.

“Obama wants to move beyond old arguments … and unite us” sounds like a recipe for dictatorship. Remember, all dictators first presented themselves as benevolent saviors. But no politician, not even Obama, is the Christ.

Anonymous said...

If Tim Geitner is the answer, we are obviously asking the wrong question

Anonymous said...

Some are saying we must have Geithner. Didn't we hear the same about Greenspan and how brilliant he was, yet you can blame Greenspan for mush of today's mess.

Let's get a person we can trust.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm confused but freezing the salaries for one year for people who were only hired a few days ago doesn't seem like much savings to me. How often would one expect to get a raise in his or her first year on the job?

sticker said...