geithner obama

Banks, at Least, Had a Friend in Geithner

TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER left the Treasury Department last week after four years as secretary. So how did he do?

As financial adviser to the president in the tumultuous years immediately after the credit crisis, Mr. Geithner had immense sway over the government’s approach to all things economic. For everyday Americans, his major tasks included responding to the home foreclosure mess, unwinding federal bailouts under the Troubled Asset Relief Program and tackling the problem of financial institutions that are too big to manage and too interconnected for America’s good.

But in scanning these agenda items, a pattern of winners and losers emerges. Let’s just say the financial institutions that dominate the United States were rarely on the losing end in the Geithner years.

I wanted to speak with Mr. Geithner to allow him to respond to his critics and to get his take on his years in the job. A spokeswoman said he was on vacation and unavailable.

So I turned to the Treasury’s Web site, where I found a list of 75 facts about Mr. Geithner’s tenure. Among other things, I learned that on his watch the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed its two biggest penalties against banks for money-laundering and that the Treasury Department cracked down on offshore tax evasion. I also found he has logged more than 600,000 miles on international trips, played basketball in China and cricket in India, and has his signature on $17 billion of United States currency.

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