Two sides of the bank bailout story

If you happened to catch Former Treasury Secretary and Obama financial adviser Tim Geithner on Charlie Rose last night, you may have been impressed by his carefully constructed version of events. He is an articulate, though in my view smarmy, speaker and his revisionist take on what mistakes he made personally, was a particular masterpiece of delusion as seen here in this clip from last night. Here is a direct video link.

Glaringly absent from this mockery of mea cupla is any acceptance of his personal complicity in aiding and abetting the financial crisis as the head of the NY Federal Reserve during the incendiary investment-banks-run-wild period from 2003 to 2009. Mr. Geithner has admitted in Congressional testimony that he never saw himself as a regulator of the banks as head of the NY Fed. This is no doubt a convenient absolution to his way of thinking, but in reality it was a major failure of key duties. If Geithner and others in important positions of oversight and public trust had done their job diligently, the financial crisis would never have hit “like a firestorm”, as he has put it.

When it did, he then helped design a precedent that funneled trillions of public funds into investment banks without any punitive terms or penalties over the past 6 years. Mr Geithner says he is very proud and confident in his decisions. Must be nice to live in a world where you ignore the role you played in starting a firestorm and then take victory laps for spreading it about. In reality, Geithner is one of several key actors who have ensured that necessary financial reforms were delayed and the next wave of the financial crisis lies yet ahead.

Former TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky (who dared to criticize the merit and method behind Geithner and Paulson’s Bank handouts under TARP) offers a less complimentary take on Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s handling of the financial crisis in this video clip.

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