What went wrong at Treasury? -Indecision

Secretary Geithner and the President set an artificial deadline for developing a plan to deal with toxic assets dragging down the financial sector. Then after pondering the problem for months, Geithner made a radical last minute change in the proposal. Rather than setting a new deadline to go public, since his new plan was undeveloped, he went ahead and held that press conference sans details.

According to several sources involved in the deliberations, Geithner had come to the conclusion that the strategies he and his team had spent weeks working on were too expensive, too complex and too risky for taxpayers. […]

The sharp course change was one of the key reasons why Geithner’s plan — his first major policy initiative as Treasury secretary — landed with such a thud last Tuesday. Lawmakers, investors and analysts expressed dismay over the lack of specifics. Markets tanked, and fresh doubts arose about the hand now steering the country’s financial policy. […]

Meanwhile, the sources said, Obama’s senior economic advisers were hobbled in crafting the plan by a shortage of personnel. To date, the president has not nominated any assistant secretaries or undersecretaries at the Treasury, and the handful of mid-level staffers who have started work were still finding their offices and getting their building passes and BlackBerrys.

Yes, we know how dependent the Obamatons are on their BlackBerries. So they spent weeks working on a plan without determining its feasibility and without consulting with the industry. The Secretary had a last-minute crisis of confidence and then…what? Too proud to tell the President he needs more time to develop a rescue plan? Too wedded to his artificial deadline? These decisions have real-world consequences now.

I can see why Geithner was the only man for the job. /sarc


~ by Gabriel Malor on February 17, 2009.

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