Geithner Seeks More Power to Ruin Our Economy

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wants a “vast expansion” of his power over the financial system. This is the same guy whose bungled $170 billion AIG bailout gave billions of dollars to wealthy AIG clients like Goldman Sachs, which admits it neither needed nor expected the money it got from taxpayers.

Back in the 1990’s, Geithner, working with the IMF, destroyed Indonesia’s economy, by prescribing disastrous economic policies. The result was massive increases in child malnutrition, riots, and mushrooming poverty, in a major country that once boasted annual economic growth rates of 7 percent. Australia’s long-time Prime Minister Paul Keating has chronicled Geithner’s central role in this disaster repeatedly, but to no avail (Keating was the leader of his country’s Labor Party, so he’s not exactly a doctrinaire conservative. And his rule was marked by economic growth.).

Now, Geithner wants more regulatory power in his own hands, even though unregulated financial institutions (like hedge funds) are doing better than regulated ones, so much so that unregulated financial institutions are being relied upon to bail out regulated financial institutions in Geithner’s toxic-asset buy-up program!

Geithner sent the dollar tumbling yesterday by foolishly suggesting that the dollar might be losing its role as the world’s reserve currency. The head of the European Union yesterday called the Obama Administration’s policy of unprecedentedly massive deficit spending the “road to hell.” The prominent liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs says that the Administration’s toxic-asset buy-up program will “rob the taxpayer” by “buying up toxic assets from the banks at far above their market value.”

Historian and engineer Clayton Cramer has a fascinating analysis of how the mortgage crisis was spawned by regulations adopted under the Community Reinvestment Act, and special interest groups that learned how to game those regulations, like ACORN (a group Obama long worked with). ACORN, a beneficiary of the stimulus package, helped spawn the mortgage crisis by promoting “liar loans.” It has also engaged in extensive financial fraud and vote fraud. The Obama Administration has chosen ACORN to help conduct the 2010 census, which will be used to reallocate seats in Congress.

Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel received $320,000 while asleep at the switch as a director of the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, a fraud-ridden GSE that helped spawn the mortgage crisis and ended up being bailed out by taxpayers at a cost of over $100 billion.

James Piereson has insightful comments about Geithner’s demand for new regulatory powers (and unnecessary bailouts) here. He also notes that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been essentially refighting the last war, applying remedies that might have been helpful in the Great Depression but are positively harmful now.

Perhaps Bernanke’s most controversial policy has been to print vast sums of money to buy up government bonds, under the rubric of “quantitative easing.” Congressman Ron Paul says this policy, and the massive bailouts, are an inflationary disaster, and that it would have been better for the government to do what it did in response to the sharp 1921 recession — nothing. “He cites the mini-depression of 1921, which lasted just a year largely because insolvent companies were allowed to fail. ‘No one remembers that one. They’ll remember this one, because it will last'” much longer, because the “government just won’t allow the correction the economy needs.”

The 1921 recession speedily ended, without any bailouts or government intervention, although it started out as a very nasty recession, with suffering much worse than in the early days of the Great Depression. The 1921 recession was followed by an economic boom, including 6 percent annual growth rates in the 1920s.

The Obama administration has never explained why such vast powers should be bestowed on Geithner, who cheated on his taxes, lacks expertise in economics, and receives a failing grade from economists. Yet it has relied on him to sell its economic policies, such as its proposed budget (which will add $4.8 trillion in additional debt), $8 trillion in bailouts, a trillion dollar toxic-asset buy-up program, and an $800 billion, economy-shrinking “stimulus” package, all of which contradict Obama’s campaign pledge of a “net spending cut.”