Geithner headlines Obama’s economic team of familiar faces
The New York Fed president is known for his insights on ‘90s international crises.
(Page 2 of 2)
Boyish and unpretentious, Geithner is well-liked by his staff. He’s not an economist by training, or a veteran of Wall Street’s commercial world. Instead, he’s largely risen through the bureaucratic ranks, having worked in a variety of Treasury positions. He’s also served a stint at the International Monetary Fund, where he was director of policy development from 2001 to 2003.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
If any one word describes his professional focus, it might be “internationalist.” His undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College was in government and Asian studies, and his master’s degree, from Johns Hopkins, was in international economics.
He rose to prominence within the Treasury in part due to the brilliance of his work in helping to manage the multiple international economic crises of the 1990s in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand.
“He’s the best choice” from Obama’s short list of Treasury candidates, says Peter Morici, a University of Maryland business professor and former chief economist of the US International Trade Commission.
But Geithner also represents the status quo, says Dr. Morici, and thus may not push for changes radically different from those pursued by President Bush.
In addition, Geithner is a former protégé of Mr. Summers, who is slated to be top White House economic adviser. Himself a former Treasury chief, Summers is famously strong-willed. He stepped down from the post of Harvard president in 2006 following comments, including some on women’s contribution to science, that riled many in the university’s community.
The relationship between Summers and Geithner may be analogous to that between Henry Kissinger and William Rogers when the former served as President Nixon’s national security adviser and the latter was secretary of State, according to Morici.
Dr. Kissinger sought to undermine his rival at every turn and eventually dominated policymaking from his position close to the president. “Geithner had better study up on the Kissinger-Rogers relationship,” says Morici.
Meanwhile, a top Obama adviser said Sunday that the stock market’s leap on Friday showed the wisdom of the president-elect’s choice of Geithner.
“The response has been great, and it should be.... Tim Geithner is uniquely qualified to do this job,” said David Axelrod, an Obama senior adviser, in a broadcast interview.
Geithner and others will get to work on designing a stimulus plan that will be significantly larger than the $175 billion investment that Obama proposed during his campaign, said Mr. Axelrod.
“Our hope is that the new Congress begins work on this as soon as they take office in early January, because we don’t have time to waste here,” said Axelrod.
- Associated Press material was used in this report.