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Tim Geithner: “It’s Going To Feel Very Hard…”

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 11, 2011 9:48 AM |

For those who missed Meet the Press yesterday, please allow me to share a portion of the interview NBC’s David Gregory had with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Please allow me to interject my ‘sense on cents’ analysis as well.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  We still have millions and millions of Americans out of work, and the most important thing we can do is to make sure we’re taking steps to get people back to work as quickly as we can.

MR. GREGORY:  Well, let me ask you this.  The president was asked in his Twitter town hall about the economy and whether mistakes were made.  And I want to share a portion of what he said.

PRES. OBAMA:  So I think people may not have been prepared for how long this was going to take and why we were going to have to make some very difficult decisions and choices.  And, and I take responsibility for that because, you know, setting people’s expectations is part of how you end up being able to respond well. 

I am glad Barack may be willing to accept responsibility now because I firmly believe people’s expectations have been very poorly handled. Why? How so? Because both sides of the aisle in Washington have elevated the obfuscation of truth and transparency to an absolute art form. Is there any doubt that our political leaders are more interested in gaining power and leverage than being honest with the American public? I have no doubt.

MR. GREGORY:  How did the president not prepare the American people well enough?  You’re his top economic adviser, Larry Summers was there.  Did you guys get it wrong?  Did you not tell him how bad it was?

Geithner and Summers knew all too well how deep the problems ran and still run. Righly or wrongly, their focus has been on saving the financial system and institutions as a precursor to saving the economy. Please review my weekend commentary focused on Sheila Bair for more on this.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  I think he’s being too hard on himself, David.  I think everybody understood, and we were very careful in the beginning to make sure people understood how grave this was and how difficult it was going to be to fix.

Challenge!! He may have shared that with his friends in Washington BUT he did not come straight with the American people because he was afraid to further spook the public’s confidence.

Remember all the talk about ‘green shoots’ and how housing was turning and so much other bulls*&t!! When you are not honest, you lose credibility. With lessened credibility, investors take their ball/capital and go home. They have. (People may recall when Chinese students openly laughed at a Geithner public performance in that nation.)

SEC’Y GEITHNER: You know, this took a long time to build up, the problems that caused the crisis.  It’s going to take time to fix.  Just think of it this way.  This was a crisis caused in part because Americans borrowed too much, banks took on too much risk.  They–we built too many homes, more than we could afford.  We were living beyond our means for a long period of time.  And part of what makes this so hard, part of what makes the recovery slower is because people are going back to living within their means.  They’re spending less of their share of income, they’re saving more.  And we don’t have the ability, because of the overhang in housing and the problems in the financial system, to do–to engineer artificially…

MR. GREGORY:  So in other words it’s unfair to demand…

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  …a stronger recovery.

Is that what we have come to expect? Our financial leaders should be focused on artificially engineering a recovery?

MR. GREGORY:  …accountability for this president and this administration for the, the fate of the economy?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  No, no.  Of course.  The–ultimately presidents are judged on…

MR. GREGORY:  Right.  OK, but Mr.  Secretary, if that’s the case, look, you guys have had some big swings at the plate.  You had stimulus, right?  We were told that was going to keep unemployment to 8 percent.  You had health care. You said it was critical to our economic security.  The Fed did its thing before it backed out.  You went after housing policy.  None of them have really stemmed the tide, the decline in the housing market.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  I, I told you yesterday that the–let me stop you there again.


SEC’Y GEITHNER:  The American economy was falling off the cliff in the fall of ’08 and the first months of his administration.  And he put in place the most creative, the most forceful set of economic measures we have ever done as a country.  And because of that, we’ve prevented a second Great Depression and the economy has now been growing for more than a year and a half, more than two million jobs in the private sector since job creation started again. Faster job creation than the last two recoveries.  Now, things are very hard still, and we’re not growing fast enough, and the president of the United States is going to keep at it to make sure that every day we’re looking for more opportunities to get the economy moving again faster.  But he can’t do that alone.  It does require Congress, under our Constitution, to be willing to legislate things that would help.  Like, for example–and you, you know these examples–if we could pass some trade agreements to expand export growth, that would be good.  If we could find ways to help rebuild America, we can put more people back to work.  If we can figure out ways right now to extend these tax benefits for 98 percent of working families, that will help for confidence.

Come on, the stimulus was a ‘sugar high’ that had little long lasting impact.

MR. GREGORY:  When do you think recovery is actually going to start feeling like recovery?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Oh, I think it’s going to take a long time still.  This is a very tough economy.  And I think for a lot of people…


SEC’Y GEITHNER:  …it’s going to be–it’s going to feel very hard, harder than anything they’ve experienced in their lifetime now, for some time to come.  And that–but that is because that is the tragic effects of a crisis this deep and this bad caused by a long period of lost opportunities to do things to make the country stronger.

At long last, the truth. A ‘walking pneumonia’ economy is hard. Very hard.

Why now? Why does Geithner now make this statement? Why is it that virtually no mainstream media outlets have carried Geithner’s bombshell? Does Tim Geithner want to be able to say, ” I told you” before he hits the road out of Washington?

Speaking of which, aside from Geithner, who currently makes up the Obama economic team? Can you name one credible individual? Who is on the Obama economic bench?

America deserves the truth at every turn. The fact that we do not receive it is a failure both within our political system and also our media, although David Gregory does deserve props for this interview.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.




  • Nora

    For the politician to say the truth all along would be unheard of. It seems like there’s some training in becoming a politician, in which they learn how to cover up the truth. We would like to think that when we vote for the political figures to get in their offices they would serve us as they should, instead, they end up using us and our hard earned dollars to be served by us. They don’t represent us, they represent banks, corporations and thieves! They treat us (the voters, tax payers) as dummies and ignoramus. How sad, I guess if we were stupid enough to vote for them then how can they trust our opinions or decisions? May be that’s how they perceive us!

    The truth is that this whole economy down-fall has been coming for years, not just when Obama took office, or even Bush. Those leaders were and are no match for the Wall Street criminals who thought of and implemented the scams. How they talked the Feds into giving them all that bail out money, I’ll never understand.

    And yes some people are guilty of borrowing too much, spending too much and living beyond their means, but that was some people. Those people however, are not the only guilty parties. The banks were saturating the mail boxes with unbelievable offers for mortgage rates and credit cards. I think this whole thing was planned all along. People were set up to fail in this way, the whole thing was a plan that now is gone out of control. The banks offered loans to people with limited income who could never afford a home or a home loan, and they could never sustain the payments on these loans once the rates changed. We all know what happened after that with the securitization of those faulty loans!

    And some people were innocent by standers, who never thought that the banks and Wall Street could be filled with thieves and robbers. We were taught to respect the institutions that had the powers over us. Now those institutions have lost our trust, and so did the policy makers who had let them loose and un-regulated.

    Yet I still have hope, not in the system as it is, but in the people of this country and the changes that may be brought on because of their plight. The people will rise and take their power back. They won’t always just believe in any falls hopes and cleaver preachings. I think we have learned
    quite a bit these last couple of years. And we all just have to keep on going to right the wrong. Things may be hard, and may get even harder, and we will survive, and we will still be waiting for that honest, hard working sincere and loyal leader that we all can trust, look up to and admire, can you handle it Larry?

    • LD


      You possess untold wisdom and write in a very eloquent fashion. I truly admire your spirit and determination. You strike me as an individual who loves our country and our people.

      For all these reasons, I am inducting you into the Sense on Cents Hall of Fame!!

      In regard to my political aspirations, I have to ask if I could still write my blog and speak the truth because that is all too often forgotten in our political arena.

      • Nora

        Dearest Larry,

        Thank you for the kind and lovely words, coming from you I am very flattered, and grateful to be included in the sense on cents hall of fame. I am a great grand mother, may be that’s where the wisdom comes from. Life experiences and yes my love for this country and for all people as well as for the truth that drives me to speak out and to care. I tend to always want to share my experiences and knowledge about life whether by writing and or painting, I should have been a writer though, but just the same loving life and humanity is an art in itself.

        You would think that I was born here in this wonderful country, but the truth is I was not. I chose this country to be mine in every sense of the word. I was a teen ager when I came here, learned the language and raised my children here, to be loving Americans. I think when you make choice to adopt a home vs being born in one, it gives one a greater challenge and a sense of responsibility for that choice; but enough about me; LOL.

        Larry, you would make a great leader, you have a sense of patriotism, truth and honesty about you. With your intellect and knowledge, and sense of responsibility it’s what this country needs. Your blogs and the information you provide for your readers, your forthcoming and your standing up for what’s right for the betterment of your fellow human being, shows great sense of wisdom and fortitude something that is needed in this country.

        If every official in the world, not just here in America, has enough sense about what makes a leader A LEADER, we would be so much better off. Our officials lack wisdom and knowledge about humanity and what it takes to be responsible for what effects millions of people lives, perhaps the world would be a better place, but it isn’t!

        So it’s left to people like you and hopefully countless others to try and make sense of things, and share that knowledge and experiences with others. We are in the same arena fighting our different but equal battles, and the one constant thing is nothing will stop neither you nor I on speaking our minds for the truth and the positive way. Once more, thank you from my heart, much love to you and the human kind everywhere!

        • LD


          In the archives of Sense on Cents are all the comments and commentaries from the initial launching of my blog. I am glad that they are stored there.

          I do not like to single out individuals or comments but you make that impossible. I thank you for your heartfelt thoughts shared here. I commend you for your spirit.

          Your comment will be the first that I am actually printing out so I can reflect upon it when I need a spark.

          I thank you!! I wish all the best for you and your family!!

  • Kathy

    Why does the Republican party not raise the debt ceiling and erase this source of uncertainty, instead of playing Russian Roulette with our lives? Larry, I know your stance is generally conservative, but I am sick of the Right Wing – still the minority party – putting us through hell for political advantage. Put the country first, not political power.

    • LD


      I believe that the proposal put forth by Senator McConnell will likely carry the day and allow for the debt ceiling to be raised. Having reviewed this proposal it strikes me as a means to raise the debt ceiling while buying cover for both the Democrats and Republicans and then making it this an issue which will likely be a large focus of the 2012 election.

      We need statesmen and a LOT of them. Regrettably I see few if any.

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