Geithner Makes His First Impression…And It Sucks

Anyone seen a TARP?

Anyone seen a TARP?

As I watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average do that cascading-down-400-points thing that it’s gotten so good at, I listened in disbelief as our new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went through the whole litany of how we got to this point.  Does anyone really need a recap of the last 18 months and what’s gone on?  Do the Senators?  I sure hope not.  I know people who wouldn’t read a newspaper by accident that are aware of what’s gotten us here.

I hardly think that Mr. Geithner should have spent (wasted) any time at all preparing remarks on the history of the credit crisis.  Instead, it would have been nice if he’d spent a little bit of time fleshing out some of the details of the plan we were all waiting to hear about.

Instead, he showed up empty-handed (and possibly empty-headed).

Platitudes and principles are nice when you are, say, running for the PTA or writing a senior year thesis for your civics class.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the time or patience right now and the nervousness of most market participants took over big time when it was clear that TARP 2.0 is still just a twinkle in the Secretary’s eye.

In addition to the problems at the banks, JC Penney’s CEO was out this morning saying that if the consumers aren’t “stimulated”, the retail sector may lose about 100,000 jobs a month throughout 2009.  And Geithner’s talking “broad principles”.

Unfortunately, we just rolled back the entire “Obama Rally” and the Dow is now trading within sneezing distance of last year’s lows in the 7400 range.  The NASDAQ also gave up it’s post-earnings season’s gains and the S&P 500 once again looks like the House of 1000 Corpses.

Way to go, Tim Geithner.  What will you do for an encore, set fire to the American flag?

And please, let’s stop pretending that Lehman and AIG didn’t happen on your watch.  You weren’t in the Peace Corps when the leverage-palooza started, reached it’s zenith or collapsed…you were the regulator!  We all shut our mouths about this as well as your tax problems in the hopes that you would be ready to hit the ground running with some solutions.  Oops.

I predict you are replaced within 100 days.

Further Reading:  Floyd Norris live-blogged the hearings yesterday with great quotes from Senators and feeble responses from Geithner, as well as Floyd’s commentary, click here:  NY Times on TARP 2.0

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