Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner May 19 used his first Washington, DC public appearance following his resignation to defend his decision making and that of the rest of the Obama administration.
Geithner, launching his memoir Stress Test, responded to a question from the DC-based magazine Politico on why he and his Obama colleagues seemed to treat bankers better than homeowners after the 2008 economic collapse during the last months of the Bush presidency.
“This was a classic financial panic,” Geithner recalled of the new administration’s bailout responses after Obama’s election in 2008. “You are in the cockpit and the plane’s on fire. Are you going to negotiate conditions, or try to land the plane safely?”
My analysis of Geithner and his colleagues in Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters is that they served as water-carriers for Wall Street’s oligarchs.
But this is Geithner’s turn at bat to make his case, including with his 580-page new memoir, subtitled, Reflections on Financial Crises.
The scene was the inaugural “Playbook” luncheon hosted by Politico Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen and Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White. The locale was the Hamilton, a restaurant complex just a stone’s throw from Geithner’s former headquarters at the Treasury Department, which nearly adjoins the White House.
Timothy Franz Geithner, who turns 52 in August, was the nation’s 75th Treasury secretary from 2009 to 2013. Previously, he had been president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 to 2009. He is now president and managing director at Warburg Pincus, a Wall Street private equity firm that boasts of $45 billion in investments since its founding in 1966 from a merger.
Geithner comes from a well-connected family with his mother’s roots extending back to the Mayflower landing.
His family also had ties to the Ford Motor Company and Ford Foundation, as well as a little-known tie to the Obama family: His father, Ford Foundation Asia Director Peter Geithner, supervised for a time Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, while she was a grantee for a Ford Foundation micro-finance program in Indonesia.
Geithner mentions “the odd family coincidence” in his memoir as something he and the president discussed in passing during their first meeting in October 2008 to discuss the financial crisis, amid rumors that Geithner might be a prospective Treasury nominee. Geither treats the matter in one long sentence as a minor curiosity.
Any deeper story behind this previously little-reported coincidence is left unsaid, much like many other chapters of the Dunham-Obama family story following the upheavals occurring in Indonesia and nearby South Asian regions during the years following the West-inspired 1960s coup against Indonesia Prime Minister Sukarno.