Archive for the ‘Timothy F. Geithner’ Category

Stimulus: Many Economists Say It’ll Fail Because It Failed In Japan

February 6, 2009

Last Sunday we heard Steve Forbes on “Meet the Press” on NBC with David Gregory say that Japan used eight different stimulus packages in the 1990s and couldn’t solve their economic problems without solving the bank lending dilemma.

“And that’s why they have a high debt and still a stagnant economy,” Forbes said.

“The banks are like the heart of the financial system,” Forbes said.  “You can have a strong head and strong muscles but without the heart you have nothing.”

President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner think Japan just didn’t spend enough.  Other say there is never enough to spend to make “stimulus” work….

US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits ... 
US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

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The Hamada Marine Bridge soars majestically over this small fishing harbor, so much larger than the squid boats anchored below that it seems out of place.

By Martin Fackler
The New York Times

The soaring Marine Bridge in Hamada, Japan, built as a public works project, was almost devoid of traffic on a recent morning. Photo: Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

And it is not just the bridge. Two decades of generous public works spending have showered this city of 61,000 mostly graying residents with a highway, a two-lane bypass, a university, a prison, a children’s art museum, the Sun Village Hamada sports center, a bright red welcome center, a ski resort and an aquarium featuring three ring-blowing Beluga whales.

Nor is this remote port in western Japan unusual. Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

Now, as the Obama administration embarks on a similar path, proposing to spend more than $820 billion to stimulate the sagging American economy, many economists are taking a fresh look at Japan’s troubled experience. While Japan is not exactly comparable to the United States — especially as a late developer with a history of heavy state investment in infrastructure — economists say it can still offer important lessons about the pitfalls, and chances for success, of a stimulus package in an advanced economy.

In a nutshell, Japan’s experience suggests that infrastructure spending, while a blunt instrument, can help revive a developed economy, say many economists and one very important American official: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was a young financial attaché in Japan during the collapse and subsequent doldrums. One lesson Mr. Geithner has said he took away from that experience is that spending must come in quick, massive doses, and be continued until recovery takes firm root.

Moreover, it matters what gets built: Japan spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bang for the buck than infrastructure spending.

“It is not enough just to hire workers to dig holes and then fill them in again,” said Toshihiro Ihori, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo. “One lesson from Japan is that public works get the best results when they create something useful for the future.”

In total, Japan spent $6.3 trillion on construction-related public investment between 1991 and September of last year, according to the Cabinet Office. The spending peaked in 1995 and remained high until the early 2000s, when it was cut amid growing concerns about ballooning budget deficits. More recently, the governing Liberal Democratic Party has increased spending again to revive the economy and the party’s own flagging popularity.

In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

In the United States, it has also led to calls in Congress, particularly by Republicans, not to repeat the errors of Japan’s failed economic stimulus. They argue that it makes more sense to cut taxes, and let people decide how to spend their own money, than for the government to decide how to invest public funds. Japan put more emphasis on increased spending than tax cuts during its slump, but ultimately did reduce consumption taxes to encourage consumer spending as well.

Economists tend to divide into two camps on the question of Japan’s infrastructure spending: those, many of them Americans like Mr. Geithner, who think it did not go far enough; and those, many of them Japanese, who think it was a colossal waste.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02
/06/world/asia/06japan.html?hp

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Caroline Kennedy “Mired In Tax Trouble, Empoloyee Problem and Marriage”

January 22, 2009

Caroline Kennedy, widely believed to have been a contender for the vacant U.S. Senate seat in New York once held by Hillary Clinton, removed herself from consideration last night due to “tax trouble and an employee problem,” according to sources close to the situation.

A source to the New York Post said Kennedy was  “mired” in an issue over taxes, her nanny and possibly her marriage.

Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff is said to be angry because Caroline seemed to be using his illness as her excuse.

The New York Times, for instance, wrote in its Thursday morning edition: “The person who spoke with Ms. Kennedy said she cited concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after a seizure Tuesday, as the reason for her abrupt withdrawal.”

Time Magazine said, “He is crazy about her. He encouraged her” in her bid for the Senate seat, one close associate says of Ted Kennedy’s relationship with his niece. “But using him as an excuse, as though things were on the downward spiral, is not going to be O.K. with him … This will get in the way of health reform” – by suggesting that a key legislator involved in putting the bill together may be incapacitated.

TIME:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/2009
0122/us_time/08599187332800

Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore wrote for the New York Times Thursday that “Problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and derailed her candidacy for the Senate, a person close to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Thursday, in an account at odds with Ms. Kennedy’s own description of her reasons for withdrawing.”

Ms. Kennedy’s employee problem, known to involve a housekeeper, is believed to include tax irregularities and withholding for an alien.

Interestingly, President Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary nominee has admitted to tax problems already….

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner told the Senate Committee considering his nomination that the nonpayment of payroll taxes in the three years he was at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004 “were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes. But they were unintentional. I should have been more careful.”

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

He remains the nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

In 2004,  President Bush’s choice for Secretary of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, was forced to withdraw himself from consideration for the post when it was revealed that he had employed an illegal alien nanny and failed to withhold taxes from her paycheck. The former New York City police commissioner would have been responsible for enforcing the immigration laws he violated had he been confirmed by the Senate.

Kerik was not the first cabinet appointee to be derailed by violations of immigration and tax laws. President Clinton’s first two choices for Attorney General, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, and President Bush’s first choice for Secretary of Labor, Linda Chavez, were scuttled by revelations that they had employed illegal immigrants in clear violation of the federal laws they would be required to enforce in those jobs.

Read the entire New York Times report:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/nyr
egion/23caroline.html?_r=2&hp

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/
22/caroline.kennedy.withdraws/index.html

Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/0
1/22/pub-kennedys-exit-senate-race-boost
s-cuomos-candidacy/

The Associated Press made a report which included this:

Kennedy jumped to the top of statewide polls in early December, but her public support waned following a brief upstate tour and a few press interviews.

She was criticized as reluctant to answer questions, and her knowledge of New York and its issues were suspect. She was also mocked nationwide for her frequent use of “you know” and “um” in interviews and was branded a lackluster campaigner.

The Kennedy reports came hours after Rep. Carolyn Maloney, some Democrats’ top choice, was named chair of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress. That’s a significant move because Paterson had made it clear the next senator’s top job should be to help land a federal stimulus package to help New York out of its historic fiscal crisis.

Read the entire article:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090122/a
p_on_el_se/caroline_kennedy_32

From The New York Post:

In a stunning revelation, a source close to Gov. David Paterson insisted this afternoon that the governor “had no intention” of picking Caroline Kennedy for New York’s vacant senate seat – because she was “mired” in an issue over taxes, her nanny and possibly her marriage.

Kennedy was “mired in some potentially embarrassing personal issues,” the source said, citing tax liabilities and worker compensation liabilities connected to the employment of a nanny.

The source also said the state of her marriage may have presented a problem as well.

“She has a tax problem that came up in the vetting and a potential nanny issue,” the soruce said. “And reporters are starting to look at her marriage more closely,” the soruce continued, refusing to provide any specifics.

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/01222009/ne
ws/politics/carolines_kaput_151351.htm

In this Dec. 17, 2008 file photo, Caroline Kennedy, daughter ... 
In this Dec. 17, 2008 file photo, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference at City Hall in Buffalo, N.Y. In a statement released early Thursday, Jan. 22 Kennedy says she told Gov. David Paterson that she is abandoning her attempt to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton for personal reasons.(AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)

Obama’s Ethical Government: It’s Your Call

January 22, 2009

The Obama Administration has sworn to uphold the highest ethical standards ever.

Have we heard this before?

And haven’t we already seen ethical callenges for the new administration?

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson removed himself from consideration after the then President-elect nominated him as Commerce Secretary.

Richardson said he had done no wrong.

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner told the Senate Committee considering his nomination that the nonpayment of payroll taxes in the three years he was at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004 “were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes. But they were unintentional. I should have been more careful.”

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

He remains the nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

The “G Man” did do wrong, got caught making money instead of paying taxes, and paid up and got away with it.

Apparently, if you are in any questionable ethical jam in the Obama Administration: it’s your call.

Since we are in an economic mess and Timothy Geithner is apparently a well qualified nominee for Treasury, even though his recent service dolling out the people’s money might be questionable, his ego allows him to stay in contention.  His President and the Senate will probably support him.

Ethics sometimes looks “situational.”  No wrongdoing has been proven in the case of Illinois Governor Blagojevich, yet he stands impeached.  Nobody liked him anyway.

Blago: call G-Man.  He made some money and got away with it, for a while.  You didn’t make a dime and got impeached.  Go figure.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod ...
Not guilty of anything…In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has some final words for the media after he announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in Chicago. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s access to classified federal security information.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty, file)

“We need Geithner in this economic crisis,” Democrats are saying all over news TV shows.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is seen at the University ...
Bill Richardson

So Richardson apparently said to Barack Obama, “Please do not consider me for Commerce any more, as I have this little grand jury problem to deal with.” This is really too bad, because Bill Richardson speaks Spanish, represents well some in the minority community, and is extremely well qualified at just about anything he tries to do.  He also proved his skill and experienced in talking with nasty dictators.

Mr. Richardson has my respect and admiration for pulling his name at the slightest hint of trouble…

Geithner?  I can’t give him the same kudo…

Related:
 Bill Richardson Exits Obama Cabinet Under The Cloud of Possible Corruption
.
Obama Stresses Transparency, Ethical Conduct to New Administration

Read the rest:
Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….

 Democratic Scandals Boring, Less Sexual, But Genuine

Carville’s 2009 Predictions: Stand By For More Democrat Scandals
.
 Obama Gets an “F” on Transition Openness, Transparency

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill.  Blago’s real crime: nobody really likes him….

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/21/
campbell.brown.obama/index.html

Fool Chief Justice Gets “Do Over” With President; Treasury Nominee “Do Over” With His Taxes and Nation’s Economy

January 22, 2009

Chief Justice John Roberts, who botched his single minute (actually more like 25 seconds) in the national spotlight, got another try Wednesday.  He re-administered to oath of office to President Barack Obama.

I don’t think John Roberts is a fool.  But he made a damned fool mistake when he went to the inauguration without a cue card.  Having given many oaths of office myself, I never went without a 3×5 index card with the oath typed upon it.  Roberts should have asked an expert, like a police officer, about how best to administer an oath….

John Roberts: go stand over in the corner with the President’s designated Treasury nominee who failed to properly pay his taxes….Timothy F. Geithner.

“Careless mistakes,” Geithner said.  “Careless” like Mr. Roberts.  I don’t like it.

I like guys that get the simple things right.  Roberts has four years to get ready for the next one.  In my view, Geithner should be sent home and never allowed to supervize the IRS that will roast me for the same fool thing he’s done….

Geithner’s “next one” is the saving of the American economy.  And his work record to date, even excusing his tax lapses, isn’t spectacular, unless you got some of the government give away money….

Geithner and Roberts are both fools.  But at least Roberts appears to be an ethical fool….

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

The Senate will probably confirm the President’s Traesury nominee…

Michelle Malkin thinks the tax caper is a show stopper….
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/13/obamas-treasury-secretary-tax-rules-for-thee-but-not-for-me/

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“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said.

Among other things, Obama said he would issue a pay freeze for his senior staff.

How about for tax evasion, Mister President?

Obama Stresses Transparency, Ethical Conduct to New Administration
.
Read the rest:
Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….

 Democratic Scandals Boring, Less Sexual, But Genuine

Carville’s 2009 Predictions: Stand By For More Democrat Scandals

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

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From the New York Times:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administered the oath to Mr. Obama on Wednesday evening, one day after the two men stumbled over each other’s words during the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol.

For their do-over, the two men convened in the White House Map Room at 7:35 p.m. for a brief proceeding that was not announced until it was completed successfully.

“Are you ready to take the oath?” Chief Justice Roberts said.

“I am,” Mr. Obama replied. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/
22/us/politics/22oath.html

 
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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administering the oath of office to Barack Obama on Wednesday in the White House.  Pete Souza/The White House