Archive for the ‘Treasury Secretary’ Category

Treasury might not be up to the job of fighting recession

March 10, 2009

The Treasury might not be “up to the job” of spearheading the British Government’s response to the recession, according to the IPPR, one of Labour’s favourite think tanks. Britains worry…

By Christopher Hope
The Telegraph (UK)
Senior officials from the IPPR, the Institute of Public Policy Research, also questioned whether Gordon Brown’s policy of appointing former bankers as ministers was appropriate in dealing with “problems that banks have caused themselves”.

The Treasury was “not in good shape” to cope with the pressures of becoming a more interventionist Government while keeping a right rein on public spending, the IPPR said.

Guy Lodge and Tony Dolphin from the Institute said: “The lights are on in the Treasury but who is minding the tills? After hiving off so much responsibility for fiscal and monetary policy, the department is not in good shape to tackle the biggest economic crash for decades.”

They said part of the problem was that, when Mr Brown was Chancellor between 1997 and 2007, the Treasury spread itself too thinly and became a “Department for the Domestic Front”, wrapping its “tentacles” around large swathes of policy including welfare reform and child poverty.

This has meant that when the economy went downhill, the Treasury lost its core skills of keeping a check on the public finances and lost touch with its “conventional role of saying ‘no'” to more public spending.

In article in this week’s edition of ‘Public Finance’, the pair said: “Genuine doubts have been raised about whether the Treasury has the people it needs to face all these challenges simultaneously.

“The ‘Alistair and Mervyn’ show might be about to hit the road. It remains to be seen whether Treasury staff are well placed to support such a ‘show’.”

The departments suffers from “ridiculously high turnover rate in posts”, they said, adding: “Treasury officials rarely spend more than a year in post before moving on. This weakens the department’s skills base and deprives it of specialist expertise.”

Staff numbers have been cut by 17 per cent over the past four years. More cuts are planned by 2011. To make matters worse, the Treasury has also had problems filling policy posts. A recruitment drive last year was “only partially successful in plugging the skills gap”, leaving the Treasury short of vital skills.

They said: “One consequence of these changes is that today’s Treasury has few staff with experience of fighting a recession or dealing with a major economic calamity.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/rec
ession/4967743/Treasury-might-not-be-up-to-the-jo
b-of-fighting-recession-warns-IPPR.html

And other than Turbo Tax manipulation, what is U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s experience in dealing with recession?

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Stimulus: Obama Outsmarts Everyone

February 15, 2009

AM I crazy, or wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago? Obama had “all but lost control of the agenda in Washington,” declared Newsweek on Feb. 4 as it wondered whether he might even get a stimulus package through Congress. “Obama Losing Stimulus Message War” was the headline at Politico a day later. At the mostly liberal MSNBC, the morning host, Joe Scarborough, started preparing the final rites. Obama couldn’t possibly eke out a victory because the stimulus package was “a steaming pile of garbage.”

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
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Less than a month into Obama’s term, we don’t (and can’t) know how he’ll fare as president. The compromised stimulus package, while hardly garbage, may well be inadequate. Timothy Geithner’s uninspiring and opaque stab at a bank rescue is at best a place holder and at worst a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the TARP-Titanic, where he served as Hank Paulson’s first mate.

But we do know this much. Just as in the presidential campaign, Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The same crowd that said he was a wimpy hope-monger who could never beat Hillary or get white votes was played for fools again.

On Wednesday, as a stimulus deal became a certainty on Capitol Hill, I asked David Axelrod for his take on this Groundhog Day relationship between Obama and the political culture.

“It’s why our campaign was not based in Washington but in Chicago,” he said. “We were somewhat insulated from the echo chamber. In the summer of ’07, the conventional wisdom was that Obama was a shooting star; his campaign was irretrievably lost; it was a ludicrous strategy to focus on Iowa; and we were falling further and further behind in the national polls.” But even after the Iowa victory, this same syndrome kept repeating itself. When Obama came out against the gas-tax holiday supported by both McCain and Clinton last spring, Axelrod recalled, “everyone in D.C. thought we were committing suicide.”

Related:
Obama Team Gloats: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15
/opinion/15rich.html?_r=1

 
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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Obama: No Single Action Can Cure the Economy

January 31, 2009

President Obama said Saturday his administration will outline a new strategy in the coming days for spending billions of federal dollars to pull the nation out of an economic crisis he described as “devastating.”

Obama and his top advisers are weighing how to structure the remaining $350 billion that Congress approved last year to save financial institutions and lenders from collapse. The new president also warned there is no single action that would allow his administration to fix the struggling U.S. economy, a stark statement at the end of a week that saw hundreds of thousands of Americans lose their jobs.

Associated Press

“No one bill, no matter how comprehensive, can cure what ails our economy,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “So just as we jump-start job creation, we must also ensure that markets are stable, credit is flowing and families can stay in their homes.”

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2
009/01/31/obama-single-action-cure-econo
my/100days/