Tag Archives: Gramlich

Geithner: As Wrong about Soccer as Regulation

By William K. Black

Timothy Geithner is usually smart enough to say as little as possible about his disastrous leadership of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NY Fed). Geithner was supposed to regulate most of the largest banking holding companies. The NY Fed was singled out by its peers and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) for its terrible regulation, e.g., of Citicorp. One of the best signs that someone is reinventing history is that they keep changing their excuses for their failures and Geithner is a good example of that practice. He infamously began his original defense by testifying to Congress that he was never a regulator. That had the virtue of (unintentional) truth. His duty as head of the NY Fed, of course, was to regulate so the fact that he refused to regulate is an admission rather than a defense.

Geithner’s book wisely tries to make it appear that life began with Lehman’s failure (where he also performed miserably, but that is a story for another column). But Geithner lacked the discipline to avoid throwing in a few efforts to defend his role as a failed regulator. His defense efforts are now disingenuous, but they continue to serve as admissions rather than defenses. The fact that his attempts to construct a defense of his monumental regulatory failures actually end up being admissions demonstrates that he remains clueless even today about what he would have done if he had been a competent regulator of integrity and courage.

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