They said he was uniquely qualified. A wunderkind. The Man with the Plan. Too big to fail.
Now we learn from the on-the-ball MSM that tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is flailing about and in over his head.
For five weeks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has battled the worst economic crisis in generations with no key deputies in place. That’s made for a rocky debut for the man President Barack Obama put in charge of addressing the financial crisis.
With an awkward first television appearance, a bank rescue plan that lacked promised specifics and two restructured bailouts that raised taxpayer risk, Geithner has failed to calm financial markets desperate for answers.
Critics say part of the problem is that Geithner is flying solo: Not one of his top 17 deputies has been named, let alone confirmed. And without senior leadership, lower-level Treasury employees can’t make decisions or represent the government in crucial conversations with banks and others.
As Geithner strives to address the financial crisis, advance Obama’s agenda and work with foreign leaders to stave off economic disaster, he’s assembled a 50-person “shadow cabinet” of would-be appointees. Those people have received hall passes and can advise Geithner, but they lack any authority.
“Everyone would think it’s a travesty if the Defense Department didn’t have a lot of their people in place, because you’re in a crisis fighting a couple of wars,” said Tony Fratto, who was a Treasury spokesman under President George W. Bush. “But Tim Geithner is fighting wars on a few fronts himself, and he doesn’t have the generals there to help him.”
So, he’s chasing after international tax avoiders by himself.
And now, the tax cheat is assailing oil and gas companies for taking advantage of tax loopholes. No wonder he can’t get anyone to staff up underneath him. Everything he does is a punchline:
U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.
It was one of the sharpest attacks yet on the oil and gas industry by a top Obama administration official, reinforcing the White House stance that new U.S. energy policy will focus on promoting renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and rely less on traditional fossil fuels like oil as America tackles climate change.
“We don’t believe it makes sense to significantly subsidize the production and use of sources of energy (like oil and gas) that are dramatically going to add to our climate change (problem). We don’t think that’s good economic policy and we think changing those incentives is good for the country,” Geithner told the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing on the White House’s proposed budget for the 2010 spending year.
The Obama administration’s budget would levy an excise tax on oil and natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, raising $5.3 billion in revenue from 2011 to 2019.
This new 13 percent tax on all oil and gas production in the Gulf would only affect those companies enjoying a loophole that allows them to avoid paying royalties on the energy supplies they drill
Update: The NYPost editorial board chuckles:
here was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, boldly testifying Tuesday before Rep. Charlie Rangel’s Ways & Means Committee – promising that the Obama administration intends to propose “a series of legislative and enforcement measures to reduce . . . tax evasion and avoidance.”
Did he look Chairman Rangel in the eye when he said this?
Can he look himself in the eye at the shaving mirror each morning?
A crackdown on “tax evasion and avoidance”? Oh, the irony.