Anthony's Take: Could Tim Geithner be any more boring? Stay tuned
Mar 24th 2009 4:00PM
Updated Dec 4th 2009 11:26AM
Don't worry, though, Frank said, Chairman Bernanke will hang out for awhile longer. As for Geithner, Frank says he'll be back Thursday. Set your DVR, folks. It ain't over.
Sure, you can watch '24' or or Jon Stewart for excitement. But if you want to take a snooze, there is no better programming than the House Financial Services Committee vs. Geithner.
You're thinking, 'of course, committees are boring.' Don't kid yourself, Geithner takes boring to a whole new level. It may be a smart strategy for someone on the hot seat. Far better to seem dull than evasive or defensive.
On that score, he was a hit. If he ever gets his own cable channel, the Ben Hur Network will have to watch out. (Speaking of cable channels. A shout out goes to Fox Business Network for showing this brilliance commercial-free. Um, thank you. Really.)
In case you didn't watch, or did watch and nodded off, here's what you missed: In a nutshell, Geithner and Bernanke asked for 'broader powers' to deal with 'future AIGs.'
What they didn't ask for -- yet -- was more money.
The not-so-dynamic duo said they know it won't be easy to ask for more dough. Actually, they call money 'resources,' which is a key word to listen for when you tune-in on Thursday. At some point in the future,
they will say something like: "Say, Congress, can you spare another trillion?''
Be assured, though, your resources "won't be wasted in the future," Geithner said. But doesn't that imply that it may have been wasted say, yesterday, or the day before?
You didn't miss much from Bernanke, whose big line was, "we simply weren't adequately prepared,'' for this crisis. When asked why not, he actually said, ``I don't know." Kudos for honesty, Mr. Chairman!
Bernanke mostly veered into Fed-speak, saying things like: "The Treasury now has a five-point plan,'' to help "stabilize the situation and get out of this downturn we're in.''
But it was Geithner who did much of the talking. Here are six stand-out quotes from our savvy Treasury secretary:
On financial regulation:
"The best thing we can do for New York and the financial system is to create a much stronger financial system. "
On future risk:
"The government is going to take risk in this,'' he said.
On the recent past:
"We knew from the beginning we had a big mess on our hands."
On AIG bonuses:
"These were legal contracts and we are a country of law."
On what would have happened if the Federal Reserve and Treasury hadn't stepped in to help:
"We'd be in much deeper peril today.''
One of the last questions before the Geithner show ended was: What's the back-up plan? Where do we go from here?
Geithner, undaunted, said loudly to the committee, "This plan will work!" It will solve the financial crisis. "It just requires will,'' he said. "It's not about ability. And we just need to keep at it."
Go ahead and keep at it, Mr. Geithner. Just stay off our TVs 'til Thursday.