Geithner’s Waterloo? [Reader Post]

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When Tim Geithner  became Treasury Secretary he was appointed even though he had skipped on taxes and paid $42,702 to make up his omission. He pretended at the time that this failure to pay taxes owed for a number of years had simply been an oversight. Anyone really paying attention at the time, and applying reasonable judgment, was astonished. The Former head of the New York Fed was being placed into the control seat of the Nation’s Treasury.

Not a single taxpayer in the Nation who trudges through the annual process of filing income taxes believed Geithner’s excuses on this egregious wrong doing. The MSM however slobbered all over itself protecting Obama’s nominee, pretending that when someone so busy and so smart is working so selflessly for his country, he can forget to pay his taxes. That was a lie. Average wage earners, millionaires and billionaires do not forget to pay their taxes – minimize them as mush as they can, but they don’t forget

From your very first job you knew, we all knew, to pay our income taxes. We are all intimately familiar with that annual date with destiny – tax time. Still, Geithner was given a pass. We don’t need to get into the details here of the additional distaste his judgment left us with when we discovered he had hired of an undocumented housekeeper.

Was this a telltale? Yes it was – look to what someone did yesterday, and you’ll know what he or she will do tomorrow.  It’s called listening. It’s called paying attention. It’s called basic human common sense. We find ourselves with an MSM void such competence, and too broad a sector of the electorate willing to forego such proficiency.

We skip forward to this week’s Congressional hearings, and witness our same Tax avoiding Treasury Secretary, the very same person who pushed for the bailout of AIG, slipping on a pair of Gretzky skates, racing circles around the rink, and slapping pucks at the foreheads of the questioning House Financial Services Committee.  Gretzky would have been envious. How dare a bunch of Representatives ask impudent questions of Geithner about something so complex as Libor?

So we were entertained. Geithner admitted knowing that the Libor rate was vulnerable to exploitation – this was at least six years ago. He knew it was being manipulated and did some speed-skating. “That was the best alternative available at the time, and you can’t say now with confidence that that choice in any way disadvantaged the American taxpayer,” Geithner said. It gives you a genuinely balmy feeling, doesn’t it, knowing the astute mind of Geithner is looking after your interests? No? How about this then, “I think it’s quite unlikely, but we’re going to take a careful look at that.” When? After November?  After all, Geithner was only head of the New York Fed when he discovered this monstrosity.

If that is not enough to summon your favour, it gets better, “and we felt, and I still believe this, that it was really going to be on the UK to take responsibility.”  Geithner basically said, “it wasn’t my job.” Keep in mind that JP Morgan, Citigroup, and B of A,  participate in the daily Libor interest rate setting. Oh, and the first two are supervised by the New York Fed. But, hey, “it’s not my job.”

The Representative asking if Geithner was aware of wrongdoing, was met with an, “We don’t know that. But I think that is a question you need to refer to the enforcement agencies.” Again, when? When will this fraud be taken seriously and arduously investigated? When another Attorney General replaces Holder?

Should taxpayers care? Aside from the fact that almost everything you spend money on is affected in one way or another by the Libor rate, it also happens that the Libor rate was used for the $182 billion bailout of AIG and the trillion dollar emergency Term-Asset Backed Securities Loan Facilityprogram. Geithner said it “was the best alternative available at the time.” He knew the Libor interest rate was being manipulated, but this genius now claims there was nothing better. Why? Because you were winking and nodding? In response, House Representative used terms such as“someone dropped the ball,” so as to not offend Geithner. Dropped the ball?

Dropping the ball is forgetting the sandwiches on your picnic. Dropping the ball cannot and should not refer to defrauding the taxpayers of billions of dollars through interest rate “fixing.” Dropping the ball cannot and should not refer to defrauding the borrowers around the world of billions of dollars through conspiring on the fixing of interest rates. Because he knows no one will really investigate the Too Big To Analyze theft, Geithner sanctimoniously hides behind the shield, “We don’t know at this point what impact that behaviour had [in moving] the rate up or down for investors or borrowers.” Well, that settles it then. No one will do any due diligence, and no one will renegotiate interest rates on any of the billions used in bailouts and backed by the Nation’s taxpayers.

There remains the remote possibility that the man who fought against the notion of breaking up the largest banks, today thinks the bankers looked after the best interests of taxpayers.  Well, that is until we recall that we already knew what he was. We learned that before he was officially appointed, and it was before that that he knew of the Libor dishonesty.

We can be confident that Geithner is watching attentively as Paul Tucker, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, gets grilled in the UK by the Treasury Select Committee over the Libor rate scandal. Tucker will inevitably invoke “market confidence” as being the overwhelming concern at the time, but if he’s asked of his discussions with the likes of Geithner, he may have to slip on some Gretzkys.

Truth emanating from mouths of those who initiate fabrications with such ease will be hard to come by. How about not placing individuals in positions of power who in the past have had such difficulty with truth?  We already know what they will do.

A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

16 Responses to “Geithner’s Waterloo? [Reader Post]”

  1. 2

    James Raider

    @dave: #1,

    But as Skook often writes so appropriately here on FA, . . . “a useful idiot,” . . . to someone.

    . . . Just not a useful one for the taxpayers.

  2. 3


    Are our congressional members too stupid to realize the theft and fraud that has been committed or are the numbers too immense. I realize a congressman who worries about the possibility of islands capsizing because of overpopulation is too stupid to remember to wipe his ass, but are the rest of them this stupid as well?

  3. 4

    James Raider

    @Skookum: #3,

    One of the most beautifully orchestrated marketing undertakings of the past century, has been the impression which Banks embedded into public consciousness. They cloaked themselves with hallowed, almost sacred, inviolate perceptions, as sanctums where our money would be safe, protected from behind limestone columns rising from sidewalks.

    They also convinced the world that BANKING was a complex business which the rest of the great unwashed could not possibly understand. Congress believes them, and the President, . . . well, that’s another whole problem.

    Oh, and Skook, Guam DID capsize, just temporarily, then righted itself again after everyone had a chance to swim, and have a good time. Johnson was there to witness it. It wasn’t as bad as he thought it might have been.

  4. 5



    Johnson’s brain prolapsed and capsized on reentry.

    We seem to be at the mercy of bankers who control and understand our economy far better than our simpletons in Washington.

    It is hard to imagine a public that is dumb enough to elect cretins like Pelosi, Waters, Lee, Johnson and many others. It’s no wonder we have devolved into a kleptocracy of morons.

  5. 7



    Faith, I’m not a movie fan, but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

    There will be plenty of time for investigations and prosecutions, for real crimes, once the Chicago Gang is given the bum’s rush out of the White House and if the Romney Administration looks the other way in the spirit of partisanship, they will have at least one mad blogger on them like a pit bull. I will be pushing for prosecution from the get go; let the games begin. First up on the docket is Eric Holder. He turned gray these last four years, but he will be bald by the time he gets out of prison.

  6. 8

    James Raider

    @Skook: #7,

    The Libor fraud is much more serious than the consideration it seems to be given by Congress. That the bought-and-paid-for Holder is doing nothing is not surprising, but Congress? I’d love to get 5 minutes facing Geithner and Bernanke. You are a rare individual if Libor does not in some fashion impact you financially. Additionally, there is another fraud which, IMHO, is being ignored and that is the Prime Rate scam. That’s another beaut.

  7. 10

    James Raider

    @Skook: #9,

    I appreciate your vote of confidence, and wish I could come even remotely close. One of the many reasons I find joy in reading your stories is that you present them very much from a perspective that convinces us you “lived” it. Whether or not the all specific incidents you so elegantly draw us into, occurred, matters not. Your knowledge and details imbue them with unquestionable “I was there” familiarity which brings authenticity. The wilderness is so much purer than the Street. I note this, because drawing on my own experience, the “I was there” authenticity becomes difficult if not impossible to share. It’s been a long journey of experience, and to put it simply, I got lucky and wish more of it could be shared. That would make articles more impactful, but would create obvious difficulties. When money is a central part of the game, human nature sometimes does, . . . well, . . . For example, when the head of the biggest market making firm in the country tells you his whole company depends on insider information, etc, etc. Money can draw out the lowest energies in too many.

    But we’ll keep writing. 🙂

  8. 11

    James Raider

    The Chicago Gang will have even more to answer for if they don’t soon import some Foreign Affairs Intelligence into the Administration – Putin looks like Cuba is on his naval base radar.

  9. 12


    When the Clinton administration left the White House the took ‘W’s off the computers. In Obama’s White House it will more likely be the hard drives.

  10. 13



    I saw that earlier this evening, and it might as well be a done deal. Obama will be patting Putin on the back congratulating him on being such a thoughtful leader, and we will be stuck with a Russian Naval base off the coast of Florida.

    It sounds like something out of Orwell, “Weakness Is Strength and Strength is Weakness.”

  11. 14

    James Raider

    For official pronouncements on Libor . . . from the British Banking Association.

    They “Fix” the rate alright, but then here’s their answer to, “What is the volume of transactions based on bbalibor?”

    . . . . “Whilst the BBA owns the bbalibor trademark, and we coordinate the governance of the benchmark in line with the Foreign Exchange and Money Markets (FX&MM) Committee, we do this at the request of our member banks and the wider market. Banks and other institutions do not need our permission or any relationship with us in order to use bbalibor as a reference rate, so it is very difficult for us to know precisely how many transactions are linked to bbalibor. The BBA does not have exact figures, or a breakdown of how this is split between commercial finance, mortgages and personal loans.”

    No kidding. Who does know? > No one.

    And yet, that isn’t the biggest problem here. The overwhelmingly troublesome fact is that in a society very dependent on the RULE OF LAW, not regulation but LAW, where is the Justice Department?

    Is there a bigger failing of this Administration? Breakdown here, and society breaks down. If you don’t have trust in your system, what’s left?

  12. 15


    @James Raider:

    The overwhelmingly troublesome fact is that in a society very dependent on the RULE OF LAW, not regulation but LAW, where is the Justice Department?

    This question is entirely understandable when you consider that liberal/progressives do not believe in the RULE OF LAW, but rather, the “rule by men” that is so evident in everything they push and support.

    In this case, I imagine that the reason our Justice Dept. is absent is entirely because they do not wish to “step on anyone’s toes”, so to speak. And especially not the banking firms the liberal/progressives pushed the TARP funds onto, whether it was by force, intimidation, or coercion.

  13. 16

    James Raider

    @johngalt: #15,

    Though I’ve noted Holder’s conflict of interest above, another one is from one of Obama’s puppeteers, Jarrett, who was Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, AND, here’s the best one, . . . . Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

    She was deep, deep, in the Chicago machine – even Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard Daley.

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