I am pleased to inform readers of the emergence of a new online magazine, The New Ledger, which stars a number of friends of mine. The reading is quite smart and the format, while somewhat bloggish, allows for and encourages longer opinion pieces that one would more likely find in the Op-Ed section of a major newspaper.
I have been asked to write for The New Ledger and am glad to do so; you will see me post some of my longer pieces there. Here is my first column, which was inspired by the decision to confirm Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. An excerpt:
In urging Geithner’s confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered his entirely nonpartisan opinion that “This powerful economic storm demands strong, decisive and wise leadership,” and that “No one is more qualified or prepared for the task than Tim Geither.” Thus, despite the fact that the Treasury Secretary was ridiculously delinquent in paying over $40,000 in back taxes (plus interest), despite the fact that his delinquency stemmed from his inability to master the supposedly complex machinery of TurboTax and his inability to properly read the rules on self-employment taxes that applied in the two years he worked at the International Monetary Fund-all while collecting IMF reimbursement for the taxes he did not pay-despite all of these mistakes that would have landed an ordinary citizen in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service, Tim Geithner finds himself as the latest successor to Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury.
And that, you see, is because Tim Geithner is indispensable. He has been neck-deep in the efforts that have been made since last fall to rescue the American economy and we just cannot pass up on the opportunity to make him the Treasury Secretary as a consequence.
Now, a churlish soul (like me, perhaps) might remind you that the TARP program Geithner helped design and whose implementation Geithner urged has turned out to be something of a disaster; its accounting procedures are opaque, its functions are haphazard at best and its original mission has been drastically altered from purchasing toxic assets and taking them off of the balance sheet of financial institutions, to injecting capital into banks in exchange for stock. Oh, and TARP has encouraged appalling amounts of corruption. But never mind all of that. Tim Geithner is indispensable.
“But,” I hear you cry, “De Gaulle told us that the graveyards are full of indispensable men! Surely, this would imply that there is no such animal!”
Indeed, there is not. But try telling that to the Obama Administration.
Read it all.