Should Occupy Wall Street Demand Geithner's Resignation?
Joe Gannon makes a compelling case for why the Wall Street protestors should make Tim Geithner's resignation one of their core demands. He does it, however, without making any argument whatsoever about what Geithner has done wrong. He simply states that he's been "awful." It's more about the symbolism, and I can't say he's wrong. I thought Geithner should have resigned once the banking system was stabilized, not because he'd done an awful job but because the whole business was so deeply unpopular.
Part of this is about realistic expectations. I don't know that we've ever had a Treasury secretary who was an adversary of Wall Street. That's not how our system functions or has ever functioned. The equivalent would be to hire a secretary of Defense who was implacably opposed to defense spending. I wouldn't object, obviously, but neither is it something I demand or expect.
I can make a solid argument that the real problem is with Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, who hasn't done enough to hold the banking criminals accountable for their actions. Or I could blame Ben Bernanke, who hasn't done enough to tackle unemployment. Geithner doesn't strike me as the most deserving of punishment. But, as a political matter, he's been a liability for a long time. And he should go.
Forcing him out would establish some clout. So, I can endorse that idea, but it comes with a caveat. Don't expect him to be replaced by an Elizabeth Warren type. Even if the administration were so inclined, they'd never be confirmed.
Our system may be rotting at its core, but it knows enough not to kill itself intentionally. It won't declare itself rotten.