Hank Paulson says he will not be the Treasury Secretary next year. Who could blame him? He and his crew have worked every day for the past 5 weeks trying to sort out this mess. Some of his staff are working 20 hour days and the Wall Street Journal reports one employee, recently moved to Washington from Texas, has only seen his family once since taking on his job alongside Paulson.
When Paulson hands the reins over to the next Secretary, that person will be facing a whole new set of responsibilities thanks to the government’s newfound taste for toxic assets and insistence on greater regulatory power. So, it’s kinda important to know who might get the nod if McCain wins or if Obama wins. Maybe even more important than the Vice Presidential pick that got so much attention a few weeks ago.
Today, New York Magazine’s Intel blog floated the idea of Merrill seller, John Thain joining the McCain camp. After all, Thain is a bundler that raised $32,700 for McCain and he was already rumoured to be in the running for a possible Treasury job. Of course, Thain is the same guy that couldn’t turn Merrill around, opting instead to sell it. Not exactly the best credential for someone looking to tackle this economy. Phil Gramm was rumoured to be in the running until he screwed up and said Americans are suffering from a mental recession. Carly Fiorina was also in the running, until she said Sarah Palin could run Hewlett-Packard, and now her status in the McCain camp is in jeopardy.
At the end of August, Deal Book, a Wall Street Journal blog assessed who might be in line to become secretary if Obama won. Timothy Geithner, the New York Fed president, who has been Paulson’s point man in the past week, was atop their list of people Obama was rumoured to be interested in. The other names suggested were Jaime Dimon, JP Morgan’s CEO, and Jon Corzine, former Goldman CEO and current New Jersey governor.
Each of the rumoured Obama picks appears to be a great choice, and he should try to exploit this advantage, before McCain pulls out a personably quirky economic advisor from an iceberg and excites the nation.
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