As Larry Summers has taught us, the life of a former Treasury Secretary is pretty lucrative, what with all the speaking and advisory fees.
And as Yves Smith astutely points out, Tim Geithner can probably expect the same windfall once his stint is over, provided he plays ball with the banks, and the US has some modicum of a profitable financial sector when he’s done.
Since Obama is all about rooting out corruption and the taint of the private sector — he’s famously banned lobbyists from serving in the White House — he should make Tim Geithner promise he won’t do any work for the private sector once he’s done.
No “advisory” gigs at PE firms. No paid speeches at conferences. None of that stuff.
Obviously Geithner needs to make a living when he’s done being Treasury Secretary, so he can work for some public institution, or maybe a university or perhaps a think tank. Or he can be a development economist.
This isn’t mean to be a facetious or even trivial point. As long as people feel as though the bailout is corrupt, it has no hope of working. If we keep going along this path, we’ll destroy confidence in the financial system, even if we can somehow get capital levels back to healthy. We need to be sure that the Treasury Secretary isn’t just making an investment in his own future using taxpayer money.