Tim Geithner is in his final days as Treasury Secretary, as Obama officially nominated Jack lew to take over his role.
Geithner will be the subject of LOTS of discussions in the coming days, months, and years, as he presided over one of America’s most turbulent economic times.
There will be a lot of second-guessing, of course, but for our money Tim Geithner had an amazing run, and it can be shown in one chart, which shows the pace of jobs recoveries of various financial crisis throughout the globe and history.
The chart comes from Oregon economist Josh Lehner, and as you can see, the US has had a remarkable jobs comeback compared to almost every other financial crisis. Despite the weak economy, the red line (the US jobs recovery) has gone faster than just about any other country’s comeback
Photo: Josh Lehner
Why does Geithner get credit for this? Because for a long time, and despite its unpopularity, Geithner was a full-throated defender of full blank-check bailouts for the banks.
This is critical, because the other country that did blank check bailouts was Japan (which also had a great jobs recovery) and the country that didn’t do full bailouts was Sweden, which had a horrendous jobs recovery.
Blank check bailouts accomplished two things.
One, it prevented the crisis from getting much worse.
Two, it prevented long legal battles (which would still be ongoing today) had we gone down the road of haircutting to creditors. The legal fallout would have been extraordinarily brutal if the government had decided whom to haircut and whom to keep whole.
In future financial crises, The Geithner Model will be the model: Save the banks completely, and pump a lot of money into the economy via spending and easy money.
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