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article imageOp-Ed: Geithner’s Waterloo?

By James Raider     Jul 27, 2012 in Politics
When Tim Geithner became Treasury Secretary he was appointed even though he had skipped on taxes and paid $42,702 to make up his omission. He pretended at the time that this failure to pay taxes owed for a number of years had simply been an oversight.
Anyone really paying attention at the time, and applying reasonable judgment, was astonished. The Former head of the New York Fed was being placed into the control seat of the Nation’s Treasury.
Not a single taxpayer in the Nation who trudges through the annual process of filing income taxes believed Geithner’s excuses on this egregious wrong doing. The MSM however slobbered all over itself protecting Obama’s nominee, pretending that when someone so busy and so smart is working so selflessly for his country, he can forget to pay his taxes. That was a lie. Average wage earners, millionaires and billionaires do not forget to pay their taxes - minimize them as much as they can, but they don’t forget.
From your very first job you knew, we all knew, to pay income taxes owed. We are all intimately familiar with that annual date with destiny - tax time. Still, Geithner was given a pass. We don’t need to get into the details here of the additional distaste his judgment left us with when we discovered he had hired of an undocumented housekeeper.
Was this a telltale? Yes it was - look to what someone did yesterday, and you’ll know what he or she will do tomorrow. It’s called listening. It’s called paying attention. It’s called basic human common sense. We find ourselves with an MSM void such competence, and too broad a sector of the electorate willing to forego such proficiency.
We skip forward to this week’s Congressional hearings, and witness our same Tax avoiding Treasury Secretary, the very same person who pushed for the bailout of AIG, slipping on a pair of Gretzky skates, racing circles around the rink, and slapping pucks at the foreheads of the questioning House Financial Services Committee. Gretzky would have been envious. How dare a bunch of Representatives ask impudent questions of Geithner about something so complex as Libor?
So we were entertained. Geithner admitted knowing that the Libor rate was vulnerable to exploitation - this was at least six years ago. He knew it was being manipulated and did some speed-skating. "That was the best alternative available at the time, and you can't say now with confidence that that choice in any way disadvantaged the American taxpayer," Geithner said. It gives you a genuinely balmy feeling, doesn’t it, knowing the astute mind of Geithner is looking after your interests? No? How about this then, “I think it's quite unlikely, but we're going to take a careful look at that." When? After November? After all, Geithner was only head of the New York Fed when he discovered this monstrosity.
If that is not enough to summon your favour, it gets better, “and we felt, and I still believe this, that it was really going to be on the UK to take responsibility.” Geithner basically said, “it wasn’t my job.” Keep in mind that JP Morgan, Citigroup, and B of A, participate in the daily Libor interest rate setting. Oh, and the first two are supervised by the New York Fed. But, hey, “it’s not my job.”
The Representative asking if Geithner was aware of wrongdoing, was met with a, "We don't know that. But I think that is a question you need to refer to the enforcement agencies." Again, when? When will this fraud be taken seriously and be arduously investigated? When another Attorney General replaces Holder?
Should taxpayers care? Aside from the fact that almost everything you spend money on is affected in one way or another by the Libor rate, it also happens that the Libor rate was used for the $182 billion bailout of AIG and the trillion dollar emergency Term-Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility program. Geithner said it "was the best alternative available at the time." He knew the Libor interest rate was being manipulated, but this genius now claims there was nothing better. Why? Because he was winking and nodding? In response, a committee member used the phrase, “someone dropped the ball,” so as to not offend Geithner's ego and sensitivities. Dropped the ball?
Dropping the ball is forgetting the sandwiches on your picnic. Dropping the ball cannot and should not refer to defrauding the taxpayers of billions of dollars through interest rate “fixing.” Dropping the ball cannot and should not refer to defrauding the borrowers around the world of billions of dollars through conspiring on the fixing of interest rates. Because he knows no one will really investigate the Too Big To Analyze theft, Geithner sanctimoniously hides behind the shield, "We don't know at this point what impact that behaviour had [in moving] the rate up or down for investors or borrowers.” Well, that settles it then. No one will do any due diligence, and no one will renegotiate interest rates on any of the billions used in bailouts and backed by the Nation’s taxpayers.
There remains the remote possibility that the man who fought against the notion of breaking up the largest banks, today thinks the bankers looked after the best interests of taxpayers. Well, that is until we recall that we already knew what he was. We learned that before he was officially appointed, and it was before that that he knew of the Libor dishonesty.
We can be confident that Geithner is watching attentively as Paul Tucker, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, gets grilled in the UK by the Treasury Select Committee over the Libor rate scandal. Tucker will inevitably invoke “market confidence” as being the overwhelming concern at the time, but if he’s asked of his discussions with the likes of Geithner, he may have to slip on some Gretzkys.
Truth emanating from mouths of those who initiate fabrications with such ease will be hard to come by. How about not placing individuals in positions of power who in the past have had such difficulty with truth? We already know what they will do.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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