Five Reasons Why Geithner Is a Good Choice for Treasury

Last Updated Nov 21, 2008 4:22 PM EST

President-elect Barack Obama's reported choice of Timothy F. Geithner is the best of the top contenders.

The president of the New York Federal Reserve since 2003 has been a major player in resolving the current financial meltdown and has close relationships with other key players, such as Fed Chief Benjamin Bernanke and current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Geithner's potential choice over former Treasury Secretaries Lawrence H. Summers and Robert Rubin has several strong political advantages:

  1. He is intimately familiar with Wall Street without having been a major investment bank head that played a role in the mess. Both Rubin and Paulson are former chiefs of Goldman Sachs. Thus, Geithner comes untainted and should be able to lead reforms in a more independent way.
  2. With his background and education an internationalist, Geithner should be well suited to understand the demands of an increasing-global financial community. As a child, he lived in Afria and Asia where his father was an international development official. He has a masters in international economics from Johns Hopkins and before the current crisis, he worked on the bailouts of Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Brazil and Thailand.
  3. While Rubin got good marks as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Admininistration, he nonetheless is connected with much of the deregulation efforts that led to the current crisis. He also is too connected politically with the Clintons and his appointment again would seem like a retread.
  4. While highly intelligent, Summers has an abrasive and undiplomatic personality. He left his position as presidency of Harvard in 2006 after angering African-Americans and women with remarks they considered derogatory. That made him unworkable in such a high profile post in the Obama Admininistration.
  5. Geithner has a close personal relationship with Bernanke who will continue to play an integral role in find ways out of the financial mess.
His nomination has to get past a background check, but since he's already head of the New York Fed, which requires extensive security investigations, that should prove easy.