Pot Calls Kettle Risky, Or: The Wit and Wisdom of T. Geithner

Paul Greenberg
|
Posted: Sep 29, 2011 2:03 PM
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." --Milton Friedman, who was an economist but made sense nevertheless.

The succession of American secretaries of the Treasury from Alexander Hamilton to Timothy Geithner is alone enough to raise questions about the Theory of Evolution. For when it comes to secretaries of the Treasury, devolution might be the better term.

Tim Geithner began his tenure at Treasury with the revelation that he hadn't been paying his taxes, at least not on time. By now he's gone on to overlooking even bigger things. Like the danger of the federal government's spending still more, and therefore driving the country even deeper into debt. But that hasn't stopped him from hectoring other countries about their spendthrift ways.

Just the other day, Mr. Geithner was solemnly lecturing European policymakers on the dangers of not getting their financial house in order. That's right: The American secretary of the Treasury was telling other governments to beware of out-of-control spending. Much like Mme. de Pompadour praising the advantages of chastity. What a show.

If other governments didn't change their spendthrift ways, Mr. Geithner warned at a conclave of the International Monetary Fund, they would invite, among other dire consequences, "the threat of cascading default" and "catastrophic risk." Which is just what his policies and that of this administration have been inviting for some time now in this country.

Do you think the man ever looks in the mirror? And if he does, do you think he is capable of recognizing himself? Or realizing that, when he warns Europe about its profligate policies, he is describing his own?

What next, will Ben Bernanke over at the ever-flailing Fed criticize other central banks for printing too much money?

Will our president warn other nations against investing billions in economic stimuluses that don't stimulate the economy? Or at least not as much as We the People were solemnly assured all that spending would.

Remember how the president's earlier, $900-billion jobs bill was going to keep unemployment safely under 8 percent? It didn't but, he's now assured us, spending another $450 billion will do the trick.

Does anybody believe that -- except maybe those still living in some Keynesian fantasy? But never fear, if this latest shot in the economy doesn't do it, the next one will. And that's just what some economist infected with Krugmanitis will surely recommend when this stimulus doesn't much stimulate, either.

Inflationists have a simple, uniform answer to every problem with their economic theories: Just spend more. They seem blissfully unaware that that's how we got in this mess in the first place. A poor memory isn't required to be a member of the Keynesian club in good standing, but it definitely helps.

What's next? Will the president now caution other governments against guaranteeing $535-million loans to politically well-connected companies (like Solyndra) that, for all their talk of going green, go bust instead? And succeed only in adding to the nation's unemployment rolls. In Solyndra's case, by 1,100 now unemployed employees.

The story of Solyndra' won't be complete until the Feds, in a final touch, put up one of those big signs they love in front of its closed doors: This Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

These are the same people who now lecture their counterparts abroad on the need for fiscal prudence. As if they woud know it when they saw it, let alone practiced it.