The NYT has a loo-ooong piece in Monday’s paper looking at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s calendar thru the crisis. Of course, for most of the credit crisis he was the head of the New York Federal Reserve, not at Treasury, so that is the vantage from which his daily routine originates.
So, do we learn anything about Geithner? Yes and no. He is even more tightly tied to Wall Street, and Citi in particular, than I had thought. That will merely reinforce the perception out there that Geithner is a pawn of the banks, a hard view to overturn given the demonstrably tight relationship he has with them, replete with private lunches, and, apparently, at least one job offer (Geithner was once offered the position of heading up Citi).
On a more personal level, I also came away thinking his job was over-scheduled and Outlook-infested. All day on the phone, a half-hour at a time, talking to bankers and regulators? Arrrrrggggh, seems the right reaction. Where is the time to think through problems and solutions? To actually, you know, be contemplative about the biggest financial crisis in living memory? No idea. The man was reduced to having a dentist appointment scheduled in a half- hour block one day, including travel time. Good luck with that.
But there is no smoking gun here that I can see. The timelines seem to match the public story, so nothing wildly out of order there. At the same time, Geithner’s conflicts of interest are more vivid than ever, but that is a change in degree, not in kind — we already knew he was a banker’s best friend.
Finally, and just in case anyone’s curious, there are no meetings marked with Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, Illuminati execs, or members of other secret societies. Now, such meetings wouldn’t generally be marked anyway, so that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But then again, there is that private dinner with Henry Kissinger and sixteen guests on September 28, 2008, just after the markets imploded. And sixteen happens to be part of the list of numbers — 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 — which represent factors of the Valenzetti Equation on Lost. Could Tim be …. ? Nah.