Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kid Geithner and the Dragon of Deep Downturn

What are we to make of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? He was supposed to be a hero, a master of the financial universe, ready, willing and able to tame capitalism's fire-breathing Dragon of Deep Downturn, who, like Haley's comet, only comes by every 75 years or so .

He made his debut on February 10, 2009 as Treasury Secretary. He failed in a most spectacular way, squandering, according to the Economist, the opportunity to save the world from a financial black hole. Reviewing Gethner’s efforts, economist Willem Butler commented that “picking through the entrails of this multi-faceted, surprisingly incomplete, seriously underfunded, occasionally well-designed but mostly inadequate, counterproductive and unnecessarily moral-hazard-creating set of proposals was just too depressing.” In short, it was sophomoric.

As Shakespeare noted in Jaques famous monologue from As You Like It
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

What part is Mr. Geithner playing? What are we to make of him? Our hero is turning out to be an odd one. Did he not practice his lines? Has he not read the script? Did we expect too much of him?

It may be time to consider a more appropriate stage name for him.
Mr. Geithner is often referred to as Timothy, but since his inauspicious opening act as Treasury Secretary, ‘Timothy’ does not seem appropriate. The man does not have the gravitas to carry the formality and dignity of ‘Timothy’. Cross out ‘Timothy’.

Some media refer to Mr. Geithner as Tim, which initially gave the impression that this rumoured genius was just a regular guy. Unfortunately, based on his plan, that may be the problem, he is just a regular guy, when the world needs a leader. Also ‘Tim’ conjures up the image of Dickens character, ‘Tiny Tim’, and possibly even the ukele-playing singer of the sixties whose signature song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” could become Geithner’s approach to the banks. Unless his act is to become a comic tragedy – for the world – as well as him, let’s cross out ‘Tim’ and ‘Tiny Tim’ for the time being.

Similarly, ‘Timmy’ would not be appropriate, unless Mr. Geithner continues to shrink in stature and credibility.

What then for a stage name?

My suggestion is ‘Kid’ as in Kid Geithner. It has a nice , gunslinger sound to it. It reflects the inexperience and relative youthfulness of Mr. Geithner. But, more importantly, it has an edginess to it, arrogance even. Arrogance and inexperience - a powerful combination when you think about it. It's what the American people voted for. The change they've been waiting for.

While he may have fumbled his first play, you can’t count him out. He’ll be back. He's a risk taker. He can grow.This allows the audience to breathe a little easier. This is, after all, high drama. No one said it was going to be easy, not even the President. So the suspense continues to build. The dragon continues to flame the markets, killing jobs left and right. Fear runs rampant over the land and throughout the world.

And what if our hero fails? Then he’ll be Timmy the Kid. And the wise man Tall Paul is ready in the wings preparing for Act Two.

1 comment:

Arti said...

Shakesphere's always right and describes the situation aptly..