As the stock market plunges, as unemployment soars, and as banks fail, who has President Obama selected to revive the economy? Henry M. Paulson's mini-me, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. It's becomingly increasingly obvious that Geithner is the single, worst choice President Obama has made to join his cabinet. Before he can do any further damage, Obama should consider appointing a Treasury Secretary who can hold a press conference without his voice cracking like a teenager just entering puberty.
Geithner didn't offer a plan yesterday so much as a new faith-based initiative that is more notable for what it doesn't do than what it does. It doesn't impose pay limits on bankers and it doesn't provide any means to assure that they start lending in exchange for billions in handouts. What Geithner's plan, such as it is, would help accomplish is to create a new class of welfare kings, living high on the federal dole even as they tout the virtues of the free-market economy.
Obama set the stage for Geithner by making a big deal at his press conference Monday about not wanting to release any details about the bailout so as to avoid bigfooting Geithner. But what on earth was Obama talking about? Now we know that there weren't any details for Geithner to spill in the first place, which is giving everyone else the willies. Maybe it's no wonder Geithner was suffering from stage fright.
Today Wall Street executives will be grilled in congressional hearings, but it won't amount to much more than theater. The moment, though, for theatrics has ended. It's time for the administration to start acting decisively to revive a prostrate economy or watch its fearful audience start to rush toward the exits.