Obama's Economists Need to Be Near Perfect
Mark Williams, a professor of finance and economics at Boston University, said that Americans' view of Obama's selections will hinge largely on two factors: "The average homeowner has two assets that make up the majority of their wealth -- their home and their 401(k)," he said. "Their 401(k) could be down 30% to 40%, even with the S&P 500 index, and their home could be down 20%. Once those two measurements are stabilized, that'll show how successful the appointments are."
While many economists and market observers praise all three choices, each will be in the unenviable position of performing better than not only their predecessors but their own resumes.
Tim Geithner, whose confirmation as Treasury secretary was pushed back to Wednesday due to an alleged mistake of underpaying his taxes, was the head of the New York Fed when the office was involved in the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and the bailout of AIG (AIG).
While those might be considered relative successes, Geithner's office failed to prevent the demise in September of storied investment bank Lehman Brothers. For that, Geithner has been criticized in some corners. Several financial analysts have argued that the financial crisis would not have snowballed as it did if Lehman had been saved."He was part of the problem, so how can he be part of the solution?" Williams asked rhetorically. "The fact that he has more inside experience and the fact that he spent time at the Fed gives him the inside track. The fact that he hasn't spent his career in the private sector is a plus, as he understands the benefits of regulation and how Washington works."
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