) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner lost his cool with fellow regulators who aren't marching to the administration's beat on financial reforms.
Geithner reportedly launched an all-out cussing tirade Friday in a meeting with
Chairman Ben Bernanke,
Chairman Mary Schapiro and
Chairman Sheila Bair.
The blowup is apparently Geithner's way of getting everyone to fall in line with President Obama's plan to revamp the U.S. financial regulatory system, according to a report in the
Wall Street Journal
, which naturally cited unnamed sources.
We can only assume that the "people familiar with the meeting" that aired this dirty laundry came from the side of the regulators who received the tongue lashing.
I imagine it was very amusing for Ben Bernanke to see his former subordinate ranting like a political big shot.
Sounds like Geithner put on quite a show. No doubt his fellow regulators, who represent quasi independent authorities, feel duly cowed.
This administration wants action and lock-step conformity to the master plan. There's no room for dissent when the president is trying to show he's got things under control.
It's bad enough that big banks like
Bank of New York Mellon
are getting out from under the government's thumb by repaying taxpayer bailout money.
Now the administration can only pull the strings at
Bank of America
, plus a bunch of smaller banks with no particular political clout.
If Geithner can't get the rest of the regulatory team to play by Obama's rules, the chances of a big political win on the finance front will diminish.
Congress will hesitate if even a single agency chief has doubts, and then the moment may be lost.
I wonder if we're witnessing a variation of the good cop, bad cop strategy, with Geithner obviously playing the heavy.
The next move may be for Obama to invite everyone to the White House for beers.
--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.
Glenn Hall is the New York-based editor in chief of
. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at
The Orange County Register
and as a news manager at
in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at
in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.