I'll grant that you have to be a super-wonk to be willing to listen to Ezra Klein and Tim Geithner discuss fiscal and monetary policy for 45 minutes. I'm not an economist and I certainly don't play one on the internet - but I have always been terribly curious about Geithner. From the day President Obama announced his nomination to be Treasury Secretary, he has been vilified almost across the board. When that happens to someone I don't understand, I get terribly curious. So I'll blame my wonkishness on that. I watched the whole thing!
Most of what Geithner said is what I suspected he would. A lot of the criticism he's taken from both the left and the tea partiers is about his role in "bailing out the banks" at the height of the Great Recession. But I felt he did a pretty good job of explaining that what was most threatening to the global economy was that we were experiencing a financial panic. He acknowledged that our first instincts during a moment like that are to punish those that are responsible. But...that would be the wrong move. Because if we do, the whole industry could collapse and that would be devastating - not just for Wall Street - but for Main Street even moreso.
Overall I was pretty impressed with the cool head Geithner demonstrates that was likely just what this country needed during such a dangerous period (even if he does come across as charismatically challenged). Given that I'm not an economist, I could be wrong about that. If so, I'm really open to hearing about it. What I'm not open to are overheated accusations that he was just a "tool of Wall Street." Engage his arguments and show how they are wrong, or how an alternative would have worked better.
In the meantime, for any other super-wonks out there, here's the interview.