WHEN GEITHNER WINS OUT…. There’s nothing wrong with President Obama taking in competing ideas from his top aides. It’s discouraging, though, when he considers the discussion, and sides with Tim Geithner over David Axelrod on the issue of financial institution accountability.
The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.
In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.
Mr. Geithner, who will announce the broad outlines of the plan on Tuesday, successfully fought against more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid.
He resisted those who wanted to dictate how banks would spend their rescue money. And he prevailed over top administration aides who wanted to replace bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.
The entire NYT piece is worth reading — though the details are subject to change once the final plan is unveiled — and not all of the plan is discouraging. But this sentence helps underscore why Geithner shouldn’t have won the internal argument: “[F]or all of its boldness, the plan largely repeats the Bush administration’s approach of deferring to many of the same companies and executives who had peddled risky loans and investments at the heart of the crisis and failed to foresee many of the problems plaguing the markets.”