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Looking back at Secretary Geithner's legacy

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner approaches the podium to speak on President Obama's approach to deficit reduction on May 17, 2011 in New York City.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner cleaned out his office today. It's his last day on the job. Coincidentally, or not, Wall Street kept on climbing. Bloomberg's Nela Richardson says she has mixed feelings about Geithner's legacy on the job.

"He was the man we needed at the time we needed him, but he had a lopsided record," she says. "Banks are better capitalized, they're better off than they were before the crisis, but they got bigger under his tenure. We still have 10 million homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than what their homes were worth. So lopsided, at best. He got us through the crisis, though."

Meanwhile, the markets have remained on an upward scale, with the Dow and S&P reaching five-year highs. But CNBC's John Carney warns this isn't the time to drop everything into the markets.

"I would be very nervous. We've had a dramatic increase -- we're up 12 percent in the last two months or something," says CNBC's John Carney. "If I were an investor...I would say, you probably just missed the big rally. Don't go piling into stocks right now."

Listen to the audio above to hear all the analysis. And here are some weekend reading suggestions from our guests.

Richardson makes these picks:

  • The New Yorker's Jill Lepore asks how much military is enough. Defense cuts are a huge issue and large part of deficit reduction debates.
  • Bloomberg Government's Robert Litan writes about a backdoor way to cut down "too-big-to-fail" banks.
  • From Al Gore, "the man who invented the Internet," an article about how the Internet changes the way we think.

And Carney suggests these:

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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nothing like not holding those in authority responsible for their lack of holding the 'evil doers' responsible. so i hold you, kai ryssdal responsible. you are the 4th branch of government, when the other 3 branches fail, and you don't hold them to account, you fail

since the ones who instigated the policies which led to the tremendous economic upheaval were not held to account for their misdeeds, it will happen again. we can point to media stories exactly like this failure to pinpoint where the next financial crisis began

Kai - you failed. You let Nela get away with the crack about Geithner leaving so many people owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. It's bad enough the government bailed out so many banks and other industries, so now we are supposed to bail out homeowners upside down too? What's next - bailing out the stupid investor who looses money in the stock market. Perhaps the Fed needs to add to the already long and ridiculous requirements on mortgage lenders a requirement that people sign statements similar to those when opening brokerage accounts - buying a house involves risk, you may loose money on it, etc. On the flip side, is the government going to want 50% of my profits if I make money on sale? If so, I need to find a bigger rock to hide my money.

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