Marketplace Scratch Pad

Geithner takes responsibility

Scott Jagow Mar 19, 2009

In an interview about to air on CNN, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admits he should’ve known about the AIG bonus problem sooner. “It’s my responsibility; I was in a position where I didn’t know about those sooner. I take full responsibility for that,” he said.

Good, now we’re getting somewhere. Not knowing about it is unacceptable in terms of effective leadership, but the man does have a lot on his plate, and he’s human. Senator Chris Dodd also admitted his role in approving a provision in the AIG bailout bill that allowed the bonuses to be paid out. He had been denying it.

Please, just be up front and honest with the people. That’s a critical aspect of making progress in the economic recovery. Stop pointing fingers, denying accountability, covering your tails. Be leaders.

John Carney at Clusterstock has this take:

As CNN’s senior political correspondent said about Barack Obama, when these guys say “blame me” it is political code for “move on.” It is, in other words, an attempt to change subjects and end discussion.

It may be. But we do need to move on, and we do need the leadership to acknowledge and comprehend what was so wrong and frustrating about this situation. And learn from it.

Here’s the clip from the CNN interview where Geithner explains himself:

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