Thu, 19 Mar 2009 17:39:36 +0000 – By Alice StewartMedia Consultant/Journalist
It's time for Teflon Tim Geithner to step aside or be kicked to the curb. The tax-cheat Treasury Secretary has dodged enough bullets, behind the shield of the Obama administration, and enough is enough.
Americans are furious over the millions of tax dollars spent on AIG bonuses, and the dark cloud of suspicion as to who knew what -- and when -- hangs over Geithner's head.
Despite the storm of controversy, President Obama continues to express his "complete confidence" in the rule-bending treasury secretary who did nothing to stop the outrageous $165 million bonuses after AIG received more than $170 billion in federal bailout money.
"Tim Geithner didn't draft these contracts," Obama said. "He's making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand. We need to give him support."
Playing a bad hand? He was at the table dealing the cards.
As head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, Geithner was a key architect of the financial bailouts and should have been fully aware of the bonus payout provisions. But the ethically challenged secretary claims he didn't know about the bonuses until last week. I find that hard to believe.
Public outrage over executive compensation is at an all time high -- to the point that some AIG employees have reportedly received death threats over recent bonus payments.
AIG Chief Executive Officer Edward Libby admitted the company's multimillion-dollar bonuses were "distasteful" while testifying before a House Financial Services Subcommittee. He told lawmakers he's asked executives to give back at least half of their bonuses -- bonuses that slid through a last-minute loophole in last month's economic stimulus bill.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd originally denied any involvement in adding AIG bonus protection language to the stimulus bill. Dodd now says he was pressured by Treasury officials to add language which exempted all bonuses that companies who received federal bailout money had promised to employees before Feb. 11, 2009. Republicans weren't in on that closed door meeting. The language was added, approved by the House and Senate, and signed into law before anyone had time to read the entire bill.
Dodd told FOX News that Treasury officials were concerned that a "flood of lawsuits" would come if the change was not made. Lawsuits from whom? Overpaid AIG executives who didn't receive their bailout-funded bonuses or the 73 former AIG employees who couldn't cash in on their retention bonus?
The Treasury Department -- with Geithner at the helm -- should have been more concerned about the "flood of anger" from American taxpayers over the multimillion-dollar bonuses.
The Obama transition team looked the other way when they realized Geithner cheated on his taxes to the tune of $38,000. Now the Obama administration praises Geithner's intelligence and diligence in dealing with "the AIG mess," as they like to call it. That mess happened under Geithner's watch.
Secretary Geithner has lost trust of the American people, members of congress, and the markets. He needs to go. The administration needs to find a replacement who can restore faith in our financial system. That would be change I can believe in.