Charles Gasparino | Jack Lew: bad news for the US economy

Yes, Jack Lew’s bizarre signature will look pretty awful on our currency, but the real ugly is what he means for our economy.

Lew, President Obama’s choice as the country’s next Treasury chief, will be a carbon copy of his predecessor, Tim Geithner: a drone who’ll mindlessly carry out the president’s short-sighted economic agenda, no matter how silly or disastrous the policy.

When Geithner took over at Treasury in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many on Wall Street expected big things. After all, he had a stellar resume: president of the New York Fed after serving in a top post at the IMF and in the Clinton Treasury Department under Bob Rubin and Larry Summers.

The markets shot up when he was named to the job, as traders applauded the appointment of someone they thought was a key architect of the 2008 banking rescues, which staved off a total collapse of the financial system and a likely depression.

But the markets soon turned south, as Geithner showed his true colors. Truth be told, Geithner had been a side player in the bailouts, which were arranged mainly by Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. But (as people in the markets came to realize) he was a key player in the crisis: As New York Fed president, Geithner was the key guy in charge of making sure the big banks like Citigroup didn’t load up on risky assets — which of course they did, which is why the taxpayer-financed bailout became necessary.


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