Ed Driscoll

"The Good News Is They Hired Someone, The Bad News. . ."

Jennifer Rubin writes, “Lewis Alexander, Citigroup’s chief economist, is . . . being fired? Retiring in disgrace? No! He’s going to the Treasury Department. That’s right. The Wall Street Journal reminds us:”

Mr. Alexander’s role as Citigroup’s chief economist didn’t entail significant management responsibilities. But his optimistic economic forecasts colored executives’ views that the U.S. was unlikely to face a prolonged slump.

“I think that’s not going to spill over more broadly into the economy, and so I think we’re going to have a normal kind of housing cycle that’s going to last through the middle of this year,” Mr. Alexander said in a Feb. 28, 2007, interview on PBS.

In the past five quarters, Citigroup has booked a total of more than $37 billion in net losses, largely stemming from the company’s overexposure to the U.S. real-estate sector.

Jennifer asks, “Is it possible no one really competent wants to work for Tim Geithner? Looks that way.” Perhaps they know that a shakeup is coming soon from the home office. John Hinderaker spots a crucial vote of “confidence:”

Many are speculating that Tim Geithner is being set up to be the fall guy for the disasters of the Obama administration’s early days. So yesterday, President Obama backed his Treasury Secretary 100%:

The White House stood by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday amid widespread outrage over millions of dollars in bonuses insurance giant AIG gave to executives after receiving federal bailout money.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama had confidence in Geithner and the Treasury Department’s oversight.

I don’t know how it works with Treasury secretaries, but we can say this with confidence: if he was a baseball manager, he’d be toast.

Heh–almost invariably in professional sports, once it comes to the “vote of confidence”, it means that the clock is ticking on the replacement of the head coach or manager.

Update: “Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., called today for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to resign or be fired. His spokeswoman, Stephanie DuBois, says that ‘to the best of my knowledge’ Mack is the first member of Congress to do so.”