Timothy Geithner: Wikis


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Timothy F. Geithner

Assumed office 
January 26, 2009
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Henry Paulson

In office
November 17, 2003 – January 26, 2009
Preceded by William Joseph McDonough
Succeeded by William Dudley

Born August 18, 1961 (1961-08-18) (age 48)
Brooklyn, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Carole Sonnenfeld
Children 1 daughter
1 son
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Johns Hopkins University
Occupation Civil servant
Website Secretary of Treasury

Timothy Franz Geithner (pronounced /ˈɡaɪtnər/; born August 18, 1961) is the 75th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving under President Barack Obama. He was previously the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Geithner's position includes a large role in directing the Federal Government's spending on the financial crisis of 2007–2010, including allocation of the $350 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. At the end of his first year in office, he continued to deal with multiple high visibility issues, including administration efforts to restructure the regulation of the nation's financial system,[1] attempts to spur recovery of both the mortgage market and the automobile industry, demands for protectionism, President Obama's tax changes, and negotiations with foreign governments on approaches to worldwide financial issues.[2][3]


Family and education

Geithner was born in New York City but spent most of his childhood in other countries, including present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and Thailand where he completed high school at the International School Bangkok.[4] He attended Dartmouth College, graduating with an A.B. in government and Asian studies in 1983.[4] In the process he studied Mandarin at Peking University in 1981 and at Beijing Normal University in 1982.[5] He earned an M.A. in international economics and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in 1985.[4][6] He has studied Chinese[4] and Japanese.[7]

Geithner's paternal grandfather, Paul Herman Geithner (1902–1972), emigrated with his parents from the German town of Zeulenroda to Philadelphia in 1908.[8] His father, Peter F. Geithner, was the director of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation in New York in the 1990s. During the early 1980s, Peter Geithner oversaw the Ford Foundation's microfinance programs in Indonesia being developed by Ann Dunham Soetoro, President Barack Obama's mother, and they met in person at least once.[9] Timothy Geithner's mother, Deborah Moore Geithner, is a pianist and piano teacher in Larchmont, New York where his parents currently reside. Geithner's maternal grandfather, Charles F. Moore, was an adviser to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as Vice President of Public Relations from 1952-1964 for Ford Motor Company.[10]

Early career

Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates in Washington for three years and then joined the International Affairs division of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1988. He went on to serve as an attaché at the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo. He was deputy assistant secretary for international monetary and financial policy (1995–1996), senior deputy assistant secretary for international affairs (1996–1997), assistant secretary for international affairs (1997–1998).[6]

He was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998–2001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.[6] Summers was his mentor,[11][12] but other sources call him a Rubin protégé.[12][13][14]

Treasury Secretary designee Geithner meets Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on November 25, 2008

In 2002 he left the Treasury to join the Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Fellow in the International Economics department.[15] He was director of the Policy Development and Review Department (2001–2003) at the International Monetary Fund.[6]

In October 2003 at age 42,[16] he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[17] His salary in 2007 was $398,200.[18] Once at the New York Fed, he became Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee component. In 2006, he also became a member of the Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty.[19] In May 2007 he worked to reduce the capital required to run a bank.[16] In November he rejected Sanford Weill's offer to take over as Citigroup's chief executive.[16]

In March 2008, he arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns.;[11][20] In the same year, he played a supporting role to Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, in the decision to bail out AIG just two days after deciding not to rescue Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. According to some observers, Geithner severely damaged the U.S. economy.[21] As a Treasury official, he helped manage multiple international crises of the 1990s[13] in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand.[14]

Geithner believes along with Henry Paulson, that the United States Department of the Treasury needs new authority to experiment with responses to the financial crisis of 2007–2010.[11] Paulson has described Geithner as "[a] very unusually talented young man...[who] understands government and understands markets."[20]

Secretary of the Treasury nomination

On November 24, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Geithner to be Treasury Secretary.[22][23]



Geithner, and the Obama administration, appeared to adopt a somewhat confrontational stance towards China's economic policies during the campaign and the nominal period.[citation needed] Geithner, in written comments to the Senate Finance Committee, states that the new administration believes Beijing is "manipulating" its currency and that the Obama administration will act "aggressively" using "all the diplomatic avenues" to change China's currency practices.[24] The Obama administration would pressure China diplomatically to change this practice,[24] more strongly than the George W. Bush Administration did.[25] The United States maintains that China's actions hurt American businesses and contributed to the financial crisis.[26]

Tax scandal

At the Senate confirmation hearings, it was revealed that Geithner had not paid $35,000 in self-employment taxes for several years,[27] even though he had acknowledged his obligation to do so, and had filed a request for, and received, a payment for half the taxes owed. The failure to pay self-employment taxes, in part due to the way his employer reported his wages which was not in accordance with tax law, was noted during a 2006 audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in which Geithner was assessed additional taxes of $14,847 for the 2003 and 2004 tax years. Geithner also failed to pay the self-employment taxes for the 2001 and 2002 tax years (for which the statute of limitations had expired) until after Obama expressed his intent to nominate Geithner to be Secretary of Treasury.[28] He also deducted the cost of his children's sleep-away camp as a dependent care expense, when only expenses for day care are eligible for the deduction.[29] Geithner subsequently paid the IRS the additional taxes owed,[30] and was charged $15,000 interest, but was not fined for late payment.[31] As President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Geithner annually completed an ethics statement noting any taxes due or unpaid, along with any other obligations. Geithner's completed statement did not surface during confirmation hearings.

In a statement to the Senate panel considering his nomination, Geithner called the tax issues "careless," "avoidable" and "unintentional" errors, and he said he wanted to "apologize to the committee for putting you in the position of having to spend so much time on these issues."[30] Geithner testified that he used TurboTax to prepare his own return and that the tax errors are his own responsibility.[32] This statement is in conflict with statements by the Obama campaign that Geithner was advised by his accountant that he did not owe the taxes.[33] The Washington Post quoted a tax expert who said that TurboTax has not been programmed to handle self-employment taxes when the user identifies himself as being employed.[34] Geithner said at the hearing that he was always under the impression that he was an employee, not a self-employed contractor,[34] while he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department of the IMF.[6] Geithner comments are contradicted by the Senate report that showed he was not only informed of his status, but that he actively applied for the allowance.[35]


Geithner is sworn in as Treasury Secretary

On January 26, 2009, the U.S. Senate confirmed Geithner's appointment by a vote of 60–34.[36][37] Geithner was sworn in as Treasury Secretary by Vice President Joe Biden and witnessed by President Barack Obama.[38]

Secretary of the Treasury

Bank bailout

Geithner speaking at the United States Department of Treasury.

Geithner has the authority to decide what to do with the second tranche of $350 billion from the $700 billion banking bailout bill passed by Congress in October 2008. He does not need Congressional approval, but went to Congress on February 10–11 to explain his plans. He proposes to create one or more "bad banks" to buy and hold toxic assets, using a mix of taxpayer and private money. He also proposes to expand a lending program that would spend as much as $1 trillion to cover the decline in the issuance of securities backed by consumer loans. He further proposes to give banks new infusions of capital with which to lend. In exchange, banks would have to cut the salaries and perks of their executives and sharply limit dividends and corporate acquisitions.[39][40] The plan has been criticized by Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman[41] as well as fellow Nobel laureate and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz.[42]

AIG bonuses

Although President Obama expressed strong support for Geithner, the outrage over the AIG bonuses has undermined public support. AIG paid bonuses to executives in its Financial Services division after receiving more than $170 billion in federal bailout aid.[43] Even prior to the election, senior aides to Timothy Geithner have closely dealt with American International Group Inc. on compensation issues including bonuses, both from his time as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as Treasury secretary. In early November, 2008, a committee concluded that the bonuses, which were in contracts signed before the government takeover, couldn't be legally blocked. On March 3, 2009, appearing at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat, asked him about the bonuses that AIG would be paying to financial-products employees "in the coming weeks." On March 11, Geithner called Mr. Edward Liddy, AIG chief, to protest the bonus payouts. Mr. Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke attended a hearing by Congress on March 24, 2009.[44]

AIG payments to banks

In November 2009, Neil Barofsky, the Treasury Department Inspector General responsible for oversight of TARP funds, issued a report critical of the use of $62.1 billion of government funds to redeem derivative contracts held by several large banks which AIG had insured against losses. The banks received face value for the contracts although their market value at the time was much lower. In the report, Barofsky said the payments "provided [the banks] with tens of billions of dollars they likely would have not otherwise received". Terms for use of the funds had been negotiated with the New York Federal Reserve Bank while Geithner was president.

In January 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa released a series of e-mails between AIG and the New York Fed. In these e-mails, the Fed urged AIG not to disclose the full details of the payments publicly or in its SEC filings. Issa pushed for an investigation of the matter, and for records and e-mails from the Fed to be subpoenaed. Rep. Edolphus Towns, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued subpoenas for the records and scheduled hearings for late January. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed would welcome a full review of its actions regarding the AIG payments.[45][46][47][48]

Geithner and his predecessor, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, both appeared before the Committee on January 27. Geithner defended the bailout of AIG and the payments to the banks, while reiterating previous denials of any involvement in efforts to withhold details of the transactions. His testimony was met with skepticism and angry disagreement by House members of both parties.[49][50][51][52]


Geithner with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the opening session of the first U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 27, 2009.

Shortly after assuming his role as Secretary of the Treasury, Geithner met in Washington with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. He told Yang that the U.S. attached great importance to its relations with China and that U.S.–China cooperation was essential in order for the world economy to fully recover.[53]

On June 1, 2009, during a question-and-answer session following a speech at Peking University, Geithner was asked by a student whether Chinese investments in U.S. Treasury debt were safe. His reply that they were "very safe" drew laughter from the audience.[54][55]

Geithner co-chaired the high-profile U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue from July 27 to 28 in Washington, DC and led the Economic Track for the U.S. side.


Geithner weathered criticism early in the Obama presidency, when Republican Rep. Connie Mack of Florida suggested he should resign over the AIG bonus scandal and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby said that Geithner was "out of the loop". Democrats largely joined Obama in supporting Geithner, and there was no serious talk of him losing his job.[56]

Eight months later, Geithner again came under fire from members of both the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Republican Party. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio suggested that both Geithner and Lawrence Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, should be fired in order to curtail unemployment and signal a new direction for the Obama administration's fiscal policy. "We think it is time, maybe, that we turn our focus to Main Street," said DeFazio, speaking for himself and some fellow members of the Progressive Caucus.[57] When Geithner appeared in front of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the ranking House Republican, Kevin Brady of Texas, said to the secretary, "Conservatives agree that, as point person, you've failed. Liberals are growing in that consensus as well. Poll after poll shows the public has lost confidence in this president's ability to handle the economy. For the sake of our jobs, will you step down from your post?" Geithner defended his record, suggesting Brady was misrepresenting the situation and overestimating popular disapproval of his job performance.[58]


Geithner married Carole Sonnenfeld on June 8, 1985, at his parents' summer home in Orleans, Massachusetts. She was working as a research associate for Common Cause at the time. Her father, Albert Sonnenfeld, was a professor of French and comparative literature at Princeton University, and her mother, Portia Sonnenfeld, was the conductor of the Chamber Symphony of Princeton.[59] They have two children, a daughter and a son.[60]

See also



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  15. ^ a b "Timothy F. Geithner". About the Fed. New York, NY: Federal Reserve Bank of New York. July 2007. http://www.ny.frb.org/aboutthefed/orgchart/geithner.html. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  16. ^ a b c Becker, Jo and Morgenstern, Gretchen (April 26, 2009). "Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/business/27geithner.html. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
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  18. ^ Lanman, Scott (24 November 2008). "Geithner Nomination Takes Top Fed Wall Street Liaison". News. Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=antGHYUBhUn4&refer=home. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Timothy F. Geithner" (Bios). Current Members. Group of Thirty. 24 November 2008. http://www.group30.org/bios/members15.htm. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  20. ^ a b Tumulty, Karen; Calabresi, Massimo (25 September 2008). "Three Men And a Bailout". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1844554,00.html. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  21. ^ Sorkin, Andrew (24 November 2008). "Where Was Geithner in Turmoil?". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/business/25sorkin.html. Retrieved March 29, 2009. 
  22. ^ change.gov (24 November 2008). "Geithner, Summers among key economic team members announced today". Newsroom. Office of the President-elected. http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/geithner_summers_among_key_economic_team_members_announced_today/. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Geithner to Be Nominated as Treasury Secretary". CNBC. November 21, 2008. http://www.cnbc.com/id/27844707. Retrieved February 28, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b Montgomery, Lori; Faiola, Anthony (January 23, 2009). "Geithner Says China Manipulates Its Currency". The Washington Post: p. A08. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/22/AR2009012203796.html. 
  25. ^ Drajem, Mark; Christie, Rebecca (January 23, 2009). "Geithner Warning on Yuan May Renew U.S.-China Tension". Bloomberg LP. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aRUmXlbmq7MU&refer=home. 
  26. ^ Moore, Malcolm (January 23, 2009). "Timothy Geithner currency 'manipulation' accusation angers China". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/4320979/Timothy-Geithner-currency-manipulation-accusation-angers-China.html. 
  27. ^ Hirschfield Davis, Julie (January 14, 2009). "Tax problems may plague Obama's treasury pick". Associated Press (My Way News). http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090114/D95MTVI05.html. 
  28. ^ "Documents regarding Treasury nominee Geithner" (PDF). Senate Finance Committee (United States Senate). January 13, 2009. http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2009press/prb011309d.pdf. 
  29. ^ Gandel, Stephen (January 21, 2009). "Tax Tips for Geithner". Time. http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1872925,00.html. 
  30. ^ a b Felsenthal, Mark; Lawder, David (January 21, 2009). "Geithner urges bailout reforms, apologizes on taxes". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2130757020090121. 
  31. ^ Hallow, Ralph Z. (January 20, 2009). "Gingrich urges GOP to fight Geithner". The Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/20/gingrich-urges-gop-to-oppose-geithner/. 
  32. ^ "Geithner Links Woes to Tax Software Used by 18 Million Americans". Fox News. January 22, 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/01/22/geithner-want-double-check-taxes/. 
  33. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123187503629378119.html
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  35. ^ http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2009press/prb011309d.pdf
  36. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session
  37. ^ http://voices.washingtonpost.com/economy-watch/2009/01/geithner_by_senate.html?hpid=topnews
  38. ^ Jackie Calmes (2009-01-26). "Senate Confirms Geithner for Treasury". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/us/politics/27geithner.html. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  39. ^ Brian Knowlton, "Geithner Is Pressed for Bailout Details," New York Times February 11, 2009
  40. ^ E. J. Dionne, "Centrism. Meh." The New Republic February 12, 2009
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  44. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123777083390610069.html
  45. ^ Liberto, Jennifer, " Bernanke: Bring on AIG scrutiny", CNNMoney.com, January 19, 2010
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  47. ^ Son, Hugh, "Geithner’s Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure (Update3)",Bloomberg Press, January 7, 2010
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  50. ^ Ng, Serena and Crittenden, Michael R., " Geithner Defends Big AIG Payouts", The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2010
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  53. ^ "Yang Jiechi Meets with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Geithner". Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. March 12, 2009. http://www.mfa.gov.cn/ce/celt/eng/xwdt/t542442.htm. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  54. ^ Somerville, Glenn (June 1, 2009). "Geithner backs strong dlr, says China's assets safe". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINPEK12423320090601?rpc=44. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  55. ^ Powell, Bill (June 1, 2009). "Geithner's Asia Background Shows on His China Trip". Time. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1902099,00.html. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  56. ^ "Should Geithner Resign?". March 18, 2009. http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/03/18/should-geithner-resign/. 
  57. ^ "The Ed Schultz Show : News". November 19, 2009. http://www.wegoted.com/news/detail.asp?newsID=2720. 
  58. ^ Fullhart, Steve (November 19, 2009). "Brady to Geithner: "Will You Step Down?"". KBTX. http://www.kbtx.com/national/headlines/70530807.html. 
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  60. ^ Romero, Frances, "Obama's White House – Treasury Secretary: Timothy Geithner", Time Specials, December 2, 2008
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Further reading

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Paulson
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Barack Obama

2009 – present
Succeeded by
Civic offices
Preceded by
William McDonough
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Succeeded by
William C. Dudley
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
David Souter
Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
United States order of precedence
Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
5th in line
Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Timothy Franz Geithner (born August 18, 1961) is the 75th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving under President Barack Obama.


  • This plan will work.
    • House Financial Services Committee, March 24, 2009 [1] [2]
  • We have parts of our system which are overwhelmed by regulation. It wasn't the absence of regulation that was the problem. It was despite the presence of regulation you got huge risks built up.
    • House Financial Services Committee, March 26, 2009 [3]
  • [Hyperinflation is] not going to happen in this country, will never happen... [The Fed putting so much money into the system is] not going to create the risk of hyperinflation in the future. We have a strong independent Federal Reserve with a very strong mandate from the Congress, and they will do what's necessary to keep inflation low and stable over time.
  • We believe in a strong dollar ... Chinese financial assets are very safe.
    • Peking University, May 31, 2009 [5]
  • I believe deeply that it's very important to the United States, to the economic health of the United States, that we maintain a strong dollar.
    • Meeting with Japanese reporters at the U.S. embassy, November 11, 2009 [6]

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Timothy Franz Geithner (pronounced /ˈɡaɪtnər/; born August 18, 1961), is the 75th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving under President Barack Obama. He was previously the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Geithner was born in Brooklyn, New York.[1]


  1. "President-elect Obama Announces Top Economic Advisers". http://www.america.gov/st/elections08-english/2008/November/20081124152347esnamfuak0.2744562.html. 


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