Bringing Up the Rear: Treasury Secretary Tim Transparency Geithner and his Band of Banking Sadists

Yeah, I know… you’re thinking I picked an easy target.  Like, maybe I’m getting lazy.  Almost like going hunting and shooting a deer wearing bifocals and pushing a walker.  Well, not true, my jump-to-conclusions friend.

I didn’t want to go after the man who thinks bankers should always be bailed out, but never imprisoned… the man who handles FASB like most people handle a Suggestion Box… the man who got investors to embrace pretending as part of a financial strategy… the only adult male to make Elizabeth Warren check YES on waterboarding.

No, I didn’t want to bother with little Timmy Geithner, but after what went on when he invited a group of bloggers to Treasury in mid-August, he left me no choice.  It’s almost like he wanted to be featured in this column.  After all, Bernanke’s been here.  Sheila the Care Bair’s been here. President Obama did a stint on these pages for a month at the beginning of 2010.  I even welcomed Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr into my Rear-of-the-Month Club in 2009, but until now… no Treasury Tim.  Maybe he was feeling left out so he decided to do something so incredibly odious that he knew I would be powerless in the face of his jackassedness.

Well, if that was the case, Timmy my boy… touchdown!  You made it by a mile, my loathsome pal.  In fact, just for future reference, you could have done something one tenth as hideous and hateful and I still would have scooted your cute little backside right to the front of the line of backsides that wait patiently for their chance to brought up by me.  So, I guess it’s very well done there.

I’d like to think that, since you’re reading this in the latter part of September or even in October, you’ve already read about what went on at the Department of the Treasury back on August 16th and 18th when Tim decided to host an intimate gathering at which some of the country’s best-known bloggers would get to listen to Treasury officials wax pathos, albeit anonymously, about a range of topics… most compellingly, about HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program.  Or, as it should be known by the time you’re reading this, “Hopeless for Homeowners,” or possibly by a new acronym, which I’m guessing is either CRAMP or perhaps CRAP.

I must admit, I have been having a ball lately reading all of the Johnny-come-lately journalists and bloggers who recently started claiming that they knew all along that HAMP was an abject failure, as if they’d been preaching that gospel since Inauguration Day, 2009.  Why?  Because I’m the only writer who’s been saying in no uncertain terms that HAMP was a tragic and cruel waste of time since the day Obama introduced it while giving a speech in Phoenix on February 19, 2009, if I remember correctly. Back then, no one else was saying “boo” about the new President’s plan… that was when he was still uber-smart and was favored to fix whatever it was that was broken in America and around the world.

Me… I didn’t care what everyone was swooning over… didn’t give a damn about the economic stimulus… bridges, infrastructure, condoms, reseeding the mall in Washington, whatever.  I was waiting for him to do something about the foreclosure crisis, that at the time of his inauguration was causing more Americans to circle the drain that any force since the Great Depression.  It was abundantly clear then that the spread of the foreclosure crisis would bring a depression of a kind never imagined by the generations who would experience it this time around.

So, Obama handed the ball off to Tim Geithner, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, but entirely baffled by a tax return…. Oh, why not, people?  Hope and change, remember?  Look, he’s young like Obama… that Volker guy ‘s old and Larry Summers doesn’t think chicks can do math.

Geithner had been partly responsible for the decision to let Lehman Brothers go under, for the TARP fiasco, and for American International Group (AIG) paying its creditors in full with taxpayer money.  So, it’s not like he didn’t have a track record.  As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Geithner served under a board of directors headed by JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon.  And as the pièce de résistance, for his chief of staff, Geithner chose a former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.

So, fine… better late then never for the journalists and bloggers… they finally agree with me when I say, HAMP is a prodigious failure.  Now, I figured, we could get something done and save the country.

But Treasury officials told the bloggers that they knew all along that it wouldn’t work, that homeowners would be foreclosed on left and right, but, they explained, that was okay with them.  In fact, it was a good thing.  They only wanted HAMP to slow down the pace of foreclosures because if they had come to quickly when the banks weren’t strong to handle them, they would have gone under.

“Officials pointed out that what may have been an agonizing process for individuals was a useful palliative for the system as a whole.”

No, I’m sorry but no, damn it.  I don’t even know what a palliative is, but it doesn’t matter.  No, no, no.

Geithner, you elitist piece of garbage, you do not get to torture American citizens because you think it will benefit the banks.  Who the hell do you think you are?  Did my president know about this?  Because you imply that he did, and if that’s the case then he should be impeached.  No American president would ever condone what you are describing and if this one did, he is not fit to lead our country.

Mr. Geithner… people have taken their own lives over what you’ve allowed to happen.  Children have gone to bed night after night scared to death, not knowing why their parents are so afraid… or so angry.  Marriages have ended.  Fathers have sat up at night wondering if their life insurance policies will pay off after suicide.  And all of this and more continues to this day and yet there is no plan to change a thing.  Because you’re happy that Wells Fargo isn’t suffering too terribly much.

And why?  Because Citibank or Bank of America would have gone under if the foreclosures would have come at a faster pace?  Bullshit.  You think that it’s because of HAMP that it’s taking banks a long time to foreclose?  You’re a moron, Tim.

If banks were going to go under by foreclosing too quickly they would have slowed the pace themselves.  We didn’t need you to invent a fake loan modification program and lie to the American people about it in order to slow down the pace of foreclosures.  Besides they could have MODIFIED THE LOANS, Timmy.

Before you showed up with HAMP banks were modifying loans much more frequently.  Is that what you wanted to do, STOP MODIFICATIONS?  So you invented a program that would do just that by promising to modify 3-4 million loans?  Did Obama know of your plan?  Did the President of the United States know that this outcome would be considered a success?  Is that what your cohorts at Treasury are saying… off the record, of course.  Cowards.

Mr. Geithner, you should be incarcerated for the rape of the American people.  You know what caused this crisis and you know damn well that it wasn’t some guy in Stockton, California with a 600 FICO score, not making a mortgage payment.  How do you sleep at night?  Do you even know what you’ve done to countless thousands of people’s lives so that the banks wouldn’t have to foreclose too quickly?

Or, maybe you’ve got something like a child labor program on your drawing board… next time are you guys at Treasury are going to be telling bloggers: Well, it must have been a strain on those kiddies, but hey look… productivity is up six points?

The showers are on Mr. Geithner.  We’ve seen, heard and felt enough of you.  Resign now before you sink the Democratic Party’s control of the House.  Because I’m here to tell you… there are hundreds of thousands of people that don’t respond to polls… until they arrive at theirs.  And then they’ll close that curtain and see your face, remember the misery of HAMP… and they’ll cast their vote for fried chicken and salad before they vote for an incumbent, no matter who it is.

Watch.  And learn.

Mandelman out.

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