The Next Treasury Secretary: What's Their Track Record?

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Dean Baker
TPM Café (Talking Points Memo), November 6, 2008

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It would be a really bad start to his administration if President Obama picked a Treasury Secretary who shares a substantial part of the blame for the bubble economy and the financial crisis. It will not be easy to pick up the pieces and get the economy back on its feet, but we would be going in the wrong direction to put one of the people responsible for getting us in this mess in the top economic position in the Obama administration.

Sheila Bair, the current head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, can boast of clean hands. Unlike other contenders, she never obstructed regulation of the $60 trillion credit default swap market. Nor did she push to maintain the over-valued dollar that gave us an $800 billion trade deficit. Unlike many others dealing with the fallout from the housing crash, she has noticed that people are losing their homes and has made preventing this a top priority.

President Obama has a chance to make a fresh start. He would handicap his administration by relying on those whose mistakes helped to bring about about this economic crisis.

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. He also has a blog on the American Prospect, "Beat the Press," where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.