Geithner does not rule out more bank bailouts

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has as much personality as dental floss, but that may not be such a liability. Investors have had enough excitement over the past 18 months or so. Millions have lost their jobs and countless others have lost their sense of financial security. Perhaps a Treasury Secretary lacking is in charisma is the right man for these turbulent times.

In a media blitz Sunday, Geithner was tasked with the unenviable position of having to explain to the American people -- the vast majority of whom did nothing to cause the financial crisis -- why the government needed to funnel more money into a bunch of greedy Wall Street firms responsible for their current woes. Though economists and professional investors may quibble with that interpretation, it does reflect the views of average people.

When ABC's George Stephanopoulos
pressed the Secretary on the possibility of the government giving additional aid to financial institutions, Geithner did his best to convince voters that everything was going to be OK once banks started increasing the flow of credit.

"And we'll cross that bridge when we come to it in terms of whether we need additional resources," he said. "And of course if we come to that point, we'll go to the Congress and give them the strongest case possible and help them understand why this'll be cheaper over the long run to move aggressively."

Treasury has about $135 billion left in TARP money. Geithner did not rule out asking for more money. That's not surprising considering the land-mines ranging from credit cards to commercial real estate lurking on the balance sheets of many banks.

Though his recently announced Public-Private Partnership was well-received, Geithner still has his work cut out for him to try and sell President Obama's economic plan. Critics, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have criticized the administration's economic policy for "not having a great deal of coherency." Others, including economist Paul Krugman, have accused the administration's toxic asset disposal plan for protecting investors at the expense of taxpayers.

Geithner does have to be the life of the party but he does have to convince the American people that he really does feel their pain, and not just in a theoretical sense.
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