Tim Geithner, I Dub Thee 'Pantywaist of Globalization'

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/29/2012 08:32:00 AM
I've been meaning to make this post for four long, steenkin' years--and here it finally is. Perhaps Timmy thought he got away with stepping down soon as Treasury Secretary, but alas, I've pulled the trigger at the last moment. Anyway, this award is for continually being cowed in the China-bashing exchanges he finds himself in the middle of. In the past, I confess to poking fun at his responses to being made to perform admittedly unenviable tasks [1, 2]. How does piling on $1T in debt annually sound, for starters? My favourite, of course, being his repeated avocations of "strong dollar" policy despite continually asking China to revalue its currency. After all, wouldn't calling for the latter be a "strong yuan" policy that conversely implies a weak dollar is actually in effect?

At this point I guess we'll never know. Since moving from a strict peg to a managed float, the yuan has gained 25%. This doesn't mean that criticism has ceased, though. His soon-to-be former boss certainly kept harping on the currency issue throughout the recent US election. As it so happens, the US Senate requires the Treasury to report on the currency practices of America's trading partners. Eight opportunities have come to "do something" about China. Eight opportunities have gone to "do something" about China. As is usual during election years, Treasury delayed the release of the report scheduled for October for after the elections. And we got exactly the same thing:
The deadlines for the currency report to be issued are April 15 and Oct. 15 each year. But the Obama administration announced in October [this year] that it would delay the fall report until after meetings of finance ministers in early November. That decision also delayed the report until after the November election...

But Sen. Charles Schumer, a longtime Democratic Party critic of China's trade policies, criticized it. "This report all but admits China's currency is being manipulated but stops short of saying so explicitly," Schumer said in a statement. "It's time for the Obama administration to rip off the Band-aid and force China to play by the same rules as all other nations."
Not that the US will ever give up this issue:
Still, Treasury said the yuan remains significantly undervalued. It vowed to keep pressing Beijing to let the currency rise further to "level the playing field for American workers and businesses and support a strong, sustainable and balanced global economy."

The U.S. trade deficit with China reached $29.1 billion in September. It is running 6.8 percent ahead of last year's record pace. It has long been the largest U.S. trade gap with any one country.
Just as Susan Rice is the archetypal Ugly American, Tim Geithner is the archetypal Damp Squib in British-speak.Tim Geithner, for what will probably be the last IPE Zone post on you in your current capacity, I dub thee pantywaist of globalization.