|Hank Paulson + Timothy Geithner|
The conversation between Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner was, hands down, one of the best I have seen. I liked so much about it. It was informative, the speakers were likeable, I loved their perspective, appreciated their outlook (there are no easy solutions, the world is full of gray), and most especially appreciated their candor. While I still don’t know the half of what happened and why, I did learn a few key things that made me really satisfied and that shifted my perspective, which is more than I could have hoped for from an hour-long conversation.
First, it seems there could not have been a more appropriate triumvirate of individuals at the helm of the crisis. Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, had spent the majority of his career as an academic where he focused intently on the Great Depression. Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, had spent his career (30 years) at Goldman Sachs. And Timothy Geithner, who at the time was the President of the NY Fed, had experience responding to crises in emerging economies around the world. I got the feeling that as a nation, we were lucky that these three men were in the positions they were at such a critical time.
The second point that really struck me was that here we had a Treasury Secretary who was appointed by a Republican (Hank Paulson served under President George W. Bush), and another Treasury Secretary who was appointed by a Democrat (Timothy Geithner served under President Barack Obama), and they were in lock step with each other on what the problems were, what needed to be done, where they fell short, and what they got right. It was inspiring and encouraging. It made me thankful for how they had worked together, and hopeful that it could be used as a model for crisis management (or even day-to-day politics) in the future.
This disappointing side of this, however, is that at the time, I can only remember seeing people (who were not involved in the decision-making process) bloviating on national television about too much being done (“they’re socialists!”), or too little. It really highlighted to me what a disservice our modern media can be, and has made me really think hard about what type of media I want to consume, and how much credence I give to those proffering their opinions.
As individuals, I was really drawn to both Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner. Hank Paulson was tall, poised, and had a raspy voice that was grandfatherly (and therefore reassuring). Timothy Geithner was fidgety, and seemed a little nervous. But! He was wearing a running watch, and he thought about the words he was using, and both of those things are endearing to me. Plus, when I was looking for pictures of them to use for this blog post, I noticed the range of faces that Geithner has in his arsenal, and really appreciated how he wears his emotions right out there. The transparency seems trustworthy.
|HP, BB, TG|
*Photo credits: top to bottom, zimbio.com, wsj.com, various.
A video of the talk can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ougnrP_hdQ
On to the notes…
On to the notes…