Accuracy in Media

Despite his colorful history as Treasury Secretary, The Washington Post hailed Timothy Geithner as the “last remaining member of the President’s original economic team” recounting how his daughter told him “If you were in Iraq, people would at least understand you were trying to help the country.”

Noting that Geithner arrived in the administration amid “questions” about his past tax payments, the Post affirms his credentials as an “independent” who “has a faith in the marketplace that puts him at odds with many of Obama’s traditional Democratic allies.”  Republicans, on the other hand, are characterized as “pushing for an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy” and threatening to block an increase in the debt ceiling, leveraging the prospect of a government default in hopes of forcing deeper spending cuts.”

The Post also claimed that Geithner has “gained influence” and “[pressed] President Obama to curb the nation’s soaring debt.” The Congressional Budget Office can neither confirm nor deny whether Secretary Geithner has succeeded because the President’s latest budget ideas (outlined in his George Washington University speech) are not specific enough for the CBO to score.

The Post also reports that if “GOP lawmakers” fail to raise the federal debt limit, Geithner projects a “devastating default” by the government. This is not a universally held view: House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) argues that bondholders have told him a short technical default accompanied by structural reforms could help the nation’s bond position.

The Post lets the last word go to a former Geithner aide Gene B. Sperling, who says that the Treasury Secretary is “seen as being almost above politics.”  This assertion is unsupported, and seems to exist only to characterize an “architect” of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and stimulus laws as a centrist rather than a crony capitalist.

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