Tim Geithner was recently interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin for the upcoming film “Too Big To Fail”. His comments on the future were pretty encouraging (via the Daily Beast):
“It will come again. There will be another storm,” warned Geithner, who in early 2009 succeeded Paulson as treasury secretary. “But it’s not going to come for a while.”
Under mostly gentle questioning from Pulitzer Prize-winning financial writer Liaquat Ahamed and New York Times business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of the book on which the film is based, Geithner said “I’m certain we will” experience another catastrophe—he just couldn’t say when or what kind.
“You will not know,” he answered when Sorkin tried to pin him down. “It’s not going to be possible for people to capture risk with perfect foresight and knowledge.”
And of course he’s right. Mr. Geithner, the fox in the hen house at the NY Fed while the too big to fail banks were becoming the behemoths that they are, was instrumental in ensuring that too big to fail became too bigger to fail. He has been one of the primary players in the build-up of the Wall Street financialization scheme. And worst of all, he knows that it has the ability to cause another crippling storm.
The infuriating thing is that there are rules and regulations that we could implement that would thwart or lessen the damage from any future storms. But no, we choose instead to allow these companies to seek profit maximization without requiring proper risk management. And in doing so, it increases the instability of the entire system. The fact that our leaders understand this is beyond maddening. And it would be funny if it wasn’t the cause of so much hardship.