Geither at Treasury, Richardson at Commerce
It appears that Barack Obama’s economic team is set, with Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Bill Richardson at Commerce.
President-elect Barack Obama has selected Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary, charging the respected head of the New York Federal Reserve with pulling the United States out of an economic nosedive, NBC news reported on Friday. Geithner, 47, had been seen as one of two main candidates for the job along with former Clinton administration Treasury chief Lawrence Summers.
U.S. stocks soared on the news, pushing major indices up more than 6 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 8,000, an important psychological trading level.
“A fantastic choice to help lead the financial markets out of the wilderness,” said Chris Rupkey, senior economist at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York, of Geithner. “A crisis manager par excellence who will hit the ground running as he has been on the case since the global funding crisis began way back in July 2007.”
That the stock market can jump six percentage points on the announcement of a political appointee is worrisome on a variety of levels. But there you go.
Barely rating a mention:
NBC also reported that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson — who was one of a crowded pack of Democratic presidential early this year — could receive Obama’s nod to become commerce secretary. Richardson’s elevation to the cabinet would give the Obama administration its first high-profile Hispanic member as its main liaison to the business community. Richardson was a United Nations ambassador and energy secretary under former President Bill Clinton.
While discussions of tokenism are inevitable, I suppose, it seems odd in the case of Richardson. He’s superbly qualified. If anything, Commerce is something of a demotion for him.