We Need to Make It Work

President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner, finally testified at his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday after a week delay caused by the disclosure of his failure to pay income taxes several years ago. Evidently, this issue was discovered in early December and disclosed to the Senate panel responsible for examining Mr. Geithner’s nomination.  However, it was not disclosed to the public until last week.  Only then did the Senate Finance Committee decide to delay his confirmation hearing to investigate further.  

Whether or not paying his taxes was just an honest mistake on Mr. Geithner’s part is not the larger issue here. The larger issue is the lack of disclosure and transparency into the nomination process.  Mr. Geithner’s comments to the committee were ironic given the situation.  Here is an excerpt from his prepared testimony about the much maligned TARP program.

I know there are serious concerns about transparency and accountability, confusion about the goals of the program, and deep skepticism about whether we are using the taxpayers’ money wisely.  Many people believe the program has allowed too much upside for financial institutions, while doing too little for small business owners, families who are struggling to keep their jobs and make ends meet, and innocent homeowners.  

We have to fundamentally reform this program to ensure that there is enough credit available to support recovery.  We will do this with tough conditions to protect the taxpayer and the necessary transparency to allow the American people to see how and where their money is being spent and the results those investments are delivering.  And we are going to do that.  This is an important program and we need to make it work.

Mr. Geithner is right in his comments.  We need to make the TARP program work and the only way to do that is to provide full disclosure and transparency.  Without it, investor confidence will not return to our financial markets anytime soon.

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About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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