New York Fed President Geithner To Be Obama’s Treasury Secretary

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Yesterday was one of those rare occasions when the Wall Street Journal editorial board and I were in agreement. We were disappointed that President-Elect Obama did not nominate former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker for Treasury Secretary.

The stock market indices made a huge turnaround to the upside in the final hour of trading Friday after media reports surfaced that Obama would nominate New York Federal Reserve Board president Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary.

Geithner was born exactly two weeks after the President-Elect, and as the FT’s John Gapper points out, age is not their only commonality. Both men are experiencing transiting Jupiter in Capricorn conjoining their natal Saturn, indicating increased professional responsibilities. Since their natal Saturn conjoins the USA’s natal Pluto in Capricorn in the second house of the USA chart, restructuring the nation’s financial system will be task #1. Obama and Geithner are also about to experience Jupiter returns.* Geithner spent most of his early years in Asia. He once worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Geither joined the U.S. Treasury in 1988, moving up in the ranks to become Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 1999 to 2001 under Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. He became president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on November 17, 2003.

Geithner was born with the Sun, Uranus, and Mercury conjoined in Leo, the sign of leadership. As I wrote in “Fire at Fed and Treasury Burns Down Bear Stearns,” Geithner stood out even among his fellow fire element compatriots at the Fed and Treasury during the Bear Stearns hearings. Geithner appeared very confident, unfazed by the questions posed by Committee members. He gets his point across in a concise, mostly numeric fashion.

Natal Uranus in Leo conjoining his Sun and Mercury indicates that Geithner’s background is different than previous New York Fed presidents who usually have economic degrees and are steeped in the world of academia. An article in today’s Financial Times describes Geithner as a pragmatist who upon taking the job as head of the New York Fed asked to be tutored by the staff for an hour each day on macroeconomics. He frequently calls up former New York Fed president Gerald Corrigan and Paul Volcker for ideas.

Leo rules all forms of speculation, including the financial markets. And the real speculation is will Geithner summon up Leo’s courage (Sun) to break free (Uranus) from the failed economic ideas and policies (Mercury) of the past by bringing completely new and progressive policies to the financial system? Since Geithner has been at the heart of handling the financial crisis, it can be viewed that his knowledge and experience of it does not require him to “get up to speed” in January. But I think the real question to ask is this: Should someone who played a major role in contributing to the mostly terrible decisions made by the Treasury and the Fed be handed the nation’s purse strings?

The president of the New York Fed has a permanent seat on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) which sets interest rates. Geithner served on the FOMC under Greenspan and Bernanke. Geithner went along with their monetary policy of keeping interest rates ridiculously
low which fueled the housing and credit bubbles. It was Geithner who engineered the plan for the Fed to take almost $30 billion of Bear Stearns distressed assets onto its books, inspired by bank consolidations in Japan during the 1990s. Geithner has supported Paulson and Bernanke’s defense that nothing could have been done to prevent the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The FT article commented that Geithner doesn’t need much sleep, which is a good thing since he’s unlikely to get much of it with Pluto in Capricorn challenging his natal Mars in Libra over the next year. (He first experienced this transit earlier this year around the time Bear Stearns collapsed.) Geithner is going to have to work very hard to achieve the agenda he sets out as Treasury Secretary as many powerful players will do what they can to try to derail his course of action. The July 21, 2009 Solar Eclipse will oppose his natal Jupiter in Capricorn at the same time as transiting Jupiter in Aquarius opposes his Leo Sun. With his Leo lineup conjoining the USA’s Aquarian Moon, it is imperative that Geithner be completely consistent, transparent, and upfront with the public about the government’s financial policies in order to restore economic confidence and trust. On a personal level, he needs to take care that he doesn’t overextend himself to the point where it could affect his physical well being.

I can’t recall what financial news source I read last week that stated that Geithner’s successor at the New York Federal Reserve Bank will be selected by its Board of Directors, not the President-Elect. Members of the Board include Chairmen/CEOs Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan/JPM), Jeff Immelt (General Electric/GE), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo/PEP), and Stephen Friedman of private equity firm Stone Point Capital LLC. Dimon represents Federal Reserve member banks on the Board; the other directors represent the public.

*A Jupiter return occurs about every twelve years when the planetary energy of growth and optimism returns to the position occupied at birth. Geithner has Jupiter in Capricorn, and his return occurs in early January. Obama has Jupiter in Aquarius, and will experience his return a few days later.

Timothy F. Geithner: August 18, 1961 time unknown New York City
President-Elect Obama: August 4, 1961 7:24 PM AHST Honolulu, Hawaii
USA: July 4, 1776 5:10 PM LMT Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No Disclosures.

1 comment:

Jason said...

With the Treasury Secretary on his spending spree he surely isn’t trying to get a good return on the tax payers’ investment. The bailout was to buy up bad mortgage debt but it never did. What is the purpose of the fund? Paulson’s has warrants on many banks and they average 1 – 3 percent when enacted. Yet the cash investment is about 20 percent of the market cap. Maybe the next Treasury Secretary will be less erratic.