Volume 23, Number 1

The Poetry of Timothy Geithner

I. To the Edge

If you take it too close to the
then people will start to wonder
what are we doing,
what are we thinking.

II. Risk

Yes, the markets took too much
Now the
is they take too little

III. Haven’t Heard It Yet

And people will have different views
about what’s good for growth
and I haven’t heard them.

But if people got a better idea
of sustaining growth in the short term
of course
we’d be open to that.

I haven’t heard it yet.

IV. Confidence

Confidence in the system
is so fragile
the trust is gone.

One poor earnings report,
a disclosure of fraud,
or a loss of faith
in the dealings
between one bank
and another—
a withdrawal of funds
or refusal to clear trades.

And it could result in a run.
Just like Lehman.

V. Fog

Most consequential choices
involve shades of gray
is often useful
in getting things done.

Note: Timothy Geithner, the current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and former central banker, was one of the principal architects of the bailout of the financial sector.

“To the Edge” – interview on “The Week,” ABC, April 17, 2011
“Risk” – interview with Charlie Rose, PBS, May 6, 2009
“Haven’t Heard It Yet” – interview with Jim Cramer, CNBC, September 14, 2011
“Confidence” – quoted in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men.
“Fog” – quoted in “Geithner at Treasury?” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2008.

—Steven D. Stark