Geithner and Summers Must Go
Leadership: It's not unusual, especially in a lousy economy, for an opposition leader to call for the resignation of an administration's economic team. Still, President Obama would be wise to follow John Boehner's advice.
Let's face it: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers have not performed competently in their jobs. They have come up with one Rube Goldberg solution after another to solve our problems but have instead left us with the prospect of a double-dip recession, trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see and the bankrupting of several generations of taxpayers.
"It's time to put grown-ups in charge," Boehner, the House GOP leader, said Tuesday in biting remarks at a speech in economically troubled Cleveland. "It's time for people willing to accept responsibility."
That last point is key. In recent weeks, as what the White House calls "Recovery Summer" turns out to be a dud, Geithner, Summers, Vice President Joe Biden and others have insisted that prosperity is just around the corner - and that if it's not, George W. Bush is to blame.
But they're not fooling anybody, and some are starting to call the administration out on its underperformance and irresponsibility.
"The pace of job losses is increasing, and Geithner doesn't have a clue on how to end this grave recession," said Rick Sloan, acting head of UCubed, a union-backed group for the unemployed. Sloan calls Geithner "delusional," but he's not the only one in this White House when it comes to the economy.
More than $3 trillion has been spent on stimulus, bailouts, subsidies and other forms of government activism in the economy, and it has gone for naught. Spending as a share of GDP has surged 25% in just two years, leading to average expected deficits over the next decade of $1 trillion a year.
The much-ballyhooed $862 billion Recovery Act? It's begun to deflate, leaving Americans with mountains of debt that will only be repaid through inflation or impoverishing tax hikes.
With the Federal Reserve desperately contemplating more "quantitative easing" - a bureaucratic term for printing money with nothing to back it up - many Americans wonder: What's going on?
Fifteen million people are officially unemployed - but the number nearly doubles if you count those who've quit looking for work or who want to work full-time but can't. In the last three months, the economy has created only 80,000 net new jobs. At that pace, our 9.5% jobless rate will rise, not fall.
Last week's surprising jump in jobless claims above 500,000 - a level usually associated with recessions - was a bad omen. So was Tuesday's report of a record 27% plunge in July home resales.
The American people were told this would be a smart White House, maybe the smartest ever. So where are all the brilliant ideas? If you've failed, you should shift course. Instead, this bunch moves full speed ahead with the same Keynesian madness that's wrecking our economy, industry by industry, job by job.
John Boehner is right: America needs a "fresh start" for the economy. Geithner and Summers should go. Neither has any private sector experience of note, and it shows. Our only hesitation is that Obama, who seems not to understand basic economics at all, might replace them with someone even worse.