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Former Treasury Secretary Geithner publishes controversial memoir about financial crisis

Geithner on bailing out the banks: β€œIt was very effective in preventing the most important thing, which was to protect people and the global economy from the risk of a second Great Depression.”

By JC Sevcik
Former Treasury Secretary Geithner publishes controversial memoir about financial crisis
Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. In Geithner's recently published and already controversial memoir which has been getting attention Monday, the former secretary of the treasury refers to handling the financial crisis as landing a plane on fire. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Former United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner published a memoir Monday about his role in handling the economic collapse of 2008. The book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, has already sparked controversy in the media.

Stress Test is Geithner's personal account of why he and other Washington regulators made controversial decisions to bail out the big banks.

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"It was very effective in preventing the most important thing, which was to protect people and the global economy from the risk of a second Great Depression," Geithner told USA Today.

But criticisms of and objections to Geithner's account and his reasoning abounded in the media Monday.

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Fox News reported that Geithner's memoir suggests the White house asked him to bend the truth on the role Social Security played in the federal deficit and expected him to express inauthentic outrage over bailouts that, according to Geithner, would have been an unconvincing artifice.

The New York Times covered how poorly Geithner's first public speech went, excerpting from the memoir a behind-the-scenes look at what led to the disastrous appearance.

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Politico reports that conservative economist and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign adviser Glenn Hubbard has accused the former treasury secretary of lying.

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In his book, Geithner claims he said the Obama administration was willing to discuss the plan provided Republicans were willing to raise taxes and that Hubbard replied, "Of course we have to raise taxes, we just can't say that now."

"It is fine for Secretary Geithner and me to have different policy views, but the statement from his book as read to me was not accurate," Hubbard wrote in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal offers a survey of Geithner's comments on the CEOs of several of America's most powerful banks: "I relayed one I had first heard from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: 'The rivets are coming off the submarine.'"

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In an exclusive interview with USA Today, Geithner compares handling the financial crises to trying to land a plane while it's on fire and under attack by terrorists. He admits that he believes the bankers responsible for the collapse should be jailed. He also admits that America's financial system suffers from systemic inequality that was made "absolutely" and "dramatically" worse by the collapse, and concedes that there's no way to predict where the next crisis will come from.

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