Geithner Unconvincing as Friend of Dollar


"unless the journalists decided. . .to be polite, they should have laughed Geithner out of the room."

The literary critic George Steiner has argued that Germany was unable to produce any great novelists in the post-War period because the German language itself had lost its integrity and vitality in the service of Hitler's and Goebbels' nefarious goals. Is it possible the English language is about to suffer a similar fate, vitiated by the lies our leaders tell to make the nation's reckless economic policies somehow seem prudent? Consider U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner's declaration concerning a "strong dollar" yesterday during a roundtable discussion in Tokyo for reporters: "I believe deeply that it's very important for the U.S. and the economic health of the U.S. that we maintain a strong dollar," said Geithner. "We bear special responsibility for trying to make sure that we are implementing policy in the U.S. that will sustain confidence not just among American investors and savers but investors around the world" that the U.S. will fix its budgetary problems as its economy improves.

Come again? Was the man perhaps speaking in code so that the reporters might read between the lines? We don't know what kind of story they may have filed, but unless the journalists decided collectively in advance to bend over backwards to be polite, they should have laughed Geithner out of the room. For his part, the Treasury secretary treated the press conference like an open mike night at some third-rate comedy club. We doubt that he would have had the effrontery to make such ridiculous statements before, say, the National Press Club in Washington. D.C. Or would he have? Maybe we're wrong about that, since not only did the Journal fail to ask any of the right questions, it did nothing to suggest anyone other than Geithner was present in the room. There were no quotes from Japanese officials, no questions from reporters, and no presence to evince even a mote of skepticism. The article's author was one Takashi Makamichi, and we would infer that he was capable of translating any reactions that may have been critical toward Geithner. But if this was the case, Makamichi evidently decided not to rock the boat.

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