December 4, 2008
Now that President-elect Obama has tapped Tim Geithner to serve as secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, it's time to review the runners-up and assess what they could have brought to the job.
- Pros: Consummate Wall Street pro; successful stint as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.
- Cons: Status as Citigroup (NYSE: C ) director and senior counselor no longer seems like a big plus.
- Pros: Experienced; brilliant; known and revered throughout the power corridors of both Washington, D.C. and New York.
- Cons: According to most actuarial tables, is already dead; at 6'7'', 200+ pounds, may accidentally ingest Robert Reich.
- Pros: Previous direct-on-the-job experience; has handled global financial crises already.
- Cons: Daughter Suzanne often gets into trouble with landlords Farley and Roper; ensuing zany cover-ups may involve father.
Cap'n Jack Sparrow
- Pros: Good with treasure, which is close enough to being good with Treasury; no other pirates in the Cabinet.
- Cons: Drunken, slurred insistence to "keep to the Code" not likely to impress at Congressional hearings.
Gov. Jon Corzine
- Pros: Has legally mandated former-CEO-of-Goldman-Sachs (NYSE: GS ) background.
- Cons: Physically indistinguishable from Ben Bernanke, as all bald-headed men with gray beards look identical during a financial crisis.
Pegasus the Rainbow Unicorn
- Pros: Magical; beautiful, multicolored mane of silky hair; able to singlehandedly gore Wall Street wrongdoers.
- Cons: Televised disemboweling of Wall Streeters likely to scare main constituency of 5-year-old girls.
- Pros: Savvy businessman; successful innovator. Propensity for wearing T-shirts in public would bring much-needed wardrobe diversity to buttoned-up Washington scene.
- Cons: Currently under SEC investigation; appeared on Dancing With the Stars.
- Pros: Able and willing to work eight days a week; takes a sad song and makes it better.
- Cons: Avowed motto to "live and let die" ensures no bailouts for any industry whatsoever.
- Pros: Knows how to fire people; highly experienced with bankruptcies in real estate, hotels, casinos, and airlines.
- Cons: Has no demonstrated ability to prevent bankruptcies of any public company he comes in contact with.
- Pros: Seasoned Wall Street pro; lawyer; already Treasury secretary of Cramerica, the Bizarro United States.
- Cons: Ties to law school classmate Eliot Spitzer could lead to hilarious but disruptive series of jokes at confirmation hearings.
- Pros: Well versed in giving and providing shelter.
- Cons: Insistence on telling investors they can't always get what they want not in keeping with Obama "Hope" mantra.
Zombie John Kenneth Galbraith
- Pros: Knows about the Depression; fine economist. Two-time recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Cons: Secret Service unlikely to allow him within 100 yards of the president because of his constant hunger for human flesh. Canadian.
- Pros: Conversant about national debt levels; has premade pie charts.
- Cons: Elves not constitutionally allowed to serve as U.S. Treasury secretary.
- Pros: Experience as secretary.
- Cons: Only workin' 9 to 5.
- Pros: Trusted; reliable; would prioritize strong holiday shopping as path to recovery.
- Cons: Unclear as to whether he has U.S. citizenship; potential landmines in confirmation because of his dependence on undocumented, potentially underaged workers.
You, a proud resident of "Main Street, USA"
- Pros: Salt of the earth; backbone of the country; not too highfalutin like those darn Wall Street guys.
- Cons: You're carrying thousands of dollars in high-interest credit card debt and you were sold a house only a rock star could afford; you have enough problems.
- Pros: Understands small-town Americans; can easily and hilariously be replaced by Tina Fey in case of untimely snow-machine accident.
- Cons: Maverick-y ways make her less likely to bail out airline industry and more likely to sell 'em on eBay, and, also ... you betcha!
Barack Obama's Evil Clone
- Pros: Calm, steady voice of reason; inspiring rhetorician. Very Obama-like on the outside.
- Cons: Obama's Evil Clone created and already owned by Fox News for strategic use throughout the next four to eight years.
- Pros: Would terrify anyone asking for a bailout, thereby keeping the line shorter.
- Cons: Complete inability to keep own face from being tattooed would seem to call his judgment into question.
A Six-Pack of Budweiser
- Pros: Sort of what we most need at the end of the trading day, lately ... before moving on to the hard stuff.
- Cons: None.