Pros and Cons of the Top 20 Rejected Treasury Candidates

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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.

Robert Rubin

  • 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.

Paul Volcker

  • 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.

Larry Summers

  • 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.

Mark Cuban

  • 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.

Paul McCartney

  • 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. 

Donald Trump

  • 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.

Jim Cramer

  • 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.

Mick Jagger

  • 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.

Ross Perot

  • Pros: Conversant about national debt levels; has premade pie charts.
  • Cons: Elves not constitutionally allowed to serve as U.S. Treasury secretary.

Dolly Parton

  • Pros: Experience as secretary.
  • Cons: Only workin' 9 to 5.

Santa Claus

  • 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.

Sarah Palin

  • 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.

Mike Tyson

  • 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.

Fools, in case you couldn't tell, this is satire. We plan to bring you more soon.

This article combines contributions from Motley Fool staff members Bill Barker, Bill Mann, and Chris Hill. Bill B. owns shares of, Bill M. owns shares of Goldman Sachs, and Chris owns shares of a magical unicorn. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, this article was written with admiration for (and apologies to) the great John Moe of McSweeney's fame. The Motley Fool has an avowed motto to educate, amuse, and enrich, as well as a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (53)

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  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2008, at 10:23 PM, Sinfest wrote:

    I lulzed; the world needs more lulz.

    Nice, article guys.

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2008, at 3:26 AM, Daretoth wrote:


    Con: No longer publicly traded :( or American owned...

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2008, at 9:45 AM, JGBFool wrote:

    I think Dolly Parton should be reconsidered. The press conferences would be lots of fun, and the music would be good.

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