During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, you hope not to read that:
Even before Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made noises about stepping down, the number of vacancies in top economic posts within the Obama administration was stunning.
The article lists:
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair is on her way out.
- Also departing is White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee.
- There are two open seats on the Federal Reserve’s seven-member board.
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ... and the Federal Housing Finance Agency ... have been run by temporary directors and permanent replacements have not been named.
- The White House hasn’t nominated anyone to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- it also hasn’t tapped people to fill three key Treasury posts – the ones that oversees banking policy, economic policy, and tax policy.
- Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, Jeffrey Goldstein, plans to leave soon himself.
(And this doesn't even consider other unfilled positions, e.g. federal judges.)
Senate approval is one obstacle, but recess appointments are an answer. Unfortunately, it's an answer the president refuses to use even though the economic situation more than justifies it. If Republicans make an issue of it, good, it's a chance for the administration to highlight the degree to which Republicans have put politics above the struggles facing typical households. But, nope, it's better to fight the fire short-handed -- a fire that has done and is still doing considerable damage to middle and lower class households -- than make Republicans mad. Republicans are running around with matches threatening to start new fires if they don't get their way, and the administration seems to think calm, rational negotiation in the face of all of this will somehow win the day instead of allowing Republicans to take them to the cleaners yet again.