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Geithner on Wall Street Prosecutions: Just You Wait!

Tim Geithner went on CNBC today and said that the Administration is getting right on the whole “prosecuting the people who defrauded the economy” thing.

Asked on CNBC about the Occupy Wall Street movement’s frustrations over the lack of criminal charges related to the financial crisis, Geithner said action is on the way.

“You’ve seen very, very dramatic enforcement actions already by the enforcement authorities across the U.S. government, and I’m sure you’re going to see more to come. You should stay tuned for that,” he said.

So keep in mind here, Geithner said that the Administration had already undertaken “dramatic enforcement actions,” so any future ones coming would be along that continuum. So look out Raj Rajaratnam, you might get 11 more years! And maybe we’ll see twice as tough consent orders from the OCC! What’s 2 times 0, again?

Geithner continued:

“We moved very quickly to put in place a much stronger set of rules of the game across the financial sector. Now, we’re now facing a lot of resistance to those rules, but we’re going to make sure that we deliver the promise of those reforms, which is a much tougher set of rules across the system against risk-taking and much stronger protections for consumers,” he said.

Let me rewrite that: “We moved within a year and a half of getting in office to put in place a relatively stronger set of rules of the game, in the sense that 1/8 is stronger than 1/16, across the financial sector. Now, we’re now facing a lot of resistance to those rules, and we’re accommodating that resistance by gutting the rules in implementation. We’re going to make sure that we deliver the promise of those reforms, or at least the promise we made to the finance lobby to back off and let them grow their way back to the top.”

And also, in response to the concerns of Occupy Wall Street protesters:

“What you see is a general sense across the country of concern that the U.S. economy is not growing faster, you’re not seeing incomes rise more rapidly, and people want to make sure that the government, Washington, is acting to make things better now. As part of that, they want to see us deliver much stronger protections for consumers and investors as an economy as a whole,” Geithner said on CNBC […]

“What we’re focused on is trying to make sure that we are doing everything to encourage Congress. … to take some steps now that can make growth stronger in the United States, and tie that to reforms to bring down our long-term deficits,” he said.

If there’s one thing animating those demonstrations on Wall Street, it’s the federal budget deficit. That’s why I’ve seen Pete Peterson and David Walker so much on the human mic.

To the extent that there’s a disconnect between the protesters and liberal elites, I think Geithner just exemplified it.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Geithner on Wall Street Prosecutions: Just You Wait!

Tim Geithner went on CNBC today and said that the Administration is getting right on the whole “prosecuting the people who defrauded the economy” thing.

Asked on CNBC about the Occupy Wall Street movement’s frustrations over the lack of criminal charges related to the financial crisis, Geithner said action is on the way.

“You’ve seen very, very dramatic enforcement actions already by the enforcement authorities across the U.S. government, and I’m sure you’re going to see more to come. You should stay tuned for that,” he said.

So keep in mind here, Geithner said that the Administration had already undertaken “dramatic enforcement actions,” so any future ones coming would be along that continuum. So look out Raj Rajaratnam, you might get 11 more years! And maybe we’ll see twice as tough consent orders from the OCC! What’s 2 times 0, again?

Geithner continued:

“We moved very quickly to put in place a much stronger set of rules of the game across the financial sector. Now, we’re now facing a lot of resistance to those rules, but we’re going to make sure that we deliver the promise of those reforms, which is a much tougher set of rules across the system against risk-taking and much stronger protections for consumers,” he said.

Let me rewrite that: “We moved within a year and a half of getting in office to put in place a relatively stronger set of rules of the game, in the sense that 1/8 is stronger than 1/16, across the financial sector. Now, we’re now facing a lot of resistance to those rules, and we’re accommodating that resistance by gutting the rules in implementation. We’re going to make sure that we deliver the promise of those reforms, or at least the promise we made to the finance lobby to back off and let them grow their way back to the top.”

And also, in response to the concerns of Occupy Wall Street protesters:

“What you see is a general sense across the country of concern that the U.S. economy is not growing faster, you’re not seeing incomes rise more rapidly, and people want to make sure that the government, Washington, is acting to make things better now. As part of that, they want to see us deliver much stronger protections for consumers and investors as an economy as a whole,” Geithner said on CNBC […]

“What we’re focused on is trying to make sure that we are doing everything to encourage Congress. … to take some steps now that can make growth stronger in the United States, and tie that to reforms to bring down our long-term deficits,” he said.

If there’s one thing animating those demonstrations on Wall Street, it’s the federal budget deficit. That’s why I’ve seen Pete Peterson and David Walker so much on the human mic.

To the extent that there’s a disconnect between the protesters and liberal elites, I think Geithner just exemplified it.

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David Dayen

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