It was a good decision to name Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary when Obama came in at the height of the banking crisis. He needed someone who knew what had happened, where the bodies were buried on Wall Street. Now the crisis has moved on. We need someone who is more an outsider, someone who is not an executive or director of Goldman Sachs. The Geithner move can wait until the health care debate is over, but should come as soon as the system can bear it. He’s not the best man for the job.

I don’t have a recommendation. The two financial people I trust at the moment are Elizabeth Warren and Paul Volker. People say Obama is ignoring Volker; he does so at his peril. It’s understandable, because people say that Larry Summers is so in-your-face that it’s hard to oppose him, but the time is coming to do that. Summers needs to be moved away from the center of power. He should continue to be an advisor, but not the advisor. Between Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, Obama has his hands full of loud, brash, aggressive, pushy Jews. Volker, of course, is Jewish, but seems to be much nicer personally than his competitors; the same goes for Bernanke. Obama should recognize that and draw on Volker (and Bernanke) despite the tantrums of his other Jewish advisors.
Ideally, a new Treasury Secretary should come from outside of Wall Street, perhaps someone from Obama’s old home of Chicago. An academic might be a possibility. Bernanke has done a good job at the Fed, despite coming from an academic background. A businessman or banker is not out of the question, as long as he is not a Wall Street insider.

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