I know that Geithner was much maligned during the whole financial sector crisis. He clearly was unready for prime time when it came to being the Obama administration’s public face of the situation, not to mention having too many fingerprints from his Bush Administration days on things that didn’t work out well. So I was very surprised to see he was appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program today. And even more surprised to watch the segment, and see how steady and thoughtful and reasonable he was. I was very impressed.¬†Republican, small-government Scarborough was impressed as well.

Watch for yourself. What do you think?

Watching the Obama Administration sometimes is like being on a roller coaster. At any moment, your grip is tight, your teeth are clinched and you’re screaming for mercy. But I have to give him and his team credit. He is steadily and thoughtfully and methodically working through the huge issues of our time. Listen to this Geithner interview with an open mind, and I think you have to give serious credit to Obama’s strategy for handling the economic crisis and instituting financial reforms for the future. This guy is good.

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The NY Times is reporting new estimates from the Treasury Department about the extent of the government’s exposure from the TARP programs. Some of the highlights:

  • Treasury Department loans under the TARP program now total $370 billion.
  • Of that amount, a net $328 billion is projected to be recovered. That includes profits on TARP investments. The losses are centered on the TARP bailouts to GM, Chrysler and AIG. Bailouts to banks are expected to be net positive (more gains than losses).
  • The improved picture lowers the estimated deficit for the fiscal year by $200 billion.
  • Most of the exposure comes from the TARP I program from October 2008. Of the additional $500 billion in authority granted in February (TARP II), only $7 billion has had to be expended.

Of course, the article points out that there are other huge government exposures related to rescuing the financial markets, including a trillion dollars of mortgage-backed securities purchased by the Federal Reserve. But looking at just the TARP piece of the government intervention, is it just me, or does this emerging picture demonstrate a vastly more successful TARP program than we first imagined? I wonder if Geithner’s critics are¬†going to be willing to reevaluate his performance.