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Gupta for Surgeon General? Geithner for Treasury? Obama for Irrelevance.

By       Message Cameron Salisbury     Permalink
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It’s hard to believe that the ‘Change We Can Believe In’ candidate could have morphed into the ‘Are You Kidding Me’ man before he was even inaugurated.  It usually takes a little longer before we catch on to the fact that we have been hoodwinked by yet another amateur.

Obama’s early choices for cabinet positions and other posts were questionable from the start.  What is Hillary ‘We’ll Obliterate Them’ Clinton doing as the designee for Secretary of State?  Why is pit bull Rahm Emanuel the new chief of staff?  Why would a  ‘change’ administration keep holdovers from the Bush years? 

But, as events are now showing, worse choices were yet to come.

The nomination of a CNN lightweight still in his 30’s to be the top doctor in the U.S. simultaneously insults professionals in the fields of medicine and public health.  It demonstrates a shallow understanding of important issues by the new man in charge and his posse that is unnerving. 

Sanjay Gupta was probably the only medical spokesman the bunch had ever heard of because he appears on TV.  It’s a leap to believe that on-air exposure makes Gupta an expert at something besides reading a teleprompter.  The transition team would barely have had to scratch the surface to find respected, knowledgeable and experienced professionals who could handle the job without a back-up editorial team or pancake makeup. 

You can almost visualize the thought process that went into his selection: The transition team is sitting around discussing possible appointees for surgeon general. None of them know personally any public health leader. CNN is playing in the background and a  presentable looking young man begins a segment on health care.  Of course!  Make him the top doc!  We’re probably lucky they weren’t watching Scrubs.

Timothy Geithner’s consideration for Treasury Secretary exceeds the bounds of the ridiculous and encroaches on the borders of serious derangement.

Geithner was at Treasury in the 1990s, where he was heavily involved in the multiple IMF-inspired financial disasters in South America and Asia.  Then, during 2001-2003 he was at the International Monetary Fund as director of policy development.  IMF policies have been nothing less than abusive to desperate economies around the world.  In the quest for high returns for investors and in the service of a deeply flawed ideology, country after country was thrown into turmoil, complete with riots, by IMF demands. (Well documented in Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, Naomi Klein, Shock Doctrine, and others.)

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There’s more.

According to Geithner’s biography, he was named president of the NY Federal Reserve in 2003.  He became Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee and a member of the influential financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty.  In short, Geithner was part and parcel of the current economic meltdown in the U.S.  He was also instrumental in saddling the U.S. taxpayer with trillions of dollars in bail out money to save institutions that are now proving beyond salvage, like Citigroup.  Preoccupied with using public money to subsidize his East Coast friends, he has done nothing to rescue the average citizen or the economy.

Geithner’s failure to pay taxes is arguably his greatest travesty.  If confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury he will become boss of the IRS, an organization that routinely dismisses employees for lesser transgressions than Geithner’s years of tax-paying chicanery.  He will become the appointed director or an agency that wouldn’t hire him. 

His Washington enablers want us to believe that Geithner is being  victimized for an ‘innocent mistake,’ as Obama called it.

Oh, please. 

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According to IMF records, media and online sources, the chances that Geithner could have accidentally forgotten to pay $34,000 in employee Social Security/Medicare taxes is nil. 

The public is nor privy to a complete accounting of Geithner’s multiple years of tax-paying flimflam, but we do know that during Geithner’s tenure the IMF reimbursed their employees, separately and specifically, for the payroll tax with explicit admonition that it was to be forwarded to the IRS.  They also had a staff person dedicated to assuring that taxes were paid. None of that stopped Geithner from pocketing it. 

That was no ‘innocent mistake.’ 

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Cameron Salisbury is a biostatistician, epidemiologist and grant writer living in Atlanta.

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