The Fiscal Times
Nov. 30, 2012
With the virtual certainty that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be leaving his post shortly after the new year, there is much speculation about who might replace him. At this point, I think it makes more sense to focus on the sorts of qualities the next secretary should have, rather than speculating on personalities just because they are being bandied about in the media...
The qualities one would want in a good Treasury secretary obviously vary with the nature of the economic problems the nation is facing. It also helps a great deal if he has a close personal relationship with the president. I have always liked this discussion of the strengths of Henry Morgenthau, who served as secretary throughout most of Franklin Roosevelt’s long administration, by the historian John Morton Blum:
“He [Morgenthau] chose good people, used them effectively, ran tight organizations, got results, and kept his mouth shut…Above all, his highest ambition was plainly not for himself. It was to serve Franklin Roosevelt.”
I thought much the same could be said of Nicholas Brady, who served George H.W. Bush and whom I served for four years.
I was reminded of Brady’s virtues just this week at a conference sponsored by George Mason University and the Bipartisan Policy Center on the 1990 budget deal. That deal is now remembered mainly because President Bush broke his no-new-taxes pledge, which contributed heavily to his defeat in 1992. I believe it was an act of statesmanship.
Read the full article here
Economic Policy Project