If President Barack Obama wants to boost confidence in his economic recovery plan, he’s going to have to assure the markets that there isn’t just one guy working on it.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is trying to stabilize the nation’s banking industry, implement a housing rescue plan and prop up a plunging stock market – all with about 18 vacant senior positions, virtually the entire upper echelon of his department.
The staff is so faceless that lobbyists have begun trading jokes about a “ghost” bureaucracy, given the many empty picture frames hanging on the department’s walls.
The pressures on Geithner’s schedule were evident on Friday.
The government announcement that another 650,000 people lost their jobs in February sent the market into yet another decline. Meanwhile, the architect of the stimulus package aimed at stemming job losses was attending a task force meeting on rescuing the auto industry.
Geithner’s lack of staff has begun to worry fellow Democrats.
“I worry about the administration, especially with Treasury, the ability to -- to get your team around you,” said Sen. Tom Carper, (D-Del.) said to Geithner at a hearing this week. “Your deputy secretary and your undersecretaries, assistant -- how are we doing there because you need -- obviously, you need help.”
Treasury island: Geithner's lost crew - Jeanne Cummings and Lisa Lerer - POLITICO.com