Geithner to Play Dual Roles in China

As reported in the linked article, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will meet with Chinese officials next week to discuss U.S. – Chinese economics.  He’ll be playing two different roles.

Act I:

Geithner, playing the role of George Bailey from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” will throw himself at the mercy of evil banker Mr. Potter, played by China.  Desperate for cash, Geithner will grovel and plead for China not to cut off our line of credit.


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will discuss the Obama administration’s efforts to deal with record U.S. budget deficits in talks next week with top Chinese officials, a senior Treasury official said Thursday.The official said that Geithner would stress to the Chinese that the administration was committed to bringing down the deficits once the country has emerged from the current recession and financial crisis. Officials in China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities, have expressed worries about the exploding U.S. deficits.

Act II:

Geithner, playing the role of Dudley Do-Right, rides to the rescue of  poor Nell Fenwick, a representation of the American worker, and takes on Snidely Whiplash, the evil villain played by China, who has been robbing poor Nell blind and has left her tied to the railroad tracks. 

Geithner will also stress the need for countries like China to do more to boost consumer spending in their countries to achieve a better balance of global growth, the official said. The United States is pushing China to increase purchases of U.S. exports to deal with a huge trade gap between the two countries.

We’ve seen this last act played over and over.  Dudley dashes in to save the day for poor Nell and yet, next week, there’s Whiplash again, holding her upside down and shaking the change out of her pockets.  In the past, the part of Dudley Do-Right was played by the U.S. Trade Representative or an even lower-level flunky trade delegation. 

Now the Obama administration is taking the same approach:  talk, talk, talk.  But at least now it’s his Treasury Secretary going to the bother of making the long trip to China to make the case.  Is it a sign that the U.S. is running out of patience – that real action by the U.S. may be near?  We’ve often threatened action to restore a balance of trade, but we’ve never come through.  But, then again, the U.S. economy had never experienced a complete collapse brought on by that imbalance. 

Stay tuned.  But don’t be surprised to see Snidely Whiplash dragging poor Nell by the hair again next week.

6 Responses to Geithner to Play Dual Roles in China

  1. ClydeB says:

    I would really like to see some more definitive acknowledgement of the real cause of the trade deficit from the administration. This currency manipulation straw man will only go so far. Another realignment of the Titanic deck chairs.
    Another concern, to me, is the amount of US physical assets they are buying with their surplus dollar. We can print enough to redeem much of the debt but the hard assets purchases puts the dollars back in to circulation which just drives the coming inflation.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Won’t happen, since they don’t have a clue what the real cause is. They seem to think it’s due to other countries’ reliance on exports, as though they’ve just been too lazy to try to increase domestic consumption. Of course, their approach is doomed to failure. It’ll be interesting to see how they react when they’re struck by this realization.

  2. Mark Hall says:

    If Dudley Do-Right (Geithner) has only moderate success in clamping down on Snidely Whiplash’s crime spree, he might also consider going after Snidley’s weaker cousins Evil Roy Slade (South Korea) and Boris Badenov (Taiwan).

  3. Mark Hall says:


    Evil Roy Slade was a 1972 made-for-TV movie starring John Astin as Evil Roy Slade.

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