Geithner on Whiny Businessmen and Occupy Wall Street

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 5 2011 5:07 PM

Geithner on Whiny Businessmen and Occupy Wall Street

Here at the Ideas Forum, James Bennet rescued a rambling Tim Geithner from an interview cul de sac with a good question: Since the Obama administration has done so much for the financial system, why is there so much Wall Street griping about you?

"I think it's inexplicable," said Geithner. "I think people resent the anger directed toward the people who caused the crisis. They sometimes claim it was created by us, that anger, which I think is a deeply unfair judgment. They react to what are pretty common sense observations about the system as if deep affronts to the dignity of their profession. I don't see why they're so sensitive. But they're very wounded." He reconstructed a conversation with aggrieved businessman, who made this very complaint, asking about the Street's lost reputation. "That's something you have to win back yourself."

Bennet went further, asking Geithner if he sympathized with "the Occupy Wall Street movement."

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"You know," said Geithner, "I feel a lot of sympathy for what you might describe as a general sense among Americans that we've lost a sense of possibility." It was back into the cul de sac -- no denunciation, no endorsement, of people saying basically what he'd just said.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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