Thursday, June 19, 2014

Krugman reviews Geithner

Krugman's review of Geithner's book about the 2008 financial crisis, Stress Test in the New York Review of Books.

There’s a curious change in tone about two thirds of the way through Stress Test. Up to that point—basically, up to the stress test itself and its immediate aftermath—Geithner tells a tale of heroic activism, of good men and women pulling out all the stops to save the world. Thereafter, however, Geithner turns apologetic and self-exculpatory. He acknowledges that more stimulus and debt relief would have been good things; he claims that he wanted to do much more, but that practical difficulties and political opposition made stronger action impossible. The can-do hero of the financial crisis, endlessly creative in finding ways to bypass institutional and political obstacles to do what needs to be done, suddenly becomes a passive observer of events.

Is that really how it was? I’m sorry to say this, but Geithner doesn’t appear to be a reliable narrator here.