Responding to critics, Geithner claims, ‘I’ve never had a real job’

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, April 25, 2010 21:23 EDT
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner might not have ever held a “real job” according to anyone cut from blue collar cloth, but his resume is quite well padded after years of hob-knobbing with the world’s most powerful people in government, finance, banking and the media — in spite of what he might claim to the press.

Specifically, Geithner claimed during a recent CNN interview, “I’ve never had a real job,” remarking on the popular myth that he’s worked in banking and on Wall Street for much of his life.

This is only partially true. While he’s never worked manual labor or customer service, Geithner’s resume is much more cultured than he makes it seem.

The National Names Database, which tracks the social networks of the rich and powerful, lists a number of interesting associations in Geithner’s past, including the International Monetary Fund, Kissinger Associates, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group.

Though these groups are only quasi-governmental organizations, the Journal characterizes Geithner’s body of work as entirely based in government.

That he’d spent his life in banking and on Wall Street “is part of a narrative that hardened,” Geithner recently told CNN host Fareed Zakaria. “People came to view the judgments we were making through the prism of a myth … it’s actually very damaging. It’s completely false, of course, and it, you know, should have been corrected a long time ago.”

Though not a governmental organization, Geithner was part of Kissinger Associates from 1985-1988, after having recently graduated with a masters in international economics and east Asian studies from the School of Advanced International Studies. During that same period, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was under contract with Italian bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) Consulting Board for International Policy, which made approximately $4 billion in unreported loans to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Said directly: BNL, which helped provide financing that would ultimately arm Iraq, was a client of Kissinger Associates while Geithner worked there.

Thoug accused of misleading the public on BNL’s relationship with Iraq by Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-TX) in 1992, Kissinger professed to gave no knowledge of the loans, but did not resign his post at BNL until 18 months after the scandal broke. The former Nixon administration official and former boss to Mr. Geithner would later be chosen by the Bush administration to oversee the 9/11 Commission, but he stepped down after tremendous outcry by families of the victims.

Geithner’s time at the IMF and Bilderberg Group are also likely contributing factors to the mistaken impression that he’s spent a lifetime working in banking and finance.

The 186-member-nation IMF has seen its role in international finance increase dramatically in recent years as both a bouy and burden to poor nations, which often accept IMF financing for ambitious projects but come up short on repayment. Some have argued this model is by design. The group recently sold over 400 tons of gold to enhance its lending capacity as a way of making it less dependent on lending revenue to cover expenses.

Washington-based IMF recently saw an additional 13 potential countries join 26 other nations in committing money to the so-called New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), a third-world lending program which was originally targeted at 500 billion dollars.

That amount swelled to $600 billion after President Obama and congressional Democrats extended $100 billion in credit to the IMF under its New Arrangements to Borrow, explaining that because the group offered an exchange of interest-bearing assets the credit posed no addition to the U.S. deficit.

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been a vocal proponent of a new “global” currency that would replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve. Proposals along these lines have mainly centered upon the IMF overseeing a currency traded only by governments, based on the group’s “Special Drawing Rights”.

The group recently said world economies are in for a painful period of “rebalancing,” which The Washington Post interpreted as meaning for wealthy nations, “Suck it up. The party’s over.”

Additionally, Geithner’s time with the Bilderberg Group could have certainly enhanced the myth of his resume: the organization is a favorite target of conspiracy theorists due to its annual “invitation only” meeting of the world’s most wealthy and powerful individuals, including many banking and finance elite along with members of the news and entertainment media.

It’s critics claim Bilderberg plans to orchestrate a financial calamity that would topple the U.S. economy from its dominant position, though the group insists their yearly meeting is informal and does not directly affect public policies the world over.

The Treasury Secretary has also put in time with the RAND Corporation, a centrist thinktank first established by the U.S. Air Force, focused mostly on foreign policy and national security. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a highly influential foreign policy thinktank.

In other words, “what I say is that I never had a real job,” Geithner told the Journal.

With a history like Geithner’s, such a statement might lead one to wonder how he defines real work.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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