One of the weird things about the transition period is that all of the speculation and editorializing tends to revolve around the actual personnel being floated or rumored as opposed to a broader discussion of what qualities characteristics and resume one would want to see in the various posts. So here’s an op-ed I wrote trying to sketch out my thoughts on the main criteria for Treasury:
Starting with the very first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, the office has, traditionally been held by a denizen of Wall Street. But at this moment, whatever the benefits of hands-on experience with finance brings, it comes at high cost: a tendency to believe that what’s best for Wall Street is necessarily best for the country as a whole.
But the inescapable fact is that the interests of taxpayers and Wall Street firms will often be in direct conflict, and we need someone at Treasury whom we can trust to represent the former over the latter.
So there are two simple criteria for president-elect Obama’s treasury secretary: First, no Wall Streeters; second, no one who helped to create the current financial crisis.