The Treasury Secretary spoke at a screening of the film and said two things that should be of more than mild interest to Americans. The first is that a crisis like the one that still affects many sectors of U.S. businesses and the American public will happen again. Geithner was clear that it is more than likely, it flat out will occur but he can't predict when.
The Daily Beast reported on Q&A of Geithner by the author Sorkin. Geithner said, "It will come again. There will be another storm. But it’s not going to come for a while.” He added, "You will not know. It’s not going to be possible for people to capture risk with perfect foresight and knowledge.” In other words, unlike Harold Camping's prediction that the world will end this weekend, the U.S. Treasury Secretary can't and won't set timing for the next catastrophe.
Although the cabinet secretary predicts another tremendous interruption in the financial institutions of the country, he can't endorse making all kinds of risk-taking criminal or even a breach of civil law. "You can’t prevent people from making mistakes…Taking too much risk and making stupid mistakes may not be a crime," Geithner told Sorkin and the audience.
That was in answer to a question about why no one has gone to jail at this juncture, almost three years past the beginning of the crisis. While it is easy to make the statement about a lack of legal consequences for financial managers in the wake of what happened, Geithner teased the audience with this. "That chapter’s not yet written. Don’t reach premature judgments on that.”
Prodded by Sorkin, Tim Geithner gave a more honest answer than one would expect when asked about working with Congress and its members when the hard decisions were made to pass TARP. As one would expect, the politics of re-election hung over the heads of everyone in the House of Representatives and a portion of the Senate. “The politics stink," he said bluntly.
The HBO movie stars Billy Crudup as Geithner, William Hurt playing the role of Henry Paulson, then Treasury Secretary and Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve. "Too Big to Fail" premieres Monday May 23. The trailer is posted below.
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