Another one for the “what is this doing in the back of the paper?” file:
Former Fed chief Paul Volcker last week called the personnel situation at the Treasury Department “shameful.”
“The secretary of the Treasury is sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries,” Volcker said, “at a time of very severe crisis.”
President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, asked by a reporter for comment, said he “wouldn’t quite agree with everything that our friend Mr. Volcker said,” adding: “I don’t think that the secretary is alone at the Treasury Department. I think there are many able people assisting him.”
Maybe so, but Secretary Timothy F. Geithner still does not have a deputy or Senate-confirmed undersecretaries or assistant secretaries to help him. And it’s not because the Senate has been going at its traditional, snail-like pace confirming people. (That will be, as sure as night follows day, a problem down the road.) The fact is, the White House has sent no nominations to the Senate for any of those positions.
And the problem, as Volcker also noted, is a severe case of Daschle-itis — with a strong dose of Geithner-itis — that has sparked an intense spate of re-vetting of potential nominees. We’ve heard the process compared to some rather unpleasant medical procedures. According to one estimate, as many as a third of potential nominees were found to have had some tax questions to answer.
That ran on page A15 of yesterday’s Washington Post.
Did you know that the Obama administration has not yet named anyone for those eleven supporting roles (one deputy, two undersecretaries, and eight assistant secretaries) at Treasury? I didn’t.
We on the right have enjoyed the post-Daschle, post-Geithner, post-Killefer, and now post-Kirk joke, “Why do Democrats approve of higher taxes? Because they don’t pay them.” But if one-third of Obama’s administrative nominees are in this same boat, it is no longer a joke. These people presumably knew they were potential appointees for a future Democratic administration. And they cut corners anyway.