When a rumor stays around for a long time, it starts to seem like fact. Like that Richard Gere gerbil story: You can only hear it so many times before you start to believe it. A similarly embarrassing rumor has been dogging Tim Geithner since he became Treasury secretary — that he used to work for Goldman Sachs. In reality, Geithner, the former head of the New York Fed, has never worked for Goldman — has never had a job in banking, at all — but despite his repeated assertions to this effect, the rumor persists, and was in fact recently repeated by Mayor Bloomberg.
Today the Times took pity on Geithner, and wrote a piece about this comedy of errors, that reproduced one of the better interactions the Treasury secretary has had on the subject:
At a hearing in April 2009 of the panel Congress created to monitor the financial bailout program, Damon A. Silvers, a labor lawyer and panel member, remarked to Mr. Geithner, “You have been in banking.”
Mr. Geithner interrupted: “I have never actually been in banking. I have only been in public service.”
His questioner persisted: “Well, a long time ago. A long time.”
“Actually, never,” Mr. Geithner replied.
“Investment banking, I meant.”
“Never investment banking.”
“Well, all right,” the questioner conceded. “Very well then.”
Is that clear enough for you? Apparently not: In this morning's Post, NOW president Terry O'Neill suggested Geithner's non support of Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Protection Agency was sexist, adding: "I think he's a man with such deep ties to Wall Street that I don't know how the sexism of that industry hasn't imbued his Treasury...It's the testosterone-fueled attitude that drove our economy off a cliff, and yet the president has advisers that are from that industry."
Sigh. The Richard Gere gerbil story is totally true, though.