Geithner goes for a laundry list, not a dramatic gesture

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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has just finished his first big speech. The contents had already been so widely reported that there weren’t any big surprises. The main message that Geithner seemed to be trying to get across was that, while he had no big plan to solve the financial crisis in one fell swoop, he intended to proceed with more clarity and transparency than his predecessor. Which shouldn’t be too hard.

Stock market investors appeared to be disappointed, with the S&P 500 now down about 3.5% on the day. Then again, stock market investors are easily disappointed ninnies.

There are two cures for financial panic: dramatic action and the passage of time. Geithner seems to be of the opinion that, with the panic substantially abated since last fall but a lot of expensive problems remaining, the moment for dramatic action has passed. He reportedly fought off efforts by others in the Administration to come up with something more crowd-pleasing today. A long slog it is, then.