Timothy Geithner is in trouble. After a trying confirmation process and the recent popular uproar over the distribution of bonuses by the rescued insurance giant AIG, lawmakers and political pundits alike have called for the Treasury secretary’s resignation. We believe Geithner deserves another shot.

During his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Geithner, President Obama’s nominee for the Treasury post and then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, came under fire for his failure to pay self-employment taxes for a number of years. Though the Senate confirmed him by a 60-34 vote, Geithner was again met with criticism after the emergence of the AIG bonus fiasco last week. According to The Wall Street Journal, aides to Geithner – during his tenures as Treasury secretary and New York Federal Reserve chief – had worked with AIG on “compensation issues including bonuses” since last fall. It remains unclear when exactly the secretary himself learned of AIG’s plans to pay $165 million in bonuses; Geithner maintains that he knew only days before the bonuses where paid.

Outrage over the bonuses has led some Republicans to call for Geithner’s job, including Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Democrats in Congress have defended him, however, and Obama confirmed this week that Geithner will stay.

And stay he should. Geithner is a political independent with vast experience in international economics and economic policy. He was involved in early efforts to stabilize the American economy last year – including the takeover of Bear Stearns in March 2008 – and led the international affairs division of the Treasury from 1998 to 2001. His experience and breadth of knowledge have been praised by members of both parties.

Despite his slow, understaffed, gaffe-prone start, Geithner has much to offer as the Obama administration endeavors to counteract the effects of a devastating recession. Yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.8 percent after Geithner unveiled the Treasury Department’s ambitious toxic asset plan (designed to entice private investors and aid credit markets).

Worldwide recessions are not for the faint of heart, and they don’t go away in a few months’ time. Geithner has made mistakes, without a doubt, but a mind as capable and tested as his should not be cast aside at the first sign of trouble. In another six months, if the Treasury Department has made no progress, Geithner’s role in this high drama should be reconsidered – for now, however, let’s see what he can do.

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