Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn told The Daily Caller in a video interview that he views Timothy Geithner as the “most partisan treasury secretary” the U.S. has had in “a long time,” but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
Coburn, the author of “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” was asked by TheDC if he thinks Geithner understands the extent of America’s debt problem.
“He definitely does, but he can’t comment on it because anything he says will drive away purchasers of U.S. debt. I mean, think right now, we’re — is there any demand for a 30-year bond in America, a new issue? Not really. The Federal Reserve bought 90 percent of all the debt last year, or 80 percent. In other words, nobody wants — we’re going to come to a point where people won’t buy our debt or we’re going to have to raise the interest rates on it to where they can,” Coburn said on Capitol Hill.
“We also have very short maturities, which is a great risk for us too because that’s shortening the interest cost but it’s also, ultimately, going to raise the interest cost in the long run. So I think, does he have a handle on it? Yeah. Does he believe we need to make the hard choices? I don’t know. I haven’t had that conversation, but he’s limited in what he can say. He can’t agree with me because if he agrees with me, that drives prices on bonds and effects his ability and the Federal Reserve’s ability to control interest rates. So he has to be careful what he says.”
The public debt is currently $15.7 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury. TheDC also asked Coburn how he rates Geithner’s performance.
“I think he’s the most partisan Treasury secretary we’ve had in a long time and I think that’s been unfortunate. Treasury secretaries need to be about the economy and that’s it, not politics — and when they get in the political realm, they hurt their effectiveness with us, but they also hurt their effectiveness in terms of their policies being able to impact the economy,” Coburn said.
When asked if he thinks Geithner should resign, Coburn had “no comment” because Treasury secretaries “serve at the pleasure of the president.”
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