Am I Miss Informed?: American Elections "Department of 'Huh?!'" Department
I must say the interaction of Siri with this Prius's Bluetooth system is quite bizarre.

Zachary Goldfarb on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Zachary Goldfarb (June 7, 2011):

Treasury’s Timothy Geithner finds his footing: Geithner has not only survived but quietly gained influence, which he has used to press President Obama to curb the nation’s soaring debt even at the expense of spending that might more directly spur employment. His success at driving the agenda signals his status as the president’s closest economic counselor….

The policies molded by Geithner — and the balance they strike between slashing the deficit and supporting the economic recovery — could also ultimately determine whether Obama will win a second term. Geithner has successfully pressed Obama to announce a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, though the president ultimately proposed doing it in 12 years rather than 10, as the Treasury secretary wanted. And Geithner has argued for an approach that would include tax increases, spending cuts and politically explosive changes to government retiree programs like Social Security and Medicare….

Geithner says Obama must tackle the deficit now if he wants the government to be in a position to support the economy in the future and to continue to protect the elderly and the poor. “It’s been my view for some time that unless he played a major role in shaping and negotiating the broad fiscal framework… we would be left without the capacity to do a whole range of things that are really important,” Geithner, 49, said in an interview. “I have been a consistent advocate of him doing that early and often.”…

By early last year, Geithner was beginning to gain the upper hand in a rancorous debate over whether to propose a second economic stimulus program to Congress, beyond the $787 billion package lawmakers had approved in 2009. Lawrence Summers, then the director of the National Economic Council, and Christina Romer, then the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, argued that Obama should focus on bringing down the stubbornly high unemployment rate. This was not the time to concentrate on deficits, they said. Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, wanted the president to start proposing ways to bring spending in line with tax revenue. Although Geithner was not as outspoken, he agreed with Orszag on the need to begin reining in the debt, according to current and former administration officials….

Once, as Romer pressed for more stimulus spending, Geithner snapped. Stimulus, he told Romer, was “sugar,” and its effect was fleeting. The administration, he urged, needed to focus on long-term economic growth, and the first step was reining in the debt. Wrong, Romer snapped back. Stimulus is an “antibiotic” for a sick economy, she told Geithner. “It’s not giving a child a lollipop.”…

By the middle of last year, Geithner’s fortunes had shifted. Even the gargantuan bailout of American International Group by the federal government wasn’t looking so bad anymore…. [T]his was one in a series of successes Geithner was enjoying. Banks were paying back hundreds of billions of bailout dollars to the government. Ambitious legislation to overhaul financial regulation had finally passed Congress. The financial system was on the mend. And Geithner’s influence with the president was growing….

By April, Geithner had gotten Obama to sign on to $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but not quite as fast as the Treasury secretary hoped…. Geithner has assured lawmakers that the administration recognizes the dangers posed by mounting debt, including possible erosion of investor confidence in the United States, and is taking deficit reduction seriously…