PORTLAND, Oregon, April 25 Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner sought on Wednesday to reassure Americans that
the Obama administration was doing what it could to rout out the
bad actors from the worst financial crisis since the Great
"The wheels of justice are turning now," Geithner said at an
event in Portland after touring a factory there. "They are not
turning as fast as people would like, but we have the best
system in the world for making sure we can enforce the laws of
the land," he said.
Geithner suggested that holding people accountable for the
wreckage caused by the recent housing collapse and the ensuing
financial meltdown was not that simple since most crises were
not caused by criminal activity.
"Most financial crises are caused by a mix of stupidity and
greed and recklessness and risk-taking and hope," said Geithner,
who helped tackle the crisis for the Bush administration when he
was the head of the New York Federal Reserve and has been urging
Europe to act more aggressively to contain its debt problems.
"You can't legislate away stupidity and risk-taking and
greed and recklessness. What you can do is make sure when it
happens it does not cause too much damage and to do that you
have to make sure you have good rules against fraud and abuse,
better protections and you force banks to hold more capital
against their risk," he said.
Although civil charges have been filed against some of the
biggest Wall Street banks in connection with the financial
crisis, no household names have gone to jail.
At the event, Geithner shot down reports that he was
interested in becoming the president of Dartmouth College, his
alma mater. Geithner did not elaborate on his future except to
reiterate that he planned on staying until the end of the Obama
administration's first term.