Real reporters and newspapers don’t try to tell audiences what political figures think because they don’t know what they think. But Bob Woodward does not fit the description of the former and the Washington Post does not fit the description of the latter, hence we have a front page account of the battle over the debt ceiling that concludes with a section beginning:
“Geithner thought there was one other consideration. He did not mention it to anyone, not even the president, but he had thought about it a great deal. It was not just that Obama faced an economic choice or a political choice. He faced a moral choice.”
The piece then goes on to explain how Geithner thought it would be horribly immoral to default on the debt because of the price the country would pay for generations.
There are two points to be made here. First, Woodward and the Post do not have direct access to Timothy Geithner’s thoughts. Either Geithner conveyed his thoughts to Woodward, in which case this section should begin: “Geithner said there was one other consideration.”
Alternatively, someone close to Geithner told Woodward what Geithner said, in which case the section would begin: “according to Person X (ideally a person with a name as opposed to “someone close to Secretary Geithner”), Geithner said there was one other consideration.” Okay, but this is the Post.
Let’s get to the substance. While we don’t have any clue as to what Geithner really thought, it is worth saying a word about the likely consequences of a debt default. First, it would lead to a serious downturn and big-time financial crisis. If U.S. debt was no longer 100 percent solid, it would almost certainly lead to a financial freeze-up that made the post-Lehman crisis look like a Sunday picnic.
Read more.. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/debt-default-the-end-of-the-world-and-timothy-geithners-thoughts