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Barr: Tim Geithner's True Legacy
CNBC.com | January 25, 2013 | 10:38 AM EST

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's last day in office is today. It would be hard to find a public servant more misunderstood. He's been vilified by the left as a creature of Wall Street and by the right as a Socialist. The truth is, a generation from now, students of economic history will read about, and understand, how Geithner helped to save this Nation, and the global economy, from another Great Depression. How Geithner helped to lay the foundations for a safer, fairer financial system. And how he helped America navigate global financial storms that threaten our economy.

When President Obama came into office four years ago, the financial crisis had just thrown the U.S. economy over a cliff. The financial stability plan that Treasury Secretary Geithner launched worked: the financial panic ended and the economy began to grow again. Federal investments by the Bush and Obama Administrations are now 90 percent repaid, and net costs of the federal intervention in the financial sector overall are expected to approximate zero. That is a remarkable achievement, and one that critics on the left and right said would never happen.

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