Bloomberg Businessweek

The Dividends Of Wrath

How anger over the financial bailout gave us the Trump presidency

It was late January 2010, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sat slumped in a leather chair as the afternoon sun cast shadows across his ornate corner office. He’d just gotten off the phone with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The economy was, if not exactly healthy, light-years ahead of where it had been when he took the job a year earlier—a moment when the world teetered on the brink of another Great Depression. The financial contagion had been halted. Growth had returned. The stock market was 10 months into a bull run that continues to this day.

But Geithner had the weary resignation of a beaten man. I’d been following him for months for a long magazine profile, and this was our valedictory interview, his chance to pull back and make his best case that the Obama administration had rescued the country from financial ruin. Geithner had every confidence they’d made the right choice by focusing single-mindedly on restoring growth rather than indulging what he derisively called the public’s clamor for “Old Testament justice.” But his sales pitch kept dissolving into fatalism.

Three days earlier, Massachusetts voters had delivered a jarring rebuke, choosing a Republican to fill Democrat

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