What could possibly be the point of this?
In the midst of debates on financial regulation and China’s currency in April, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner sat down to discuss the U.S. economy — with comedian Jon Stewart.
Geithner and Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” held an off-the-record meeting at Stewart’s office in New York on April 2, according to Geithner’s appointments calendar, updated through August on Treasury’s website.
Geithner didn’t stay for a television interview with Stewart although other administration officials — most notably President Barack Obama last week — have turned up for on-camera chats.
Sure, Jon Stewart is smart. He’s influential with Obama’s base. And I’d rather have the Treasury Secretary meeting with “our” comedian than with “their” rodeo clown, radio buffoons, and FOX-y Friends.
Treasury has this to say about the meeting, which doesn’t really address Jon Stewart’s economist bona fides:
“Jon Stewart is influential in America, so we took the opportunity for the two to meet and to discuss the economy,” Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske said in an e-mail yesterday. Stewart’s program has poked fun at Geithner, including a segment last year about the Treasury secretary’s trouble selling his New York home.
There’s also this, of course:
A bit grayer and world wearier, maybe, but there’s no mistaking the family resemblance between NYSE Chief Operating Office Larry Leibowitz and his kid brother Jon Stewart. Unlike the Daily Show host, Leibowitz mostly keeps a low profile, although he did find himself in the spotlight even before his appearance at the Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit on Monday. The Wall Street Journal interviewed him in a story about the NYSE’s effort to turn some high frequency traders — who have been chipping away at the exchange’s business — into exchange floor traders.
Which, for those fascinated by timelines and disbelieving in coincidences, appeared on Reuters’ website four days before TIm’s meeting with Jon: the Monday before their Friday meeting, in fact. Had Geithner found himself a back-channel to the COO of the New York Stock Exchange that wouldn’t require disclosure by either party?
Or does Tim simply value Jon Stewart’s economic advice?