Finally, some promising economic news in what has been a steady recent stream of dismal data and developments:
Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner has agreed to stay in the Obama administration.
The master of finance who has so successfully assisted President Obama in boosting the national debt by more than $3 trillion, driving unemployment back north of 9% by spending only $787 billion in stimulus funds, corroding consumer confidence and presiding over the first federal credit downgrading in history has agreed to stick around to continue his impressive work for this Democratic administration.
Geithner is the sole survivor of President Obama's opening economic team. Obama is reported pleased.
So are Republicans. Rumors that Geithner planned to leave government after helping to prolong the debt debate had worried the GOP that Obama might pick a competent replacement who could have a positive economic effect before next summer when voters' impressions start hardening for the fall election.
To ensure the 49-year-old Geithner stayed, Republicans from Michele Bachmann to Speaker John Boehner have vociferously called for his firing. The White House confirmed Geithner's continued employment and Sunday he said, "I love my work."
Geithner added,"We still have a lot of work to do." Which could be a promise or threat.
Recent polls found Obama losing ground against any Republican opponent. The continued tenure of a treasury secretary who couldn't file his own accurate income taxes before being appointed should only help further.
Speaking of polls, a new one out late Sunday, widely overlooked amid concerns with sagging Asian financial markets after the U.S. downgrade, indicates an ominous disconnect between likely voters and those people they elected to government, on all sides.
Rasmussen Reports finds that only 17% currently think the federal government is operating with the consent of the governed. The fundamental question stems from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Nearly seven-in-ten likely voters (69%) say the current government does not have such consent -- and 14% say they are undecided or, more likely, don't know what any of it means.
That 17% is down from 23% as recently as May and is the lowest ever measured.
The results align with polls showing the job approval of Congress also at record lows -- 61% now rank its job as poor, a 9 point jump since June. In June, 8% appraised Congress' job as good or excellent; that number is now only 6%, basically down to the members themselves, their families and staff.
Members now on another month-long recess may hear some of this back home. But the continued pattern of profound unhappiness with all sides could be an early storm warning for any incumbent next year.
Obama administration job approval hits new low
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-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photos: Alex Wong / Getty Images (Geithner); Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty Images (Geithner).