Poor Treasury secretary Tim Geithner. The lifetime government official has never worked for evil Goldman Sachs, but no one will believe him. Will he ever be able to shed this Goldman taint?

There are a number of reasons for people to assume that Geithner worked for Goldman:

  • People don't like either Tim Geithner or Goldman Sachs, so he must've worked there.
  • He was head of the big-bank-friendly New York Fed, which essentially made him an unofficial partner at Goldman.
  • During his tenure as head of the New York Fed, he managed the AIG bailout, a controversial taxpayer-financed vehicle to repay debts to Goldman and other banks at full value.
  • Geithner's chief of staff at Treasury, Mark Patterson, was a Goldman man.
  • His predecessor at Treasury, Hank Paulson, used to run Goldman.
  • Look at the guy. He just looks like a weasel. He probably learned that at Goldman Sachs.

Still, as the New York Times outlines, Geithner is constantly having to point out to colleagues, the public and the media that he never worked there, but the truth will never sink in. He's had to correct Michael Bloomberg, the Washington Post, CBS' Harry Smith, Rahm Emanuel's wife, and a furious batch of citizen-interrogators submitting questions to a Wall Street Journal webcast.

This is probably the best encounter, although Goldman isn't mentioned specifically:

At a hearing in April 2009 of the panel Congress created to monitor the financial bailout program, Damon A. Silvers, a labor lawyer and panel member, remarked to Mr. Geithner, "You have been in banking."

Mr. Geithner interrupted: "I have never actually been in banking. I have only been in public service."

His questioner persisted: "Well, a long time ago. A long time."

"Actually, never," Mr. Geithner replied.

"Investment banking, I meant."

"Never investment banking."

"Well, all right," the questioner conceded. "Very well then."

Basically, it would make a lot of critics' arguments more effective if Geithner just pretended that he'd worked at Goldman. Be a sport and help out your critics, won't you, Tim?

[Image via AP]