News / USA

    Lew Seen Outside Mold of Past US Treasury Secretaries

    White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew (L) speaks alongside outgoing U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the White House, January 10, 2013.
    White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew (L) speaks alongside outgoing U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the White House, January 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    Jacob Lew, U.S. President Barack Obama's choice to be the next Treasury secretary, is outside the mold of the usual choices for American finance chief, the official with his signature on the country's green-hued currency.

    Jack Lew

    • Current White House chief of staff
    • Director of Office of Management and Budget 1998-2001 and 2010-2012
    • Principal domestic policy advisor to House Speaker Thomas O'Neill from 1979 to 1987
    • Began career in Washington as a legislative aide in 1973
    • Born in New York in 1955
    Most secretaries of the Treasury have been established economists from the country's most prestigious universities or Wall Street finance executives. Lew has made his mark in Washington, serving stints as Obama's budget chief and most recently as his White House chief of staff.

    The dean of the Hofstra University business school in New York, Patrick Socci, said the contrast in Lew's background is a "radical shift" for the Treasury.

    “He's just coming with a different tool kit. He’s certainly an intelligent man, absolutely," he said. "And he certainly has certain skills, but it’s just not the typical set of skills that one would expect in a secretary of the Treasury.”

    Socci questioned whether Lew will have the standing to talk with American corporate executives about how to boost the sluggish growth of the world's largest economy.

    “I don’t think he has the gravitas to sit with CEOs of major corporations to talk about the business environment, and how to move commerce along and create jobs,” he added.

    Mark Vitner, the senior economist for the large Wells Fargo Bank, said he does not see any problem in Lew's nomination being confirmed by the Senate.

    “I think it’s a very safe choice by the president because Lew is likely to represent the administration’s view on economic policies very well and that’s going to be important very soon as we negotiate all the debt deals that are going to come due in March," he said.

    Vitner said Lew's lack of an extensive Wall Street background or credentials as an economist will not matter.

    "He’s going to be thrown right into the mix and I don’t know that the lack of experience is the same thing as the lack of knowledge,” Vitner said.

    Lew, however, does face one challenge, altering his signature to make it passably recognizable for use on U.S. currency. At the moment, his signature on government documents consists of a series of looping swirls.

    But Obama joked that he ordered Lew to make sure that least one letter of his name can be recognized.

    The 57-year-old Lew has engaged in contentious tax and spending negotiations with Obama's Republican opponents in Congress. If confirmed by the Senate, Lew will face immediate contentious negotiations with Congress over raising the country's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit and spending cuts set to take effect in March.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora