I cannot go into the details, as the entire conversation was off the record — with an adversary of Hank Paulson’s.

However, I can tell you that, despite disagreeing with the bailouts & TARP that was put into place under his regime at Treasury, Hank Paulson may actually be a decent guy.

When you look at the rest of the parade of folks who helped contribute to the crisis — from the people at Treasury (Paulson, Geithner, Summers, Rubin) to the Fed (Greenspan, Bernanke) to Senate (Gramm, Leach, Bliley, Schumer), there certainly is plenty of blame to spread around a bunch of unsavory characters. Greenspan deserves much more blame than Bernanke (I also believe Bernanke is a decent man).

But Paulson did a few things that are not known, and probably wont be publicly revealed until the end of this year — if at all. His subsequent actions since leaving Treasury have actually surprised me.

This actually comes from an adversary of his. I will reveal all when I get permission, or when the book comes out, if ever — and if not, well, you just have to trust my judgment on this.

More to come later . . .


UPDATE:  February 7, 2012 4:57am

Geez, y’all completely misread this.Settle down.

I didn’t say I upgraded him to Saint — I thought he was an god-awful jackass who oversaw the greatest theft in history, transferring trillions from taxpayers to incompetent bankers. After leaving Treasury, Paulson did a few things that surprised me and made me think he was more decent than I previously did — thats all.

However negative I was previously about current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, after Monday’s lunch I am even more negative than ever.

Category: Bailouts

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

71 Responses to “My Newfound Respect for Hank Paulson”

  1. louis says:

    What the !!!!, They got to you? What did he know that the rest of us don’t and why is it such a damn secret?

  2. kwc says:

    Yeah, even Mugabee probably has a likeable trait or two as well.

  3. gloeschi says:

    I think I would also become a “decent” guy once I made $487m, tax-free.

  4. GetReal1 says:

    Paulson must have known that the entire economy was a ponzi scheme and was about to come unglued and that we must paper over the problem in order to extend the game.

    I think we knew that already.

    I’m sure that everything would have fallen apart and everyone would have been much poorer, heck I was betting on it. I got out of the markets in Dec 2007 and did not have any money in any major bank. I was itching at the chance to buy into certain mid-size banks when the majors collapsed as the mid-size ones would buy the biggies assets for $0.10 on the dollar. Needless the say I missed out on that deal. Thanks Hank!

  5. Pantmaker says:

    de·cent (dsnt)
    1. Characterized by conformity to recognized standards of propriety or morality.
    2. Free from indelicacy; modest.
    3. Meeting accepted standards; adequate: a decent salary.
    a. Morally upright; respectable.
    b. Kind or obliging: very decent of them to lend you money.
    5. Informal Properly or modestly dressed.

  6. TLH says:

    Really? Let Dylan Ratigan interview him.

  7. The Window Washer says:

    You’re a stand up guy Barry.

    At the time I thought Hank was a doing the best that could be done in a bad situation. Over the last couple years it’s been a death by a thousands cuts as the stories have come out. The Hedgie meeting being the last.

    Good to hear the first impression was at least 50% correct.

  8. The Window Washer says:


    Read the post again. Use some judgement, bigotry is boring.

  9. PeterR says:

    Nice tease for a new book BR!

    What happened to The Truth Now?

    Ask Mr. Paulsen for his permission to publish, or post why he declined giving permission.

    Now THIS would be an interesting item.

    Or did you promise not to ask such a question?

    Have you crossed the line?


    BR: Not my book, and when someone confides to you “I can only tell you this if its off the record” — I agree to hear it. Glad I did.

  10. Sunny129 says:

    I am all EARS to know what did this ‘decent’ guy did in the interest of public, I mean Joe at the Main street??

    Beside being implicated using TARP in bailing out Banks, he was key in getting GS got the designation of Bank Holding Co ( from an investment Bank to access the TARP!) but the same for ‘inexplicable reasons’ request was rebuffed from LH, as head of one of the largest 5 institutions ( as a CEO of GS) actively removing the cap of leveraging above 1:12 to 1:40+ at SEC and last, but NOT the least the clandestine meeting with GS top officials in Moscow as Tres Secy!

  11. Woof says:

    What’s the point of this post? Name dropping? I don’t get it.

  12. The Window Washer says:

    OK everybody it seems like this is one of those post where no one has read the top of the comments.
    Here you go.

    “Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated.”

  13. The Window Washer says:

    Barry calls it as he see’s it and since the bailouts he’s taken a lot of shots at Paulson. Paulson has chosen to remain mostly silent.
    Tonight he’s saying he see’s Hank in a different light.
    Much easier than going through all his blog post over the last 5 years and editing them.


    BR: Thanks — I still think what he did was wrong. I just think he might be a slightly better person than I previously believed.

  14. Bill in SF says:

    My Newfound Respect for General Motors, post bailout.

    Ever wonder where all that bailout money went; besides, you know, jobs and things?


    Has Paulson ever even owned a Chevy? And, can he sing?

  15. mns3dhm says:

    Were you sober when you wrote this? Think, man. Jesus.

  16. maynardGkeynes says:

    BR, did you notice a giant seed pod near your bed before you went to sleep last night?

  17. PeterR says:

    ‘Fess up BR, on why you would post such a tease, please.

    This is not your usual style.

    Why post The Truth about NOT posting The Truth?

  18. boston says:

    Saying Paulson was a decent Secretary of the Treasury, appointed by Bush the 2nd, is like saying Carter was a decent President. In truth, not bad at the job, but not visionary either. What they did / do out of office might be impressive, and why not? They got to see power up close, and can use that knowledge, plus whatever brilliance got them there earlier (Paulson’s a Harvard MBA, Eagle Scout, etc.; Carter served in the Navy, was a great Governor of Georgia, etc.) and do good things after serving in government. I think they both are smart, educated, and got to see our political economy up close. Will they stand out, over time? No. Maybe it’s more like “the less dirty of the dirty sheets” to some. Maybe it’s “they tried for incremental improvements when some people wanted (we needed) revolution” to others. Maybe it’s just they were normal human beings caught up in events that overwhelmed them. It’s been known to happen, to presidents and treasurers. Paulson (and Carter) made mistakes (denying the housing bubble, hostages in Iran, etc.) but no one ever said they were stupid. I enjoyed the piece in NY (The end of Wall Street as they knew it) from earlier today on TBP and Paulson get’s a sympathetic review, there too. Nice to see a more humane understanding of the Great Recession, or one could say Wall Street is getting around to PR and trying to repair their place in society. Anyway, again, great article link to the NY story. I never would have seen it if it wasn’t for this blog. As for this post, BR is a tease. C’est la vie. I hope there is another book, in the future, with more of the inside scoop(s). It doesn’t change what we already know. Greed led to a growing divide between Main St. and Wall St. The questions remain, how are we going to contain the banks and bankers, and work together to grow the rest of the country, and the world.

    My two cents.


    BR: I never said he was a decent Secretary of the Treasury — I think he might be more decent a human being than I previously believed.

  19. Christopher says:

    Fuck Hank Paulson….

  20. SOP says:

    “He may be a decent guy… He may not be as “unsavory” as the rest … ” (paraphrase)

    That is what they said about Jeffrey Dahmer when comparing him to Ted Bundy, Eddy Gein, and John Gacy.

  21. Transor Z says:

    Okay, but for the rest of us mere mortals who weren’t at the meeting or on the phone call, we’ll wait for actual data, thanks.

  22. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    I gotta’ tell ya’ BR. It’s going to have to be really good. Like like the miracle of loaves and fishes, good.

    I mean, it would have to be something along the lines of Paulson being the one, not Seal Team 6, who popped a cap in Osama Bin Laden.

    Or maybe he gave all of his money to the US Treasury and agreed to take the Treasury Secretary job again, for an annual salary of $51,914 and standard benes, AND will testify truthfully, without benefit of immunity, to any question posed to him by investigators into the banking scandals that took place during his tenure in the industry.

    Jeez. This is going to have to be REALLY good.

  23. Tarkus says:

    If it has to do with giving him credit for trying to avert a second Great Depression that he was instrumental in creating, that’s credit he’s been trying to give himself from the beginning.

    I hope he enjoys his hundreds of millions from the misery he helped bring about, because it doesn’t look good for him when the final accounting is done.


    BR: No, it s a series of small things he did since leaving treasury that were surprisngly humane. None of it involved him writing a check, just stepping into a few situations to do the right thing when he did not have to.

    I still think his reign as Tres Secy was ruinous — I just think he is a less of a creep personally than I previously did . . .

  24. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    He’s going to give us a reach-around?

  25. digistar says:

    Somebody call Barry and tell him his blog has been hijacked!

  26. bulfinch says:

    “He may be a decent guy… He may not be as “unsavory” as the rest … ” (paraphrase)

    That is what they said about Jeffrey Dahmer when comparing him to Ted Bundy, Eddy Gein, and John Gacy.”

    Ha! Exactly! The only difference being that Hank Paulson doesn’t drink his joe from a mug made out of baby skull; I’m also fairly certain he hasn’t got a deep freeze chock-full with fresh cutlets of drugged runaway boys; and I’m going to bet he’s never even come close to tooling around in a VW Bug with a rigged passenger side door looking for some company…

    …I know you’re being funny, but you actually diminish any real and deserving criticisms that could be made about a man like Paulson with this sort of thing.

  27. bulfinch says:

    “He’s going to give us a reach-around?”

    He was a wrestler.

  28. gloppie says:

    If Hank Paulson is a decent guy I’m a rocket scientist….

  29. stevesliva says:

    Jon Corzine was his nemesis, so that must make him good, right?

  30. Frilton Miedman says:

    On a personal level, I’m absolutely positive he’s a decent guy.

    Just another bricklayer in the road of good intentions.

    I grew up in a major North East metro area, at the personal level there were countless decent guys there too…”good fella’s”, they always treated their neighbors, family & friends well.

    The problem was the system they belonged to, each decent guys in their own right, collectively notsomuch.

  31. gkm says:

    You mean that after he helped drive the car off the cliff he tried to make amends by taking in the family dog? Sounds like a guilty conscience to me. But what do I know? Exactly the same as before I read this bit.

    Btw was there any discussion about how he was just testing the ethics of the hedge fund managers he gathered right before the shit hit the fan? How about the $15 mill he didn’t pay in taxes by taking the treasury job that put him in a position to shelter GS and take down Lehman? You know what? Shit still stinks even if I don’t see the minutiae of it.

  32. DrSandman says:

    Dude, you’ve gone off the deep end. First you say that Jimmy P is no longer smart because he writes about things that you disagree with on a political basis. Now you post that the mother-of-all-inside-traders isn’t that bad? WTF?

    I guess Dahmer wasn’t that bad because he left a little behind for others?

    You’ve let your politics cloud your judgement. And your poor-man’s technical trading is going to lose your clients a lot of money.


    BR: Wow, your reading comprehension is awful. I said Jimmy P’s politics ruins his otherwise fine mind for economics;

  33. 45ACP says:

    I’ve been following you almost since the your blog’s inception and this is only my second comment in all that time.

    This post pushes credulity to the edge, but, an least for me, not over. I must say, however, that it was initially a “WTF” moment.

    Since “Trust Me” is not a good strategy for investing, or anything else for that matter, I’ll simply reserve judgement, arch an eyebrow and wait for some answers.

    Hope you don’t take too long because from the tone of many of these comments I’d say you have a lot on the line.


    BR: No money on the line — it was merely a personal observation about something that surprised me.

  34. Topspin says:

    Right, besides the bailouts and TARP he’s a real hero.

    “His subsequent actions since leaving Treasury have actually surprised me.” Yeah, all that insider stuff that really moves the markets and keeps people from being foreclosed on, out of a job, taking their kids out of college and decreasing the 15% of citizens who are technically in poverty.

    Guilt sometimes does that to you.

    This is the kind of post that shows you’re only human. I am learning to be thankful for these posts, like you saying you are “middle class,” because no one is perfect and if you were, or appeared to be, it would be complete bullshit.

    Thanks for keeping it real.

  35. eliz says:

    So you think he’s a decent guy. Who cares? I’m sure some people thought Hitler was a decent guy. I’m sure some people thought Gandhi was a schmuck.

    TARP was an act of financial terrorism. Paulson’s role in TARP speaks volumes about his character.

  36. frank76 says:

    “trust my judgement” is not enough. There are plenustty of people and sources asking for my trust in their jdgements. I read your blog and your viewpoints because you seem to be a straight shooter. And yes I trust you too. Gaining trust is onething, maintaining the trust however, is an hourly task when it come to this posting. BR you know better, you shouldn’t post anything if it was off the record, and had to remain secret. You put a ” ?” in trusting you judgement. Hope to hear from you soon.


    BR: One day, I hope this info comes out independently, or I receive permission to release it. Other than that, trust me or don’t. Its pretty interesting stuff.

  37. Budd Sugerman says:

    Topspin: well said, Barry is only human. He spoke with a famous and powerful guy, and was maybe a bit starstruck. This is my first post in a long long time, Barry’s lapse of reason stunned me for a moment, and compelled me to post. But, you are right, BR is just keeping it real.


    BR: I did not speak with a famous guy — I spoke with a tweedy academic who let me in on some color. But its fascinating stuff.

  38. “His subsequent actions since leaving Treasury have actually surprised me”

    His actions WHILE AT treasury surprised me………just not in a good way lol.

  39. bear_in_mind says:

    I give you the benefit of the doubt, Barry. But without details, context and content, it doesn’t move the needle. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    So, Hank’s gotta do better than a whisper campaign if he wants to be exonerated. And what are the chances that The Hammer’s image rehab campaign would appear the same day as current Goldie CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, tries to burnish his persona by getting behind same-sex marriage? Hmmm…

    Blankfein Supports Same-Sex Marriage Campaign
    WSJ: Deal Journal

  40. Incredulous says:

    I occasionally get to listen to the praise of the Koch family, and Lloyd Blankfein, and Henry Paulson, and the rest of these bloated parasites, by some individuals who know and work with them, and therefore think themselves well placed to judge.

    Their defense of what they deem to be magnanimous, hard-working wealth-creators is rather better founded than what Barry proffers here: his version is a lot like what the strippers barking on Bourbon have to offer the drunk patrons walking past. “If you only knew what went on inside, honey.”

    Well, we all know what goes on inside, just as we all know what goes on inside Hank Paulson’s fetid ersatz conscience, however much perfume he tries to douse the stench with.

    Maybe Barry is trolling his own site, a la ZH; or he has just had one too many; or maybe he really has joined the ranks of fallen heroes. Schneiderman and Ritholtz going down in less than a week: that would be too darned bad. But from this post, coming on top of that rose-colored view of the unemployment news, it surely looks as if he has been turned.


    BR: I have been pretty harsh on Paulson, and have previously thought he was a terrible jackass — and when new info comes along that causes me to rethink that position, I do.

  41. Expat says:

    I agree with the “starstruck” explanation. It also seems likely that Paulson is a highly charismatic guy among fellow finance and banking professionals.

    That said, I am willing to hold off on the pitchforks and torches until the Great Secrets are revealed. Then we’ll see what is so damn cute and fluffy about the man who asked for $700 billion based on a one-page document (including cover sheet!).


    BR: Never met the man . . .

  42. Frwip says:

    Mmm, ok. Interesting.

    But I don’t do faith. So, I’ll wait for whatever emerges whenever it emerges. In the meantime, Paulson will remain where he is, somewhere around Alan Greenspan, Bob Rubin and Phil Gramm.

  43. [...] Barry Ritholtz has a secret about Hank [...]

  44. dougc says:

    Sociopaths are endearing, do you atill have your wallet?

  45. slackful says:

    The comments should be put in a time capsule. They illustrate what’s going on in society right now about as well as “A Tale of Two Cities” did for the French Revolution. At least everyone is taking your comments about how to comment literally :)

  46. InterestedObserver says:

    Gee…, a lot of you seem to be carrying oodles of negative baggage here. There is ground between “dropped the ball on the job” and “the devil incarnate”. Really. There is.

  47. Raleighwood says:

    Okay – I have canceled my appointment with the therapist – but more to the point – did you find out who Timmy is really working for?

  48. farmera1 says:

    OK, Paulson was the architect of the biggest heist in history of public money but he may have had a few redeeming qualities and he just might have helped prevent/delayed a really bad depression that he and his ilk brought about. Since we’re talking feeling here with no back up data, I’m guessing BRs’ new found admiration for Paulson has to do with……………….wait for it: His efforts with the Nature Conservancy, Global Warming or saving tigers in China.

    Here at least my speculation is backed up with a reference:

    “Paulson has been described as an avid nature lover.[44] He has been a member of The Nature Conservancy for decades and was the organization’s board chairman and co-chair of its Asia-Pacific Council.[8] In that capacity, Paulson worked with former President of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin to preserve the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province. Notable among the members of Bush’s cabinet, Paulson has said he is a strong believer in the effect of human activity on global warming and advocates immediate action to decrease this effect.[45]”


    Here if my comment doesn’t make print, I’ll at least know I was spot on with my speculation.

  49. ot says:

    Barry, I used to think he was a decent guy too. He is very convincing in his seemingly sincere way of confiding in you, of course full of his trademark “ugh, ughs”, but once I realized that he had lied so convincingly to my face that I believed what was otherwise unbelievable, I saw him for who he truly is. He is a very convincing huckster whose best selling product is his own reputation. His poor advice has ruined corporations like SLE(they used to won COH for example and jettisoned it), and his ill advised policies (like the own that they could manage conflicts of interests) permanently damaged the reputation of his own firm, GS. Since the crisis he has devoted his time to revising the history of the crisis to rehab his reputation. He is really not that sharp, note how he miscalculated in the failed attempt to steer LEH to BCS and how he had no understanding of how the bankruptcy of LEH would tangle all its assets in British courts. He seized FNM and FRE in a dishonest fashion in order to calm the markets and actually set the theater ablaze. He was basically used by PIMCO, Buffett, and his old pals from GS and now he is using his salesmanship to convince pundits that he is “basically a good guy” and “that if you knew what I knew you’d understand”. DON”T BUY IT,

  50. Winston Munn says:

    So, he’s stilll a turd but he doesn’t smell as bad as you thought?

  51. redcharlie says:

    Compared to John Snow, Hank Paulson was fantastic. I still love Robert Waldmann’s comment:
    “Looks like [the Bush White House is] so desperate for a treasury secretary who adds rather than removes credibility that they have resorting to scraping the top of the barrel.”
    (via http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/05/the_paulson_tre.html)

    It was a sad day when they fired Paul O’Neill, and a sign that reality was beginning to intrude when they dropped Snow for Paulson.

    As for TARP, it reminds me of the expression, “getting old may suck, but it beats the alternative.”

  52. michael-D says:

    i’ll reserve judgement on your ‘new’ info as i’m not privy to it and you’re under some manner of embargo. but hank paulson is most certainly not one of the good guys. nobody who lies to congress, transfers massive losses to the public to save his friends the banksters, and helped cause the destruction by winning relaxed regulation [bear stearns exception] can be characterized as anything other than one of the evil-doers. he MAY have repented and be trying to do some less nefarious things now, but that doesn’t change the past.

    as to ben bernanke … the same applies. he happily steals 5¢ of every dollar from everyone who holds one every year, then lies about it and says its only 2¢ or less; all ok of course because ‘thats the way all of the criminals do it’. he perjured himself before the congress and also had a hand in bringing down the economy. and now he’s making so-called savers pay to prop up the very same banksters that brought us down. he is most definitely not a decent human being.

    on top of that, in both cases, that was the very short list of their known transgressions. hopefully the tone of what you intended to express in your original posting and your addendum were mischaracterized when translated from thought to printed bits [bitted prints?]

  53. Mark Down says:

    Getting juiced on $18 cocktails.. Court side seats when Kobe came to town and some late nite fun at Scores… Is that what it took, Barry?

  54. HEHEHE says:

    Paulson – backroom dealing hack who belongs in jail.

  55. Expat says:

    Mea frickin’ culpa, Barry. I did not read the article properly. I retract my comments.
    Of course, I still gleefully vilify you (why fight the trend) for even suggesting that Paulson’s body contains human DNA, blah blah blah.
    It’s your blog, your money, your life, so you can write whatever you want, but I bet you did not expect this kind of reaction. And I sense a certain admission that getting all metaphorically kissy-face with Paulson has left you feeling a tad cheapened and degraded. Or am STILL mis-reading.

    Basically, I think your reading public simply does not appreciate hearing how Hitler once adopted an abandoned kitten, and suchlike.

  56. AHodge says:

    i agree w this
    paulson was clueless as to major bank insolvencies through mid 2008.
    dithered and failed to ask for resolution authority in july aug 2008
    sneaked through the no further congress needed unlimited fannie freddie bailout at end Aug
    he ran the flash- fast guarantees of good commercial paper and money market funds in late sept 2008
    Without that we would have really gone over the falls
    he is on the right side of accounting and firmly took kudlow completely apart there on his own show
    we could have done worse–and then did
    re geithner what special qualities showed themselves at the monday lunch?

  57. Been Around 1963 says:

    The most important point seems to be about transparency and accountability–or the complete lack thereof. Ritholtz was made privy to some secret information, told off the record, that supposedly changes his perception of what went on during the financial crisis. And in spite of the in-depth investigations by by SIGTARP, the FCIC and Congress, this secret information has never been revealed. Hmm.

    Like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, Paulson never used email. “You would trust someone who never uses email?” asked Felix Salmon. I certainly wouldn’t, especially after hearing Paulson’s myriad falsehoods and dissemblances, (e.g. “I never once considered it appropriate to put taxpayer money on the line in resolving Lehman Brothers,” his conflicting stories about the veiled threats lobbed at Ken Leis re: the Merrill acquisition).

    Why was this “new information” been kept from public scrutiny so far? Can you shed some light on that? Or should we all hold out breath until the book comes out?

  58. mns3dhm says:

    When someone tells you something in confidence you can either STFU or betray their confidence (for reasons either good or bad) and tell what you know. This piece reads like a jackass fraternity president standing in fron of a group of pledges and telling them, ‘we’ve decided which ones of you are in or out, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow nights keg party to find out.’ Who the hell wants to be in that fraternity anyway?

  59. Greg0658 says:

    :-) when Hank calls to set the 2ndHand convers straight .. ask how/what that Christmas in Germany was about .. still can picture that Cabinet picture at the WH with his tie undone on the end .. did they strip him down to his shorts & waterboard him? did he tell the truth or what they wanted to hear or what we wanted them to hear?

  60. AHodge says:

    so like many here i am also pissed beyond belief at the 100% no bondholder left behind bailout.
    but must concede it would have taken balls to do a sheep from the goats limited bailout w haircuts in Oct 08. it could have been taken back or mostly later.
    Pauson is said to be a big enviro and devout christian scientist via his wife. while this stuff usually results in an exceptionally high level of hypocracy like Romney, i expect they see themselves as trying to do good, and sometimes do by other folks standards.

  61. Bill Wilson says:

    I didn’t agree with the TARP, but I can understand the argument that it had to be done.

    What I can’t understand is the failure to prosecute anyone, Fannie and Freddie being used as toilets for the toxic assets of investment banks, TBTF banks being allowed to grow bigger, the failure to bring back mark to market accounting, the failure to bring back Glass Steagal, the continuation of the flawed ratings agency system, and the failure mandate that leverage levels be lower.

    If Hank Paulson has done some things, post-crisis, to restore some sanity to our financial system, I’ll give him credit for it. Sadly, it wouldn’t take much for him to have done more than our current President.

  62. PeterR says:

    OK BR, I do trust you on the fact that Paulson may have done some good things recently, and I hope that you get permission to fill us in on the details.

    BUT, and this is a big butt, you exercised incredibly poor judgment in posting your thoughts about hidden events.

    I expect you have learned a lesson about the outrage outhere.

  63. Frilton Miedman says:

    The TARP & the bailouts were unavoidable, I don’t think Paulson’s part in requesting a bailout was his fault, but he was a part of the system that got us here in the first place.

    It was a HUGE mistake to give the money with no strings attached, no breaking up the TBTF’s, no prerequisites on what they had to do with the money (lending instead of prop trading).

    In return for receiving that money, bankers then proceeded to manipulate markets using HFT alg’s, prop trading, futures manipulation and then pay themselves record breaking bonuses while regular Americans were being thrown out on the street as a direct result of what they’d done with CDO’s & CDS’s…not exactly what I’d call a ROI on the money we were forced to give them.

    Paulson , as I said above, was a player in a game that should never have been played to begin with, He, Greenspan, and countless numbers of other regulators, self regulating executives and politicians chose to view things from Ayn Rand colored glasses, never considering the ramifications of mistaken policy in favor of a more convenient school of thought.

    If there is a single point I’d put blame on, it would be Citi’s lobbying (bribery) in 1998-1999 for the removal of Glass Steagall so they could merge with Travelers.

    The same Citi that hosted the infamous “Plutonomy conference” in 2006, a small group of the wealthiest individuals in the world, gathered for the sole purpose of discussing how they’d destroyed Democracy – and how they could capitalize on that fact.

    I find it particularly disturbing that this event doesn’t get more public scrutiny or media attention.

    Simply put, it’s a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition of bribery to allow political preference, legislation or law-making in exchange for money, we can split hairs to eternity, blame the CRA & GRE’s and “greedy” poor people, engage in childish partisan Dems V Repub’s swapping of insults And waste untold time thinking of newer, more improved ways to become increasingly misdirected by anger. (divide and conquer)

    None of that resolves the cause, and the Supreme Court has just exponentially exacerbated that cause by legalizing unlimited and anonymous bribery.

    So yeah, I’m convinced Paulson is a decent guy…just another pawn in the global illumination of Democracy in place of plutocracy.

  64. Frilton Miedman says:

    Spell check – “illumination” = “elimination”

  65. bear_in_mind says:

    @Frilton: Excellent summation!

    @BR: My read of the feedback is less a personal affront directed at you, than expressing outrage that one of the biggest cronies of the entire bailout regime found a measure of aid and comfort in these quarters. I wouldn’t expect this to change unless/until some of the fat cats find new residence in the CrossBar Hotel. Since that outcome is not looking at all likely, don’t expect the public to feel warm-and-fuzzy about the cronies screwing us over (and our kids) and leaving us with the freaking tab.

    As an aside, even the victory lap for Bill Gates (who had *absolutely nothing* to do with this Wall Street mess) is a bit grating because his lawyers are playing the tax code like a Stradivarius. Is Gates’ philanthropy good? Unquestionably, yes. But is it preferable to having those dollars more fairly distributed in the first place? I’d argue “doubtful” — because the concentration of those monies robs so many others of opportunities upon which they could have otherwise capitalized.

  66. AHodge says:

    part of the disconnect is most of this crowd really hates Goldman above all
    I dont.
    they are likely the future of nonbank finance.
    so when the demonizing– partly driven by the jealous rest of wall st– blows over they will likely be back on top
    they know how to run their own business and do accounting
    and “all” they did was sell some bad stuff to the lower end of their customer food chain
    this, unlike the CEOs of Citi Countrywide AIG WAMU and Bank America
    who are eminently jailable
    its a rare US figure who is pure evil–unless its and election year

  67. Pantmaker says:

    Not the fact that he finalized leaving his entire personal fortune $800+ million to wetlands conservation is it?

  68. pdmoney44 says:

    Oh no, you didnt have Cool Aid at this lunch, did you??

  69. Low Budget Dave says:

    The biggest damage to the United States economy is not coming from bad men. It is coming from good men with bad ideas.

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