Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Perils of Paulson
When is history NOT simply written by the winners?
Answer: When the subject is economics or the weather. The consequences of both those phenomena live on and on, and the interpreters--whether they be Alan Greenspan or Al Roker--get to talk on and on, into the indefinite future. "Yeah, well I didn't exactly predict what happened...BUT..."
There's still plenty of controversy over the actions taken by the government in the fall of 2008, when the Meltdown was in Flower. (Mixed metaphors are such fun.) Witness the third degrees recently doled out by Congress to both current and former Treasury Secretaries Timothy Geithner and Henry Paulson.
Paulson's hardcover retelling of events is now available in bookstores. For my take on it, go to:
It's an interesting book, with multiple revelations about the likes of FDIC chair Sheila Bair (who Paulson says was willing to see Citigroup die), numerous Senators and Congresspeople, and about Paulson himself. When the going got tough, as at various Congressional hearings, Paulson reveals that he tended to have the "dry heaves" and had to excuse himself from the room. The Treasury Secretary also shows himself to be a religious man and often depended upon the power of prayer to get him through.
If you're angry at the insiders who managed the bailout, TARP, and the takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, you might look at Paulson's volume. It'll make you feel some sympathy for just what these people put themselves through to save the system.