Goldman Sachs might as well recruit from White House
"Fairly or unfairly, the most important thing to the financial community, broadly defined, is that the secretary of the Treasury be the president's closest confidante on economic policy," said former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber, now a lobbyist with close ties to Bush. "That wasn't true of either Paul O'Neill or John Snow, so they're not taken seriously as spokesmen on economic policy."Anyone knows that if you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting. In this case, the White House keeps hiring its officers from Goldman Sachs despite the constant shadow that follows the company's business and its dealings and despite the consistently lousy public performance by its former officers.
[Henry] Paulson, 60, is the [CEO] of Goldman Sachs and one of Wall Street's most respected and highly compensated executives, with a net worth estimated at more than $700 million.Can it get any clearer than this? Goldman Sachs is attached at the umbilicus to the White House. Their offspring get shuttled directly to the executive branch and its departments.
He initially rebuffed overtures about the Treasury job, which is widely viewed as having declined in influence and prestige during Bush's presidency.
But Bush and other officials persisted, eager to bring aboard someone who might do for this administration what another former Goldman chief, Robert Rubin, did for President Bill Clinton.
They enlisted mutual friends to persuade Paulson to accept, and they had an advantage in Bush's new chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, [another] former Goldman executive.
Paulson would bring . . . credibility with financial markets at a time of huge budget and trade deficits and a particular expertise in dealing with the rise of China, one of the biggest economic and foreign policy challenges facing the United States.BULLSH*T. His principal - indeed sole - job is to protect the well-being of bankers and other swindlers.
[Bush] said Paulson would serve as his "principal adviser on the broad range of domestic and international economic issues that affect the well-being of all Americans."
Paulson said he had a "keen appreciation for the role that capital markets play in driving economic growth" and added, without being specific, that the United States had to "take steps to maintain our competitive edge in the world."Those include busting working Americans' knee caps.
Paulson's nomination drew praise from business groups and from at least a few prominent Democrats who have criticized Bush's tax cuts and budget deficits.That's reassuring coming from the same guy who tried to keep Enron afloat before it cratered.
Rubin, the Treasury secretary under Clinton, said Bush's choice was "well done" and praised Paulson as "very well respected" and "thoughtful."
[Rubin,] called the Treasury and asked undersecretary for domestic finance Peter Fisher "what he thought of the idea" of the U.S. Treasury persuading bond-rating agencies to hold off reducing the freefalling Enron's credit rating.But, hey who's counting, right? Not Arthur Anderson, nor the White House.
This sounded like a good idea to Rubin, who was acting in his new capacity as CEO of Citigroup, one of Enron's top creditors.
[Meanwhile,] Paul Ashworth, a senior economist at Capital Economics, predicted that Paulson would not bring major changes to economic policy and that he would have to grapple with underlying economic forces that include a steady decline in the value of the dollar.In other words, it's hopeless. They ARE going to 'pull' the economy and NOBODY, no matter how savvy and well connected they are, is going to stop them.
"The best he can do is try to ensure that decline continues in an orderly fashion and does not turn into a collapse," Ashworth wrote in a note to clients Monday.
A senior White House official who was granted anonymity to discuss internal personnel deliberations said Paulson was on the "short list" as soon as the White House began seriously searching for Snow's successor, with credentials that fit the times domestically and internationally.Bush must have promised him every working American's soul, and those of their grandchildren, on a silver platter.* * *
Even as Paulson balked, the White House official said, the search kept coming back to him, and Bush instructed Bolten to keep pressing him. The official said Paulson's concerns also included his family life and succession issues at Goldman.
The turning point was the meeting with the president at the White House, during which the administration argued that reports of the Treasury Department's diminishment were exaggerated. "Sometimes it's more myth and perception than reality," the official said, "and when you get briefed on the reality, it becomes reassuring."
Paulson accepted the job the next day.