Hank Paulson

Now all my life, if I’m really exhausted, I get the dry heaves. It sounds like I’m really sick, because I make a lot of noise. Rahm Emanuel came by. Harry Reid offered to get a doctor. I said I didn’t need it. I play tennis with Wendy, and a couple of times in the hot sun I’ve had the dry heaves. Our opponents thought it was a tactic. Wendy would say, “Hey, get back out here. That’s disgusting.” Of course, it would throw the other people off. In this instance it wasn’t a tactic, but I know that it helped accelerate things. [Bloomberg]

What did then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson think of the big bonuses banks paid out circa the financial crisis? While he didn’t say anything at the time, apparently the only thing standing between said banks and HP’s fists was the fact that Paulson was able to successfully talk himself out of going down there* and showing everyone how he earned the nickname “Dirty Thunder” back at Dartmouth. After holding his tongue for five years, Paulson finally decided to open up and tell Andrew Ross Sorkin how he really feels. Read more »

Still, it soon became clear that dating a congressman was not like dating other men. Mr. Frank had just been appointed chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, where he played a central role in creating legislation to increase transparency in financial markets. Weekends in Maine turned into Washington sleepovers, with Mr. Ready eating takeout outside a conference room as Mr. Frank hammered out a bank bailout with figures like Henry Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary. “Hank Paulson would call on a Friday afternoon and say, ‘Well, such-and-such a bank is failing,’ ” said Mr. Frank, recalling broken dates. At one point, Mr. Ready confronted his boyfriend: “I was like, ‘You know what? You spend more time with flight attendants than you do with me.’ ” [NYT]

Hank Paulson: Don’t Worry About Europe

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the U.S. will emerge relatively unharmed from the debt crisis in Europe as efforts by Greece, Spain and other nations to stabilize their economies persist for the long-term. “Although Europe is a drag, the U.S. will continue to muddle along with growth that really isn’t enough to make a dent in employment,” Paulson, who was Treasury secretary from July 2006 through January 2009, said at a biotechnology industry conference in Boston today. Europe will eventually stabilize and avoid a “catastrophic outcome,” he said. [Bloomberg]

For his decision to bail out Wall Street in order to avert economic calamity during the financial crisis, Hank Paulson earned himself a few enemies. Chief among them was blogger Barry Ritholtz. In the years since Paulson has left office, The Big Picture author has had nothing but disdain for the former Treasury Secretary, described on TBP as “a god-awful jackass who oversaw the greatest theft in history, transferring trillions from taxpayers to incompetent bankers,” and who Ritholtz felt such disgust for that he would instinctively spit after uttering his name. Which is why you might want to sit down before reading about an utterly shocking reversal of opinion entitled, “My Newfound Respect For Hank Paulson.” Seriously, brace yourselves: Read more »

As many of you know, to call Hank Paulson a fan of birds would not do justice to the special relationship between the former Treasury Secretary and his feathered friends. Birds get nine mentions in his memoir (verus Warren Buffett’s six), he was said tofreak out when [they’d] fly into the glass windows of 85 Broad,” they’ve become the third person in his marriage (Wendy Paulson, also a huge fan, was apparently “jealous” of a recent outing Hank took without her, preferring to have them all to himself), they were the ones he was referring to when he said 20 percent of the staff at Goldman added 80 percent of the value, and, despite having to neglect them in order to deal with the whole Bear Stearns situation (he said he was sorry and he meant it), birds have remained unflaggingly loyal, among HP’s closest confidants, the sources of his most joyful and precious moments in life and just really great buddies. That’s why it doesn’t hurt that people aren’t banging down his door to kick back and watch the game over some non-alcoholic beer and learn about the observable differences among types of manure.
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You may remember that, earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that in June 2008, with the world’s financial system in the balance, then-Treasury Secretary (and Goldman Sachs alum) Hank Paulson (1) rode in an elevator and (2) upon disembarking from said elevator told a bunch of his friends who had WORKED AT GOLDMAN WITH HIM about how he was going to nationalize Fannie and Freddie (which he did about two months later) so his friends should short the hell out of the GSEs, which they then proceeded to do, or not do, since “The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information. There’s no evidence that they did so after the meeting; tracking firm-specific short stock sales isn’t possible using public documents.”

So that happened. Fast forward to September 2011, when, with the world’s financial system in the balance, New York Fed president (and COINCIDENTALLY ALSO a Goldman Sachs alum) William Dudley met with some other hedge fund friends to ask them about what to do about Europe. And again about two months later, the Fed did some stuff about Europe. Very suspicious.

The Wall Street Journal reported on this meeting today and, while the article loses some points for not describing whether Dudley stepped off an elevator, jogged up a flight of stairs, or clambered in a window to arrive at the meeting, it’s actually remarkably fair in explaining how much you should freak out about this (not that much), as well as in foreshadowing how much people will freak out about it (quite a bit):
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Sheila Bair continues to be mad that she didn’t get to sit at the grown-ups’ table during the financial crisis, and she told Joe Nocera all about it in his much-talked-about “exit interview” this weekend. She-Bair is not afraid to bring the awkies regarding her relationship with Hank Paulson: “Except for a 10-second handshake, she never even spoke to Henry Paulson her first year or so in office.”

Wait, what? Sadly there are no more details about this 10-second handshake, but we imagine it got pretty creepy. Hank probably started crisp and confident, but by the five-second mark both hands were clammy and eventually Bair had to clear her throat noisily a couple of times and say “crushing my hand here Hank.”

Now, sure, the Bair didn’t like getting snubbed by Timmy and Hank just because her whole agency had to share two computers for most of her tenure. But she has no problem with elitism per se, and doesn’t think government money should be given to just any bunch of losers:
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