This morning I sat down with former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson whose new book “On the Brink” details his turmoil filled tenure as the nation’s chief financial officer. So just how successful does he think his tough decisions regarding the economy really were? “The financial system is stable,” he said “and the economy is recovering right now. It’s got a good ways to go. And in terms of the actions that we took, I have no doubt that they helped us avoid disaster.”
But even Paulson acknowledged that not enough was done and that the country is not out of the woods just yet. “We have not fixed problems we need to fix. And we won’t have fixed it until we put in place resolution authority so that no financial institution is too big to fail.”
One such institution is Paulson’s former employer, Goldman Sachs. Both Paulson and his former company have come under fire throughout the crisis. The financial firm was made whole with taxpayer dollars when insurance giant AIG did not repay their debt. Some, including those on Capitol Hill say Paulson was playing favorites.
Paulson refused to address the payouts to any specific firms and did not directly address claims surrounding Goldman Sachs and AIG but he did say, “When I left Goldman Sachs, I severed my relationship in the firm, sold all my stock in the firm. My responsibility was to the American people and with every situation, and particularly, with regard to AIG, I cared about one thing and one thing only…if AIG had gone down, it would have been catastrophic for the American economy. It would have taken down the whole financial system…It would have been a disaster.”
Watch the entire interview here: