Hank Paulson is the nickname for Henry M Paulson, Jr. who served as Secretary of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009. Paulson came to Treasury well prepared for the almost unprecedented economic challenges he would face when he arrived in July of 2006. Before becoming secretary, he worked in finance for 32 years with Goldman Sachs, a leading American based global investment bank. While at Goldman, he served as CEO and Chairman of the Board for eight years.
One of Hank Paulson’s first endeavors at Treasury was to bring together a diverse group of well experienced professionals so that he could restart the once routine meetings for the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. These strenuous efforts from the financial regulators of the President’s Working Group subsequently proved to be key for the efforts of the American government to stave off the complete collapse of the U.S. and global financial systems.
Paulson demonstrated a rare non partisan form of leadership in the critical moments of the crisis. He persuaded Congress to provide him with the historically unparalleled emergency powers which he required to stop the crisis. The man headed the economic team for President George W. Bush with creating and coordinating an impressive and ultimately successful international and national strategy to the 2008 crisis.
This Financial Crisis and Great Recession proved to be the worst the country and globe had seen since the 1930’s era Great Depression. Thanks to his decisive actions and courage to face the challenges, he helped to keep the U.S. financial system from collapsing. The catastrophe that these efforts avoided could have sent unemployment to levels not known since the 1930s.
Secretary Hank Paulson did not stop with averting the collapse. He and his Treasury colleagues began to come up with a new regulatory frame work to overhaul the outdated financial regulatory structure. Among these much needed reforms were many of the ideas that eventually made it into the Dodd Frank Bill of financial reform legislation which President Obama finally signed into law.
Secretary Paulson is also remembered for having worked with President Bush to see the G20 elevated to the most important global forum for economic recovery and financial reform. He shepherded the first Summit and its work which laid out a blueprint for the future meetings and importance of the group.
Paulson also earned his place in history for changing the way that the United States engages with China. He did this by starting and leading the Strategic Economic Dialogue. These Cabinet level discussions helped to prioritize and address a significant range of economic topics. Paulson’s leadership of this group significantly improved the American relationship with China. It produced substantial results ranging from an important ten year framework to coordinate environmental and energy initiatives, to better product safety for trade, to more appropriate flexibility in the range of China’s currency. The SED has been continued by the administration of President Obama as the model for ongoing discussions with China.
Secretary Hank Paulson demonstrated his commitment to open investment and free international trade as well. He served a important role regarding a few foreign policy initiatives. This included advancing Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Columbia, South Korea, and Peru.
His efforts to reform the review process for national security helped to foster more foreign investment within the U.S. Paulson’s Treasury also worked tirelessly to stop financing of worldwide terrorist organizations. He helped the President to push nonproliferation of nuclear materials. Among his reforms to Treasury were modernizing the department in areas pertaining to Treasury bond issuing and leadership of the environment.