A spectacular account of the ‘100-year financial crisis’ as told by the 74th United States Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson. The interview was done for the new Bloomberg documentary which will be on Netflix on Monday called ‘Hank: Five Years from the Brink’.
Hank on the Unpopularity of TARP:
“The way I read the polls, TARP was more unpopular than torture. We don’t like bailouts in this country. If you take a risk and make money? That’s good. But if you take a risk and the government has to come in and save you? Well, I understood the anger.
I was never able to convince the American people that what we did with TARP was not for the banks. It was for them. It was to save Main Street. It was to save our economy from a catastrophe.”
Hank on the Lives About to Change Forever:
“I remember waking up very early the morning of Sept. 15 in New York and looking out the window at all the people on the street walking to work. Some I’m sure worked at Lehman. Some worked at other banks. Others didn’t work at any bank. But their lives were about to change in very profound ways.
Lehman intensified the crisis — it was a symptom, not the cause. I don’t subscribe to the “domino theory” when it comes to Lehman. My former colleague, Ed Lazear, had a line that’s more apt: The crisis was like a giant popcorn popper, and it had been heating these kernels for a year as the crisis went on. Lehman might have been the first to pop, but we knew that weekend that Merrill Lynch and AIG were going to pop next, and many others in the U.S. and Europe were not far behind.”
Hank on Advice from President Bush:
My own view has always been to admit when you’re wrong and change course quickly. I didn’t have to have long debates with the White House staff about how bad the harm to the economy would be if the financial system went down. President Bush had a good feel, and he understood markets. He basically said, “Holy cow, you’ve told the whole world you’re going to buy illiquid assets. It’s going to be important how you explain it, but of course you’ve got to put capital in the banks.” The best advice he gave me was to do what’s right and ignore politics.
Here’s the article: Lehman Brothers Abyss had Paulson Seeking Prayer amid Crisis
So just remember, when you are fed up with the junior resource space and you think it is the be all and end all of your life, take a step back and think about how close we were to the brink of total financial disaster a mere five years ago. Be thankful. Easier said than done, I know.