Paulson ‘68 to lead Treasury
By Alex Belser, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, May 31, 2006
President George W. Bush nominated Henry "Hank" Paulson '68 on Tuesday to be the new Treasury secretary. If confirmed, Paulson would leave his 32-year home at Goldman Sachs, the top investment firm where he was promoted to chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1999.
In a brief Washington appearance with Bush and current Treasury Secretary John Snow, Paulson thanked his family and said he looks forward to serving in the Bush administration.
"Mr. President, thank you for the honor to serve you and our country," Paulson said. "I have witnessed and taken part in the globalization of finance as major economies around the world have become increasingly interdependent. We must take steps to maintain our competitive edge in the world."
In nominating Paulson, Bush praised him as "a strong and consistent voice for corporate accountability" and thanked him for "his willingness to leave one of the most rewarding jobs on Wall Street to serve the American people."
"Hank shares my philosophy that the economy prospers when we trust the American people to save, spend and invest their money as they see fit," Bush said. "Hank also understands that the government should spend the taxpayers' money wisely or not at all."
The new post would represent a return to the public sector for Paulson, who was a Pentagon and White House aide in the early 1970s after graduating from Harvard Business School.
At Dartmouth, Paulson was an English major, a four-year member of the football team and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He also played intramural sports and lacrosse and was a member of the Green Key Society and president of the Christian Science Organization.
Paulson, who has already drawn public support from key Democratic leaders in the Senate, is expected to have an easy confirmation, but as he follows two predecessors who were seen as having little effect on policy issues, it remains to be seen how much influence he will have on Bush.
"Coming in at this time period in the Bush administration, that's one of the challenges that he faces: it's that his phone rings," Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick said.
Samwick, who worked in Bush's Council of Economic Advisers two years ago, said that at the time some economic officials who had not been there very long had trouble touting their agendas amid pressure to cut taxes. Paulson's environmental leanings -- he was head of the Nature Conservancy board -- could also prove interesting in a discussion about issues like drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but only if those issues happen to come up, according to Samwick.
The Treasury secretary oversees a wide-ranging department including the Internal Revenue Service and more than 100,000 employees, and draws a salary of $175,700. Paulson earned nearly $40 million last year while working for Goldman Sachs.
The Dartmouth was not able to reach Paulson for comment.