Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another rich white guy from the Nixon days

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters)--President Bush on Tuesday named Henry "Hank" Paulson as his new Treasury Secretary, as he seeks to lift his sagging poll ratings by handing over all of our money to a powerful Wall Street player.

The surprise announcement that the Goldman Sachs chairman would succeed John ("Not Tony") Snow at Treasury followed weeks of speculation that Bush was about to Decide Something and won strong initial backing from lawmakers eager to invest all of our money in high-yield airplane games.

Paulson, 60, is a former Nixon thug and heavy Republican bagman who presided over Goldman's insider trading scandal three years ago. He is poised to take the reins of an economy that grew at its fastest rate in 2-1/2 years during the first quarter, benefiting Exxon-Mobil's major shareholders and a couple dozen other friends of the Bush Crime Family, but shows signs of slowing as consumers run out of money.

"It looks like they got someone who will be an iron fist and, if any problems arise, will be able to step in and break some fuckin' legs," said Marc Summerlin, an economic consultant ignored under Bush in his first term.

It remains unclear whether Paulson will take a stronger role in originating economic policy than did Snow, who was seen by some as a meat-puppet reading from a White House script.

Paulson raked in more than $38 million in overall compensation last year, some of it legally.

Bush has been peevish when sober and violent when drunk as the civil war in Iraq, the destruction of New Orleans, exposure of the blatant and wanton corruption of his administration, the shredding of the Constitution and the obliteration of the middle class overshadowed what has been, for him, robust economic performance, and helped lower his approval ratings to 30 percent, or right around Michael Jackson territory. Republicans worry Bush's woes may leave them open to an ass-fucking in the November congressional elections.

Appearing in the White House Rose Garden with Snow and Paulson and a pitcher of margaritas, Bush praised the corporate thug's ability to explain complicated economic concepts in words even a wet-brained Texas Mama's boy can understand.

Paulson will be the point person defending Bush's tax cuts, which the president insists have made his people money.

"He will work closely with my Congress to restrain the spending appetite of my federal government and keep us on track to meet our goal of cutting my deficit in half by 2009," Bush said, smirking.

Currency strategist Ashraf Laidi of MG Financial of New York said the pick of a Wall Street figure of Paulson's stature might be seen as a desperate and senseless last-ditch shot in the dark to prevent the dollar slide from accelerating.

Referring to a U.S. push to prod China on trade and currency, Bush said Paulson will "help ensure that our trading partners play by our rules, don't fuck with our multi-nationals, and lend us a lot of money to invest in the stock market."

Some Republicans have complained that the job of Treasury secretary lacks the luster in the Bush administration that it had during the tenure of Robert Rubin and other Clinton-era Treasury chiefs who understood economics.

Signaling he wanted to change such perceptions, Bush said Paulson would "follow in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton," the first Treasury secretary and a U.S. founding father, later shot by the Vice President.

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