Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Paulson is a Good Choice

People tell me it’s not easy being a pro-Bush Republican in the executive suite at Goldman Sachs.

So give Treasury nominee Hank Paulson some credit for holding the line. And give Josh Bolten credit for indefatigably recruiting Paulson, his former Goldman partner, even in the face of apparent turndowns.

Mr. Paulson is a well-regarded, top-rated Wall Street exec at the powerful Goldman Sachs who will bring considerable credibility to the top Treasury job. He is a confirmed free trader who strongly supports deepening economic relations with China.

Mr. Paulson also supported Bush’s investor tax cuts, and has worried out loud about the impact of SarBox on American competitiveness.

Goldman insiders tell me that he is something of a “greenie,” having been active in the Nature Conservancy, but they say he’s no Al Gore, and prefers technology advances by private enterprise to solve energy and any global warming issues.

We don’t know his specific view on the value of the U.S. dollar, but hopefully he’ll work with Ben Bernanke to strengthen the greenback and hold down inflation expectations.

Whether there’s a pro- growth tax reform agenda, or a new look at Social Security and other entitlements remains to be seen.

My guess is Mr. Paulson will command much more policy influence at the Treasury than his predecessors had. All in, Paulson looks like a good choice.

The head of arguably the world’s most prominent banking company, a Republican (who actually served in the Nixon administration 30 years ago) and stayed on board with George W. Bush, looks like a good, strong, capitalist choice.