Hank Paulson, George W. Bush’s treasury secretary, who presided over both the meltdown of the U.S. economy and the subsequent bailout of his close friends and associates, has endorsed Hillary Clinton — citing his belief that she’d be more likely to enact globalist policies on trade and immigration as part of the reason for his endorsement.
Paulson also posits that Clinton would be more likely to cut Americans’ medicare and social security, which Paulson cites as a top priority following the financial collapse he helped to create.
Paulson is also the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, which has given Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches. According to Politico, Goldman Sachs rewarded Clinton with a total of $675,000 for three paid speeches.
“When Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs executives and technology titans at a summit in Arizona in October of 2013, she spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs, according to people who saw her remarks,” Politico writes. “She spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.”
“It was pretty glowing about us,” one attendee told Politico, “She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.”
In his Friday op-ed in the Washington Post, Paulson writes:
When it comes to the presidency, I will not vote for Donald Trump. I will not cast a write-in vote. I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton, with the hope that she can bring Americans together to do the things necessary to strengthen our economy, our environment and our place in the world.
Paulson’s op-ed adopts the similar lecturing tone to what was called “Project Fear” in the UK, in which the Remain campaign recruited executives from multinational firms and establishment politicians to convince the victims of globalization that they had to remain in their current economic structure– or else.
Paulson says that, in his view, the way to strengthen our economy is to push for even more globalist policies on trade. This is precisely what George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did throughout their presidencies. Paulson insists that “it’s wrong to tell the American people” that we achieve economic success by “walling ourselves off from the remaining 7 billion people and the markets they represent”:
We need to welcome rather than shrink from trade and economic competition. Trump calls our current trade deals “disgusting, the absolute worst ever negotiated by any country in the world.” This is simply false. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the average American household income is roughly $10,000 higher because of the postwar expansion of trade. Because of trade, we add jobs and foster innovation and competitiveness. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t losing jobs and suffering in certain industries. However, it is wrong to tell the American people that we can turn back the clock and win, with merely 4 percent of the world’s population, by walling ourselves off from the remaining 7 billion people and the markets they represent. Instead, we need to fix the programs that help U.S. industries and workers transition to new and better jobs. We need better training, new education programs and a more robust safety net. The policies Trump endorses would destroy, not save, U.S. jobs.
In stark contrast to Trump’s “America first” trade platform, Hillary Clinton has been a vocal champion of the trade globalism that Paulson desires. Clinton supported NAFTA, she supported China’s entrance into the WTO, and she boosted the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement– declaring in 2012 that the “TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade.” Clinton expressed no concerns about the TPP’s establishment of a global governing commission, which Jeff Sessions has described as a “Pacific Union” similar to a “nascent European Union.”
Paulson has similarly been a big supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In a 2015 Wall Street Journal piece, Paulson wrote: “We should reassert our status as a Pacific power, build on the North American Free Trade Agreement to create greater economic integration closer to home and move forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
In his pro-Clinton op-ed, Paulson decries Trump’s campaign pledge to reclaim national sovereignty and reverse the tide of globalism. Paulson writes:
With Donald Trump as the presumptive presidential nominee, we are witnessing a populist hijacking of one of the United States’ great political parties. The GOP, in putting Trump at the top of the ticket, is endorsing a brand of populism rooted in ignorance, prejudice, fear and isolationism. This troubles me deeply as a Republican, but it troubles me even more as an American. Enough is enough. It’s time to put country before party and say it together: Never Trump.
Paulson cited his role in George W. Bush’s controversial handling of the economic downturn as giving further credibility to his Clinton endorsement:
I’m not the first Republican to say Trump is a phony and should not be president… But as a former chief executive and treasury secretary, I hope to bring an additional perspective to the discussion… I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if a divisive character such as Trump were president during the 2008 financial crisis, at a time when leadership, compromise and careful analysis were critical. The only reason we avoided another Great Depression was because Republicans and Democrats joined together to vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program — a vote that they knew would be politically unpopular but in the best interest of our country. Critical to that effort was the leadership of President George W. Bush. As I led Treasury’s efforts to fashion a difficult, imperfect, controversial but essential solution with bipartisan support, I was — and still am — grateful to have had President Bush at the helm.
While Paulson accuses Trump of “playing to fears and frustrations, pointing fingers at scapegoats and creating boogeymen: blaming the banks, greedy companies or foreigners for our problems,” he makes no mention of how federal immigration policy has impacted American jobs and wages. Since Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration rewrite was passed into law, the U.S. has added 59 million immigrants. Since mass migration began in the 1970s, U.S middle class has shrunk ten percentage points, and real average wages are lower today than they were in 1973.
Paulson does not make clear why Americans should trust his economic judgement, considering that he failed completely to predict the housing crash over which he presided.