November 24th, 2008
05:41 AM ET
14 years ago

Forbes: Paulson is 'worst' treasury secretary in modern times

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Steve Forbes says he doesn't have confidence in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Forbes magazine President and CEO Steve Forbes called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “the worst treasury secretary we’ve had in modern times”, citing, among other things, the government’s handling of the housing crisis.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday, Forbes repeatedly called on the treasury secretary to be more straightforward about the money used to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Have Henry Paulson do at least one thing right, and that is, have the government explicitly guarantee the debt of Fannie and Freddie,” the financial mogul and former Republican presidential candidate said.

When asked if he has confidence in Paulson, Forbes responded “No, sadly, Wolf. He's about the worst treasury secretary we've had in modern times.”

The Treasury Department had no comment on Forbes’ remark, but in a speech on Thursday, Paulson said that the administration’s proactive response to the troubled economy “prevented a far worse financial crisis.”

Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary Robert Reich was slightly less blunt than Forbes, but equally uncertain on Paulson’s ability to turn around the economy.

“I think that the great bailout that he engineered was really sold to Congress on false pretenses,” Reich said on Late Edition. “Paulson has not been very transparent. He's been very opaque. And it has riled markets.”

Filed under: Henry Paulson
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    Here's an angle people aren't talking about. When BushCo wasn't able to bully and con the public into handing Social Security over to Wall St., they had to devise another way to rob the People (treasury). Hence, the $700 billion Wall St. bailout.

    Amazing that the braintrust called Congress demand that the domestic auto industry lick their boots for a LOAN, after blithely handing over $700 billion taxpayer dollars to the pirates of the banking industry and Wall St. What a con job our dear "Representatives" swallowed!

    There darn well better be some people in orange jumpsuits when this is all over, or I believe the People will have their day in the Court of street justice! This isn't over by a long shot!

    November 24, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. al in memphis

    From the beginning of the Bush administration to the end, the American people have paid a big and bitter price. It would be a best sellers if someone could figure out how big the price tags has been.

    Yet everyday, we hear conservative talk show people talk about socialisms, liberalism, and unpatrioticism. How can you steal so much from the public and still have people believe your party can provide honest leadership.

    November 24, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Frank

    The Bush administration has, in itself, been a total scam and only a "Get Richer Quick" scheme for the country"s rich and shameless.

    January 20th won't come quick enough.

    November 24, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Truth Hurts

    Paulson needs to be arrested along with the Bush Administration. It is too many charges and counts for me to name!!

    November 24, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |


    Why is it that whenever there is trouble we find it easy to blame or call those charged with responsibilities names, instead offering a solution?

    DEAR FORBES, You Sir is the worst person for voicing a reflection of your FOBIA in others.

    November 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. char

    the IRS, the banks, credit card companies have been bleeding the american people dry for decades. Now that we are totally drained they and have no disposable income to inject into the economy they are failing. the chickens have come home to roost. they have destroyed what makes the economy strong and that is the AMERICAN PEOPLE. All these giant companies will fail as long as they continues to bleed us through exorbitant bank fees, overdraft fees, high interest rates etc

    November 24, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. JJ in NY

    I'd like to see Robert Reich stand up and say that !

    November 24, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Ian

    I recently heard of this thing called a constitution. I decided to take a look and couldn't find anywhere that says you can take tax payer money and give it to private corporations.

    November 24, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Vicki5

    When all is said and done, I hope Paulson does not get to keep the coffers he is storing up for himself, his buddies, and Bush's "team". I hope they all will be investigated thoroughly, immediately, and without ceasing until ALL is answered for. I hope they reap what they sow.

    I am still hopeful that we will be able to fix this mess pretty soon. In the meantime, it's pretty sad to see the real Bush, now that his lambs clothing is off. He's been shedding for awhile, but now, pretty ugly.

    I imagine the republicans are more angry with him because he used them, their values, their faith, their principles–he used them all and left them in pieces.

    November 24, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. teej

    President Bush as well as all other officials were elected by all whether you voted for him or not. If those that you voted for did not win, then it is just as much your fault because you did not help enough to get the person you wanted elected. The belly aching, finger pointing, Monday morning quarterbacking and name calling are child's play and easy. If you want things to be different, then make a difference and start locally. Work with your city, county and state officials to improve your communities and government. If they are going to do the job, fire them and get someone new. It works that way at our jobs, why not in government. They get a paycheck that you sign every election day.

    November 24, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Ian

    Is it ironic that the revolution of this country was due to taxation without representation and the overextending central bank?

    November 24, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Gaylon Barrow

    If Forbes is so smart why don't he become Treasury Secretary. I hate in when the news media bring in these people to sit around a table to critizise what other people are devoting their time and livlihood to the government. Then they state it should have been done this way. When it really comes done to it, it is all guess work what makes economy propser. An other plans fail. It certainly doesn't mean a man like Forbes has all the answers just because he has a magazine that says he's so smart. Forbes please don't run for President again. The American people have already showed you how smart they think you really are.

    November 24, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. former gop

    You know what makes me shake my head with a pitying smile? That the comments on her made by people who are against Obama and revering Bush, are made by people with the worst grammar and spelling. Not exactly the wording, but Churchill said something like, "Democracy sounds great until you spend five minutes talking to the average voter." Sad that the most educated people of this country are going to suffer greatly because of the uneducated's voting for Bush for the past two elections. And that, my friends, is the truth.

    November 24, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Vicki5

    Steve Forbes must be covering something up. He probably advised Paulson that he was going to have to "diss" him a bit, but "that it's all part of the game, brother".

    November 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Justin

    Kind of like Bush is the worst president of modern times?

    November 24, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5