Warren Buffett interviews Hank Paulson on the financial crisis. The video of the two men speaking was just posted recently on youtube, but took place several months ago.
Warren Buffett interview with Paulson below
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Also see On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Hank Paulson
Hank Paulson, acting as U.S. Treasury Secretary, caused outcries from both the populist Republican and Democratic Parties as well as the general populace as he tried to get the situation under control.
Through unprecedented intervention by the U.S. Treasury, Paulson led government efforts which he said were aimed at avoiding a severe economic slowdown. After the Dow Jones dropped 30% and turmoil ensued in the global markets, Paulson pushed through legislation authorizing the Treasury to use $700 billion to stabilize the financial system. Working with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he influenced the decision to create a credit facility (bridge loan and warrants) of US$85 billion to American International Group so it would avoid filing bankruptcy, after having been told that AIG held teacher pension plans, 401k plans, $1.5 trillion in life insurance plans for Americans, and the French Finance Minister called to let Paulson know that AIG held the interests of many Eurozone countries.
On September 19, 2008, Paulson called for the U.S. government to use hundreds of billions of Treasury dollars to help financial firms clean up nonperforming mortgages threatening the liquidity of those firms. Because of his leadership and public appearances on this issue, the press labeled these measures the “Paulson financial rescue plan” or simply the Paulson Plan.
With the passage of H.R. 1424, Paulson became the manager of the United States Emergency Economic Stabilization fund.
As Treasury Secretary, he also sat on the newly established Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversaw the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
Paulson agreed with Bernanke that the only way to unlock the frozen capital markets was to provide direct injections into financial institutions so investors would have confidence in these institutions. The government would take a non-voting share position, with 5% dividends for the first year on the money lent to the banks and 9% thereafter until the banks stabilized and could repay the government loans. According to the book Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem–and Themselves, Paulson, Bernanke, New York Federal Reserve Chairman Timothy Geithner, and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair attended the October 13, 2008 meeting on at which this plan was presented to the CEOs of nine major banks.