Without any apparent sense of irony, the Oregonian this morning offers us up the following in vouching for the deal reached between city negotiators and Merritt Paulson:
Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard, who negotiated the agreement, said [the] city is getting solid assurances from a wealthy family. Paulson's father is Henry Paulson, the former U.S. treasury secretary and Wall Street mogul.
The timing of those "solid assurances" is, well, unfortunate, to put it mildly. On Friday the Congressional panel charged with overseeing the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) released its latest report, and this week the panel's chairwoman Elizabeth Warren has been making the rounds on tv and radio to discuss their findings.
Warren minces no words: she accuses then Secretary Paulson of lying to her and the panel about the ways in which they used public funds to bail out the banks. Warren had asked Paulson whether, in purchasing assets from the troubled banks, they were receiving assets "at par" - and he answered yes. But the panel's own investigations revealed that Treasury was receiving them often far below equivalent value - on average a third below.
Ironically, Warren herself says straight out that she's making no judgment on this as a policy matter: what she's objecting to is the lie. Subsidizing banks may be ok or not - but it needs to be debated for what it is. You don't get to call it one thing when it's something else.
So - this is the Henry Paulson whose backing of the MLS deal is supposed to reassure us. That make you feel any better?