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Paulson: "I'm Expecting No Other Major Financial Institutions To Fail"

Treasury Secretary Henry H. Paulson Jr. just stopped by CNBC for a grilling from Maria Bartiromo. Here are some highlights:

--On today's historic Fed rate cut: "I think we are very fortunate that we have a Federal Reserve that's willing to do what's necessary to get us through some challenging and extraordinary times."

--On the auto bailout that hasn't happened yet: "We are working on it. We are getting information. We need to do this. But we need to do it right....What we can do with the TARP, if we do it, is a bridge. It will be temporary. But it needs to protect taxpayers and have a path to viability."

--On what would happen if the auto industry failed: "I see no good to be saved by me speculating about something that we don't want to see happen. In today's world I don't think this is something that anyone wants to find out."

--On where the country is in terms of a recovery: "That's the question everybody is asking. You need to see that what we've done to date is we stemmed a string or cycle of financial institution failures could have have led to downward spiral, a free fall for the economy....I don't think there is any single action we can take that will be a silver bullet that can get us through this problem quickly."

--On whether banks are lending enough: "They are lending. But the question is: Are they lending enough? I think the answer from most people is no....Despite what we do, you are going to see when you go through a period like this, lending is going to be less than what people would like."

--On whether more banks could fail: "I'm expecting no other major financial institutions to fail."

-- Michael S. Rosenwald

By Michael S. Rosenwald  |  December 16, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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"I see no good to be saved by me speculating about something that we don't want to see happen."

Yes, Mr. Paulson, it is important not to be prepared for the collapse of GM and Chrysler. I don't like to think about yicky things, either. I just close my eyes and start humming, "Don't worry. Be happy!"

Posted by: lichtme | December 16, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Here in the land of Oz - Australia - everyone is asking "Where does the USA now go?"

Interest rates at zero unless you start to pay people to borrow. Massive Govt debt of $11trillion and growing. Massive Govt defecit.

And we have NOT seen the last of major collapses have we?

The Battle plan that is required will have to be stupendously far reaching and sweeping to turn all this around - a strategy which we have never seen before and if successfully implemented would be one we hope never to see again.

The Question is "Does the USA have the faith and courage to implement the same?"

The Answer is "If the history of the USA is anything to go by then - yes"

May the Almighty God whom I worship be with you.

Posted by: wandererfromoz | December 16, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, Paulson will no longer be around by Jan 20 to distribute more taxpayer money to his Wall Street buddies -- the ones who drowned their companies into a sea of red ink -- without demanding any accountability, and certainly not demanding that they be replaced or that their astounding compensations be cut in any way. Meanwhile, Repblian in Congress are emanding wage concesions from the working stiffs of Detroit, while the Wall Street billionaires are about to pay themselves fat bonuses with taxpayers' money.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | December 16, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

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