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November 14, 2006

All I See Are Bills


by Chris Maynard and The BAG

In this photo-op plucked from the Sunday papers, Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson Jr. peers through a magnifying loupe as he inspects his signature on new 20-dollar bills at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.

Mr. Paulson earned 38 million dollars last year as head of Goldman Sachs, which means that it would have taken him a tad less than nine minutes to earn one of the printed sheets of 32 bills each. It certainly would have made payday an amusing spectacle.

The Treasury Secretary has said he’s concerned about income inequality. Presumably he means others’ incomes. According to U.S. Census figures, in 2000, the uppermost fifth of earners in Manhattan earned about 52 times what the lowest fifth did, the same disparity as in Namibia. In 2005, Mr. Paulson earned 103 times as much as that top earning class.

In yesterday’s International Herald Tribune, Albert Hunt observed that — in light of post-election demands for moderation and compromise — the vain and prideful Treasury Secretary has suddenly become a key White House player.

Given the new atmosphere, it’s funny Mr. Paulson looks for his own name when his real job is to watch over the dollars.  If President Bush has given Paulson new room to negotiate, as CBS reports, the real inspection to be made is whether the Secretary can come into view on an unjust tax policy and get a fix on a budget deficit that is bleeding-out.

(image: KarenBleier/AFP/Getty Images.

  • steve talbert

    that is so telling that he would inspect his signature on something done mechanically that he would have already seen the results of before it got put into the system. you would think he would be interested in all the microprinting and metal threads showing up at magnification…
    but then again, I don’t make 38 million a year..

  • marysz

    Is Paulson really making best use of the taxpayer’s money by indulging in this useless exercise with the magnifying glass? Couldn’t one of his lower-paid minions do the job just as well? This photo suggests that Paulson has a distorted sense of priorities and tends to be a micromanager. And this fussbudgetish photo-op suggests that he’s someone who has no interest in changing the status quo. Why should he? He benefits enormously from it. He’s one more useless (as far as the ordinary American is concerned) Administration official.

  • gasho

    I don’t know spit about this guy, but I’m fine with him personally doing an inspection. I don’t think he’s using a loop in this photo, though. The loop is sitting on the dollars, I think he’s taking a PHOTO of his signature on the money. Proof that he IS money. That’s the kind of ego trip you need to have when your income is that expansive.
    I also found the watch interesting. It looks like a G-Shock watch. They aren’t super expensive, but are more about expressing one’s sportiness and ability to hold up under pressure.
    Bush and his crew have f*cked things up so badly over the last 6 years and I never fail to wonder — what could possibly be the payoff for creating such wretched karma? Money? They have more money than they can spend. Power? How much power can one have – and why do they always need more? Sex? Are there underground pleasure palaces where these guys spend their nights? What could they possibly GET to justify raping the earth, killing babies, and destroying democracy? I’ve never figured it out… But I’m sure that having your name on every $100 bill has to give this guy a woody.

  • Doctor Jay

    Gasho, I think it’s competitive desire that motivates them. It’s not that they want stuff for its own sake, they want to outdo, or defeat that other guy, whether it’s the Democrat, the business rival, or Daddy. Money is how you keep score. Or votes.
    By the way, I have no problem with him doing personal inspections either. It could be a very motivational thing for the Treasury workers involved.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    BAGman: “it’s funny Mr. Paulson looks for his own name when his real job is to watch over the dollars.
    no, it’s not. it’s not even interesting.
    what a cheap shot; waste of bandwidth.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Those bills aren’t Franklins, they’re Jacksons.
    If you fold a U.S. 20-dollar bill just right, you can make it look like the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon on fire. Here’s an easy how-to:
    So, Gonzo, this *signature* examination, like everything else, probably has something to do with thwarting the terrorists.

  • quax

    your guess is as good as mine but my money is on a deal with the devil :) Always thougt there was something fishy about how Cheney seems to cheat death.

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