More broadly, Paulson warns that efforts to prevent foreclosures, well-intended though they may be, are delaying the inevitable. As a result, “we’ve got this big overhang on the market which is driving down housing prices and ultimately hurting all Americans.”
But the answers to our problems lie within our power, and Paulson advises that we not go hunting for scapegoats. To Mitt Romney’s proposal that the U.S. designate China a “currency manipulator” and slap retaliatory tariffs on its exports, Paulson replies, “I don’t think it would be very successful if another sovereign nation tried to [intimidate the U.S. that way]. And frankly . . . I don’t think currency has as much of an impact on our trade relations with China” as some other public figures do.
The former secretary has weathered several crises in his life, and he remains cautious about the U.S.’s prospects. But daunting as closing the deficit is, he concludes, “if we act now and if we do it in a comprehensive manner, we can do it in a way that [spreads] the sacrifice throughout society” fairly.
It’s heartening to hear.
— Brian Bolduc is an editorial associate for National Review.