A millionaire many times over, Paulson was paid $30 million in total
compensation in 2004 from Goldman Sachs, almost a 40 percent gain from the year
Paulson is a major Republican donor and fundraiser.
He collected at least $100,000 for Bush's 2004 campaign, earning the label
"pioneer" reserved for Bush's six-figure fundraisers. Paulson has donated at
least $68,000 to GOP campaigns and party committees so far in the 2005-06
election cycle, including $25,000 to the National Republican Senatorial
Committee and $15,000 to its House counterpart, figures compiled by the
Political Money Line campaign finance tracking service show.
His nomination follows another important change in the nation's economic
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, appointed by Bush took the
Fed helm from Alan Greenspan on Feb. 1.
Bernanke, who has had a bit of a bumpy start in terms of communicating with
financial markets, described Paulson as "highly respected throughout the
financial world." Given the new Fed chief, economists said it couldn't hurt to
have Paulson's seasoned market experience on the Bush team.
Paulson is to take over the Treasury post at a time when the economy, which
had posted its strongest growth spurt in 2 1/2 years in the opening quarter of
2006 is expected to log slower growth.
Rising energy prices are a wild card for the economy, while big budget and
trade deficits also pose risks.
Trying to defuse trade tensions with China is another challenge. The United
States racked up a record-high $202 billion trade deficit with the Chinese last
As Treasury secretary, Paulson will not only become the president's top
economic salesman but also the top spokesman for the U.S. dollar.
Snow's financial diplomacy led China to take important steps in revamping a
currency policy that some in the U.S. had blamed for the huge trade deficit and
a loss of manufacturing jobs. With his worldwide contacts, Paulson might be able
to bring about further change to relieve the trade situation, some economists
and policymakers said.
Clad in a crisp dark suit, Paulson accepted the nomination Tuesday as the
president and Snow looked on.
"Our economy's strength is rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit and the
competitive zeal of the American people and in our free and open market,"
Paulson said. "It is truly a marvel, but we cannot take it for granted. We must
take steps to maintain our competitive edge in the world."
Paulson's nomination was met with applause from many in the financial
community. They also commended Snow for his leadership during the last three