photo manipulation by nacrowe
HANK: FIVE YEARS FROM THE BRINK (RADICAL MEDIA, 2013) is a JOE BERLINGER (SOME KIND OF MONSTER, PARADISE LOST TRILOGY) directed documentary that allows former TREASURY SECRETARY HANK PAULSON, third under the GEORGE W. BUSH administration, to explain his response and process with regards to the 2008 financial crisis that defined his stewardship of the UNITED STATES' economy.
the format of this documentary is very much interview-based in the tradition of ERROL MORRIS, who famously is an off-camera interlocutor asking questions of his subject and challenging them. all we get is the subject's, here being PAULSON, reactions which serves as a light interrogation. this is intercut with archival footage. i appreciate this format because it very much leaves the focus of the narrative on that of the subject, not distracting side recreated events or first-person narrations. it forces the viewer to listen.
anyway, PAULSON very much says what you would expect: that the focus of TARP and propping up the banks and FANNIE MAE/FREDDIE MAC in the wake of the crisis was aimed at helping common people. he was direly afraid of a second depression, with bread lines and high unemployment. his wife gives testimony throughout about the physical tole these decisions had on him physically and mentally. i do not doubt it. i remember back then people called him "KING HANK" because he was given the power by congress to financially buttress the market however he saw fit, resulting ultimately in TARP.
he mentions the fact that all the money was made back and answered, ineffectively, longstanding critiques that the bailouts never matriculated down to the street level and that the banks merely profited off the kindness of the government's bailout. AMERICAN people always talk about "no risk-it, no biscuit" but what happens when you fail? average people loose homes. the wall street bankers got bonuses.
two points i found interesting.