Paulson's Mortgage Fix

For a while it looks as if his tenure as Treasury Secretary would be remembered chiefly for his repeated and apparently fruitless trips to China to persuade authorities there to do something about their huge trade surpluses with the U.S. Now it's becoming clear that Henry Paulson's legacy will be determined instead by his success or failure in navigating the financial crisis that began earlier this year in the U.S. subprime-mortgage market and has since spread around the globe.

His current focus--what's becoming known as the Paulson Plan, although it was first floated in October by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chair Sheila...

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