Monday, July 20, 2009

Goldman Finger


Since I was out most of last week, I missed the opportunity to get into the news that Goldman Sachs just posted $3 billion in second quarter profits and set aside more than $11 billion as compensation and bonuses for its employees.

Thankfully, the ever-vigilant and always entertaining Matt Taibbi had plenty to say about it. He hit Goldman hard in his most recent piece for Rolling Stone, outlining decades of government-enabled malfeasance that made Goldman staggeringly wealthy while the rest of us sucked eggs. If you haven't read the full story yet, I highly recommend doing so -- although take a couple of Xanax beforehand, otherwise it'll infuriate you to the point of wanting to throw a chair through a window.

Once you're done with that, read Taibbi's reaction to word of the Goldman profits and bonuses.

Here's a taste:

"Last year, when Hank Paulson told us all that the planet would explode if we didn’t fork over a gazillion dollars to Wall Street immediately, the entire rationale not only for TARP but for the whole galaxy of lesser-known state crutches and safety nets quietly ushered in later on was that Wall Street, once rescued, would pump money back into the economy, create jobs, and initiate a widespread recovery. This, we were told, was the reason we needed to pilfer massive amounts of middle-class tax revenue and hand it over to the same guys who had just blown up the financial world. We’d save their asses, they’d save ours. That was the deal.

It turned out not to happen that way. We constructed this massive bailout infrastructure, and instead of pumping that free money back into the economy, the banks instead simply hoarded it and ate it on the spot, converting it into bonuses. So what does this Goldman profit number mean? This is the final evidence that the bailouts were a political decision to use the power of the state to redirect society’s resources upward, on a grand scale. It was a selective rescue of a small group of chortling jerks who must be laughing all the way to the Hamptons every weekend about how they fleeced all of us at the very moment the game should have been up for all of them...

Taken altogether, what all of this means is that Goldman’s profit announcement is a giant 'fuck you' to the rest of the country. It is a statement of supreme privilege, an announcement that it feels no shame in taking subsidies and funneling them directly into their pockets, and moreover feels no fear of any public response. It knows that it’s untouchable and it’s not going to change its behavior for anyone. And it doesn’t matter who knows it."


I've said it before but it just can't be restated enough: I swear, in another time and place these people would've been hauled kicking and screaming to the guillotines.

Related:

DXM: Get Rich and Die Tryin'/3.16.09

18 comments:

oskar said...

Would be nice if there was a Dexter Morgan type of vigilante who would 'take out the trash' from Wall St.

More realistically, though: a whole army of Eliot Spitzers would be required to really makea positive difference.

Mozglubov said...

I really don't get this... if they made all this money so soon after getting a massive amount of money from the government, shouldn't that money go back to the government?

Anyway, I know the American financial system is rather broken, but this is massively screwed up.

Mozglubov said...

Okay, I finally made it through the whole article... I feel kind of ill now. It isn't so much the idea that this happened, but the idea that it is so intimately connected to the government that there seems to be no way to root out the corruption.

B8ovin said...

Contrast this with other issues and events that are presented as being much more important: the Jackson death, the Birther movement, Tea Parties, the Obama's N.Y. date, etc. Until we, as a country, can come to some consensus about what is a real problem and what is the obsession of pockets knuckle biting fluff heads we're pretty much fucked.

Matt Osborne said...

Let the tumbrils commence, I say!

DragonIV said...

Hmmm, maybe you guys missed the bit about Goldman paying back TARP funds? How is it that they're using taxpayer funds to pay bonuses again?

SteveR said...

The announcement isn't just a "fuck you" to the rest of the country, it's more like "hey rich guys, look what we did! Join us and you too can fuck the country!"

Jeremy said...

Allons enfant de la Patrie, le jour de gloire et arrive...

Aux armes, citoyens, Formez vos bataillons, Marchons, marchons! Qu'un sang impur, Abreuve nos sillons!

Alex said...

Hmmm, DragonIV maybe you missed the bit where taxpayers own part of the company thanks to the bailouts....

Milton said...

what these companies did (Goldman, AIG, Shitty Bank, etc.) and continue to do is inexcusable. when the whole economic meltdown happened i was of the opinion that all these companies should be left for dead. they were the ones that caused this, let them pay for it. but everyone i expressed my views to said that too many people would loose their jobs, too much money was owed and too many smaller businesses would suffer. so i relented. now i see that i was right all along. these douchebags should have drowned and gone away. i'm pretty sure that somehow they would've managed to come back, sooner or later, but at least for a while we would've been free of the money masters.

Anonymous said...

Bush or Obama - doesn't matter Goldman and all the other white collar crooks will keep fucking us

SteveR said...

Goldman "Sacks" the nation.

Anonymous said...

I work at Goldman Sachs, and I think I speak for all of us here when I say that your bitter little diatribe means nothing to those of us who actually matter. Don't be jealous. You could have had a 7-figure salary too, but you blew it.

Chez said...

Right. Because most millionaires spend their spare time trolling blogs.

Mozglubov said...

"your bitter little diatribe means nothing to those of us who actually matter."

And that statement's not the least bit sociopathic...

DragonIV said...

Alex, the conditions of the TARP loans stated the government interest in the receiving institution ended when the TARP funds were repaid. There should have been some kind of prepayment penalty for early repayment, and I do not know whether the government waived that or Sachs paid it.

Anyhow, fact is, Sachs paid their debt and the government has no vested interest in Sachs. So, no, yours and my taxes aren't propping up Sachs at this point, but we're still propping up a fair number of banks and General Motors to boot.

So...we're thrashing Sachs around why, again? I'm all for raging at moneygrubbers, but let's make sure we're using facts to do it.

Deacon Blue said...

Dear Malcontents,

Perhaps you haven't seen my letter on the Goldman Sach web site on diversity. If you had, you might have an inkling of what we face. To whit:

"At Goldman Sachs, we regard diversity as a business imperative – it is at the very core of our ability to serve our clients well and to maximize return for our shareholders. Diversity supports and strengthens the firm’s culture, and it reinforces our reputation as the employer of choice in our industry and beyond."

It is my intention that at least half of my executives, from vice president on up, have at least one mistress (or kept man, as the case may be) who is of non-white status.

Finding clean, quality, classy women (and men) of this persuasion can be very difficult and expensive.

Also, it is my hope that my executives will buy vacation properties in economically depressed areas such as Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Martha's Vineyard and Upstate New York, and this, too, requires substantial salary and benefit/bonus packages.

Furthermore, I am encouraging them to vacation in hard-hit nations and continents, including South America, Africa, Jamaica, Cuba and the like, and I'm sure you can see where more money in our pockets will mean a lot to people in those areas.

Furthermore, generous bonus and salary packages will help encourage our executives to give out fives, tens or perhaps even twenties to homeless people on the sidewalks, some of them perhaps your own relatives, spouses or children.

Cordially,

Lloyd C. Blankfein
Chairman and Chief CEO
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Capt. Pissed said...

Wow, that's the most upsetting economic/political article I've ever read.

Glad you linked to it; I get the rolling stone, but I guess I didn't read that issue because the jonas brothers were on the cover.

Are there any critiques/rebuttals of Taibbi's article by anyone knowledgable (and non-partisan) enough to be able to do it?

It's time to dub companies and people who steal from and damage the U.S. like this as traitors and to prosecute them as such.

Obama's in the middle of this now, but Republicans want are against the regulation that Goldman Sachs needs and deserves, so what where the fuck does that leave us?