Monday, July 20, 2009
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.
DXM: Get Rich and Die Tryin'/3.16.09