Tuesday, 30 June 2009


After the oil bubble collapsed last fall, there was no new bubble to keep things humming - this time, the money seems to be really gone, like worldwide-depression gone. So the financial safari has moved elsewhere, and the big game in the hunt has become the only remaining pool of dumb, unguarded capital left to feed upon: taxpayer money. Here, in the biggest bailout in history, is where Goldman Sachs really started to flex its muscle.

It began in September of last year, when then-Treasury secretary Paulson made a momentous series of decisions. Although he had already engineered a rescue of Bear Stearns a few months before and helped bail out quasi-private lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paulson elected to let Lehman Brothers - one of Goldman's last real competitors - collapse without intervention. ("Goldman's superhero status was left intact," says market analyst Eric Salzman, "and an investment-banking competitor, Lehman, goes away.") The very next day, Paulson greenlighted a massive, $85 billion bailout of AIG, which promptly turned around and repaid $13 billion it owed to Goldman. Thanks to the rescue effort, the bank ended up getting paid in full for its bad bets: By contrast, retired auto workers awaiting the Chrysler bailout will be lucky to receive 50 cents for every dollar they are owed.

Immediately after the AIG bailout, Paulson announced his federal bailout for the financial industry, a $700 billion plan called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and put a heretofore unknown 35-year-old Goldman banker named Neel Kashkari in charge of administering the funds. In order to qualify for bailout monies, Goldman announced that it would convert from an investment bank to a bankholding company, a move that allows it access not only to $10 billion in TARP funds, but to a whole galaxy of less conspicuous, publicly backed funding - most notably, lending from the discount window of the Federal Reserve. By the end of March, the Fed will have lent or guaranteed at least $8.7 trillion under a series of new bailout programs - and thanks to an obscure law allowing the Fed to block most congressional audits, both the amounts and the recipients of the monies remain almost entirely secret.

Converting to a bank-holding company has other benefits as well: Goldman's primary supervisor is now the New York Fed, whose chairman at the time of its announcement was Stephen Friedman, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs. Friedman was technically in violation of Federal Reserve policy by remaining on the board of Goldman even as he was supposedly regulating the bank; in order to rectify the problem, he applied for, and got, a conflict-of-interest waiver from the government. Friedman was also supposed to divest himself of his Goldman stock after Goldman became a bank-holding company, but thanks to the waiver, he was allowed to go out and buy 52,000 additional shares in his old bank, leaving him $3 million richer. Friedman stepped down in May, but the man now in charge of supervising Goldman - New York Fed president William Dudley - is yet another former Goldmanite.

The collective message of all this - the AIG bailout, the swift approval for its bank-holding conversion, the TARP funds - is that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, there isn't a free market at all. The government might let other players on the market die, but it simply will not allow Goldman to fail under any circumstances. Its edge in the market has suddenly become an open declaration of supreme privilege. "In the past it was an implicit advantage," says Simon Johnson, an economics professor at MIT and former official at the International Monetary Fund, who compares the bailout to the crony capitalism he has seen in Third World countries. "Now it's more of an explicit advantage."

Once the bailouts were in place, Goldman went right back to business as usual, dreaming up impossibly convoluted schemes to pick the American carcass clean of its loose capital. One of its first moves in the post-bailout era was to quietly push forward the calendar it uses to report its earnings, essentially wiping December 2008 - with its $1.3 billion in pretax losses - off the books. At the same time, the bank announced a highly suspicious $1.8 billion profit for the first quarter of 2009 - which apparently included a large chunk of money funneled to it by taxpayers via the AIG bailout. "They cooked those first-quarter results six ways from Sunday," says one hedge-fund manager. "They hid the losses in the orphan month and called the bailout money profit."

Two more numbers stand out from that stunning first-quarter turnaround. The bank paid out an astonishing $4.7 billion in bonuses and compensation in the first three months of this year, an 18 percent increase over the first quarter of 2008. It also raised $5 billion by issuing new shares almost immediately after releasing its first-quarter results. Taken together, the numbers show that Goldman essentially borrowed a $5 billion salary payout for its executives in the middle of the global economic crisis it helped cause, using half-baked accounting to reel in investors, just months after receiving billions in a taxpayer bailout.

Even more amazing, Goldman did it all right before the government announced the results of its new "stress test" for banks seeking to repay TARP money - suggesting that Goldman knew exactly what was coming. The government was trying to carefully orchestrate the repayments in an effort to prevent further trouble at banks that couldn't pay back the money right away. But Goldman blew off those concerns, brazenly flaunting its insider status. "They seemed to know everything that they needed to do before the stress test came out, unlike everyone else, who had to wait until after," says Michael Hecht, a managing director of JMP Securities. "The government came out and said, 'To pay back TARP, you have to issue debt of at least five years that is not insured by FDIC - which Goldman Sachs had already done, a week or two before."

And here's the real punch line. After playing an intimate role in four historic bubble catastrophes, after helping $5 trillion in wealth disappear from the NASDAQ, after pawning off thousands of toxic mortgages on pensioners and cities, after helping to drive the price of gas up to $4 a gallon and to push 100 million people around the world into hunger, after securing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars through a series of bailouts overseen by its former CEO, what did Goldman Sachs give back to the people of the United States in 2008?

Fourteen million dollars.

That is what the firm paid in taxes in 2008, an effective tax rate of exactly one, read it, one percent. The bank paid out $10 billion in compensation and benefits that same year and made a profit of more than $2 billion - yet it paid the Treasury less than a third of what it forked over to CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who made $42.9 million last year.

How is this possible? According to Goldman's annual report, the low taxes are due in large part to changes in the bank's "geographic earnings mix." In other words, the bank moved its money around so that most of its earnings took place in foreign countries with low tax rates. Thanks to our completely hosed corporate tax system, companies like Goldman can ship their revenues offshore and defer taxes on those revenues indefinitely, even while they claim deductions upfront on that same untaxed income. This is why any corporation with an at least occasionally sober accountant can usually find a way to zero out its taxes. A GAO report, in fact, found that between 1998 and 2005, roughly two-thirds of all corporations operating in the U.S. paid no taxes at all.

This should be a pitchfork-level outrage - but somehow, when Goldman released its post-bailout tax profile, hardly anyone said a word. One of the few to remark on the obscenity was Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. "With the right hand out begging for bailout money," he said, "the left is hiding it offshore."

Fast-Forward to today. It's early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs - its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign - sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.


Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm's co-head of finance) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits - a booming trillion-dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an "environmental plan," called cap-and-trade.

The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Here's how it works: If the bill passes; there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy "allocations" or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billions worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the "cap" on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand-new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison's sake, the annual combined revenues of an electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.

Goldman wants this bill. The plan is (1) to get in on the ground floor of paradigm-shifting legislation, (2) make sure that they're the profit-making slice of that paradigm and (3) make sure the slice is a big slice. Goldman started pushing hard for cap-and-trade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues. (One of their lobbyists at the time was none other than Patterson, now Treasury chief of staff.) Back in 2005, when Hank Paulson was chief of Goldman, he personally helped author the bank's environmental policy, a document that contains some surprising elements for a firm that in all other areas has been consistently opposed to any sort of government regulation. Paulson's report argued that "voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate-change problem." A few years later, the bank's carbon chief, Ken Newcombe, insisted that cap-and-trade alone won't be enough to fix the climate problem and called for further public investments in research and development. Which is convenient, considering that 'Goldman made early investments in wind power (it bought a subsidiary called Horizon Wind Energy), renewable diesel (it is an investor in a firm called Changing World Technologies) and solar power (it partnered with BP Solar), exactly the kind of deals that will prosper if the government forces energy producers to use cleaner energy. As Paulson said at the time, "We're not making those investments to lose money."

The bank owns a 10 percent stake in the Chicago Climate Exchange, where the carbon credits will be traded. Moreover, Goldman owns a minority stake in Blue Source LLC, a Utah-based firm that sells carbon credits of the type that will be in great demand if the bill passes. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who is intimately involved with the planning of cap-and-trade, started up a company called Generation Investment Management with three former bigwigs from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, David Blood, Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris. Their business? Investing in carbon offsets. There's also a $500 million Green Growth Fund set up by a Goldmanite to invest in green-tech ... the list goes on and on. Goldman is ahead of the headlines again, just waiting for someone to make it rain in the right spot. Will this market be bigger than the energy-futures market?

"Oh, it'll dwarf it," says a former staffer on the House energy committee.

Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won't we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming? Maybe - but cap-and-trade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private tax-collection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it's even collected.

"If it's going to be a tax, I would prefer that Washington set the tax and collect it," says Michael Masters, the hedge fund director who spoke out against oil-futures speculation. "But we're saying that Wall Street can set the tax, and Wall Street can collect the tax. That's the last thing in the world I want. It's just asinine."

Cap-and-trade is going to happen. Or, if it doesn't, something like it will. The moral is the same as for all the other bubbles that Goldman helped create, from 1929 to 2009. In almost every case, the very same bank that behaved recklessly for years, weighing down the system with toxic loans and predatory debt, and accomplishing nothing but massive bonuses for a few bosses, has been rewarded with mountains of virtually free money and government guarantees - while the actual victims in this mess, ordinary taxpayers, are the ones paying for it.

It's not always easy to accept the reality of what we now routinely allow these people to get away with; there's a kind of collective denial that kicks in when a country goes through what America has gone through lately, when a people lose as much prestige and status as we have in the past few years. You can't really register the fact that you're no longer a citizen of a thriving first-world democracy, that you're no longer above getting robbed in broad daylight, because like an amputee, you can still sort of feel things that are no longer there.

But this is it. This is the world we live in now. And in this world, some of us have to play by the rules, while others get a note from the principal excusing them from homework till the end of time, plus 10 billion free dollars in a paper bag to buy lunch. It's a gangster state, running on gangster economics, and even prices can't be trusted anymore; there are hidden taxes in every buck you pay. And maybe we can't stop it, but we should at least know where it's all going.

I don't really have much to say about this except for 'gently caress Goldman Sachs'.

Paper Mac posted:

why is RS so stupid about their online poo poo anyway, taibbi's blog isn't even on RS

I have no idea, he is seriously one of the best journalists in America currently working and you'd think they would want to promote his work.

For anyone not already following his blog, here's a post about Fareed Zakaria:



Deep down we all have a Puritan belief that unless they suffer a good dose of pain, they will not truly repent. In fact, there has been much pain, especially in the financial industry, where tens of thousands of jobs, at all levels, have been lost. But fundamentally, markets are not about morality. They are large, complex systems, and if things get stable enough, they move on.

via Zakaria: A Capitalist Manifesto | Newsweek Business | Newsweek.com.

From a distance I’ve always vaguely admired the skills of Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria, who is maybe this country’s preeminent propagandist. Any writer who doesn’t admire what this guy does is probably not being honest with himself, because being the public face of conventional wisdom is an extremely difficult job — and as a man of letters Zakaria routinely succeeds, or pseudo-succeeds, at the most seemingly impossible literary tasks, making the sensational seem dull and the outrageous commonplace, rendering horrifying absolutes ambigious and full of gray areas. Wheras most writers grow up dreaming of using their talents to stir up the passions, to inflame and amuse and inspire, Zakaria shoots for the opposite effect, taking controversial and explosive topics and trying to help rattled readers somehow navigate their way through them to yawns, lower heart rates and states of benign unconcern. He’s back at it again with a new piece about the financial crisis called “The Capitalist Manifesto,” which is one of the first serious attempts at restoring the battered image of global capitalism in the mainstream press.

This writer has done work like this before, using a big canvas to rework an uncooperative chunk of history in the wake of a crisis. Zakaria is probably best known for his post 9/11 “Why Do They Hate Us?” article, a sort of masterpiece of milquetoast propaganda that laid the intellectual foundation for a wide array of important War on Terror popular misconceptions, not the least of which being the whole “They hate us for our freedom” idea — one of Zakaria’s central arguments was that poor struggling Arabs were driven to envious violence by the endless pop-culture reminders of American affluence and progress.

In one exchange in that piece Zakaria talks with an elderly Arab intellectual who scoffs at Zakaria’s suggestion that Arab cities should try to be more like globalization-friendly capitals like Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong. The old Arab protests that those cities are just cheap imitations of Houston and Dallas, and what great and ancient civilization would want that?

I thought the old Arab’s comment was funny, but Zakaria imbued it with serious significance. “This disillusionment with the West,” he wrote, “is at the heart of the Arab problem.” And while witty Arab potshots at tacky southern strip-mall meccas like Houston were significant enough to put high up in Newsweek’s seminal piece about the root causes of 9/11, things like America’s habitual toppling of sovereign Arab governments and installation of ruthless dictators like the Shah of Iran were left out more or less entirely (Zakaria managed to write a whole section on the Iranian revolution without even mentioning that the Shah come to power thanks to a CIA-backed overthrow of democratically-elected Mohammed Mosaddeq, whose crime was ejecting Western oil companies from Iran).

Not that Osama bin Laden and his followers aren’t all homicidal lunatics who should be doused in barbecue sauce and tossed in a shark tank, but Zakaria’s piece did a monstrous disservice to Americans by glazing over the sources of Arab anger and portraying America’s enemies as jealous dupes who chose to swallow the religious extremism fed to them by those opportunistic mullahs who stepped into the power vacuum left by ineffectual socialist strongmen like Nasser. (The neat rhetorical trick of making the current political bogeyman, Islamic terrorism, a descendant of the last political bogeyman, socialism, should not go unnoticed by admirers of the propaganda art). As is the case with almost everything Zakaria writes, there was a grain of truth in such a portrait, but it had the convenient benefit of almost completely absolving America of wrongdoing in the ongoing Shakespearean death-struggle for oil that is recent Middle Eastern history. Appallingly, Zakaria even compared America’s bloodlusting pursuit of Middle Eastern resources (a history that includes numerous CIA-backed coups and more than one brutal war) to the frolicking of Tom and Daisy in The Great Gatsby — ie toppling governments and arming Saddam Hussein against Iran is like a bunch of ginned-up rich folk knocking over the china. “America has not been venal in the Arab world,” he wrote. “But it has been careless.”

Zakaria’s Capitalist Manifesto is another such grandly fuzzy apologia, a broad exercise in shifting any blame for a big crisis away from a certain unblamable segment of society, only this one is much worse. In his take on the financial crisis he offers a few basic points:
1. Gosh it sucks that the crisis happened, but it’s not as bad as people say. Remember how people used to pick on Internet stocks — well, look at Twitter!
2. The solution to what ails capitalism is more capitalism.
3. There will be a great public desire to tighten up the laws governing the economic sector, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
4. You know what’s a great idea? Voluntary self-regulation.
5. You can make all sorts of interesting collages just using a bunch of dollar bills and a Photoshop program.
6. If we could just all learn to be better people, everything will turn out fine.

His description of the root causes of this financial crisis are about what you’d expect from a man who invoked
The Great Gatsby to explain the mentality of the murderer of 4,000 people. When he mentions the objectionable behaviors that led to the loss of trillions of dollars in wealth and untold numbers of lost jobs and misery, he does so with distant, clinical language, like he’s describing something seen through a telescope, disappearing over the horizon. In fact his method of describing the “moral crisis” that led to the financial implosion was to begrudgingly admit that many people were less than nice. Here’s how he put it:


Most of what happened over the past decade across the world was legal. Bankers did what they were allowed to do under the law. Politicians did what they thought the system asked of them. Bureaucrats were not exchanging cash for favors. But very few people acted responsibly, honorably or nobly (the very word sounds odd today). This might sound like a small point, but it is not. No system—capitalism, socialism, whatever—can work without a sense of ethics and values at its core. No matter what reforms we put in place, without common sense, judgment and an ethical standard, they will prove inadequate. We will never know where the next bubble will form, what the next innovations will look like and where excesses will build up. But we can ask that people steer themselves and their institutions with a greater reliance on a moral compass.

This is a beautiful piece of writing. Describing the misdeeds of Wall Street in the last decade by saying “few people acted… nobly” is sort of like saying that Stalin was “not always sociable” or O.J. Simpson was “not always committed to preserving life.” I mean, talk about a freaking understatement. Forgetting entirely the other insane lies in this passage (my favorite being the one about bureuacrats not taking cash for favors — I guess he means except for Bob Rubin taking $130 million or whatever from Citi after pushing through that merger), that “not so noble” bit is where Zakaria earns his money. Because if you get into the actual gory details of what went on in those years, there’s just no way you come out of that story not wanting to see every banker on Wall Street strung up by his testicles. The crimes of this era were monstrous thieveries, committed against ordinary people in a highly systematic and organized fashion with the aid and compliance of a bought-off government, and the only way you can not perceive what happened as a profound indictment of capitalism is if you blow off the specifics entirely and try to hide the details in vague, airy words like “irresponsibility” and “excesses.”

Because the specifics matter. It’s one thing to say that Citi wasted some of the money taxpayers sent its way via the bailout; it’s another thing to say Citi wasted some of the taxpayers’ money by upholstering the pillows on the private jet Sandy Weill took to Mexico over Christmas vacation with Hermes scarves. It’s one thing to say Wall Street bankers felt pressure to chase profits; it’s another thing to say they achieved those profits by systematically robbing a whole generation of pensioners and working-class homeowners, under the noses of the politicians they bought with tens of millions in campaign contributions.

Zakaria works hard to tell the crisis story minus these outrageous details. Then he goes on to argue that, basically, nothing should be done. We mostly just need a “gut check”; we, all of us, need to rediscover that little voice in all of us that says, “if it doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t be doing it.” I mean, that is actually what he wrote. No one needs to go to jail, we don’t need to worry about who’s to blame, we just need, you know, do a better job using our trusty moral compasses to navigate the seas of life. It’s classic Zakaria in the sense that he attacks ugly political phenomena with tired cliches and hack pablum until you’re almost too bored to keep your eyes open, then in the end reduces it all to a dumbed-down t-shirt that carries us forward to another cycle of political inaction: Laissez-faire capitalism doesn’t rip off people, people rip off people! Amazing stuff — God bless him.

my problem with taibbi is the same as my problem with chomsky. they both exist to make middle class people feel like they've been conned and duped, when it's actually the selfishness, greed and ignorance of those same middle class people that caused the problem in the first place.

Ironic war criminal posted:

my problem with taibbi is the same as my problem with chomsky. they both exist to make middle class people feel like they've been conned and duped, when it's actually the selfishness, greed and ignorance of those same middle class people that caused the problem in the first place.

Dr. Pwn posted:

Hey. It's another article in which bellicose moron Matt Taibbi acts indignant about things he doesn't understand. Thanks, LF. I can't wait for Those Fuckers who are stealing Our poo poo to Get Theirs during the Common Sense Revolution.

i think a good troll is when you know it's a troll and yet you still get pissed off or annoyed

so, Good Troll.

Ironic war criminal posted:

my problem with taibbi is the same as my problem with chomsky. they both exist to make middle class people feel like they've been conned and duped, when it's actually the selfishness, greed and ignorance of those same middle class people that caused the problem in the first place.

how did the selfishness greed and ignorance of the middle class cause goldman sachs to engage in securities fraud

Police Academy 6

Jul 12, 2006

Dr. Pwn posted:

I'm not trolling. You're an ignorant child no better than the average Fox Nation poster who loves to lap up Taibbi's worthlessly reductive garbage because his childish tantrums pander to your categorical anger against Those BanKKKers who Stole Our poo poo.

Dmitri-9 posted:

People are being duped. They might participate in a crooked system but they are ignorant participants by design.

Why do you feel the need to strip people of their agency and identity by insisting that they are but pawns being crushed under the heel of Big Business. If Americans took a step back and said "can i afford this 5 bedroom house? Do I need a new Chevvy that gets 2/2MPG? Should i keep stuffing my bloated gullet with Baconaters?" then perhaps we wouldn't be in this mess.

Jimmy Carter was probably the last person of power to actually try and get the citizenry to be aware of the consequences of their actions, but they didn't listen and now we have leaders of the bawling babies like Matt Taibbi frothing at the mouth about the very people that gave Americans exactly what they wanted:

Namely: excess. consequences be damned

Make Ready posted:

no but there was an implicit hands-off environment created by the clinton deregulation

ok but to understand that someone campaigning on "i will free the markets" actually translates to "goldman sachs will systematically defraud my pension fund" you have to understand something about behavioural economics which i guess falls under ignorance. but if that ignorance is caused by a lack of education that doesnt rigidly conform to free market ideology which is in turn caused by the pervasive neoliberal ideology of the financial and economic elites who fund the campaigns of the politicians who drive the educational agenda then you're back to shadowy cabals again

Ironic war criminal posted:

because they endorsed every bit of laissez faire capitalist bullshit by constantly electing people who pandered to big business and loved deregulation

isn't this obvious?

so if he more explictly acknowledged that the public loved clinton/bush/obama and therefore bears a large measure of the responsibility would you otherwise be ok with his analysis

Paper Mac posted:

how did the selfishness greed and ignorance of the middle class cause goldman sachs to engage in securities fraud

Firstly, shorting one's position in a market is not tantamount to securities fraud. Maybe you should stop getting your economic education from Rolling Stone Magazine.

Secondly, sale in the now-undercollateralized securities would not have been possible if not for the deliberate ignorance and complicity of overaggressive speculators who used (admittedly inaccurate) private ratings as an excuse for their inadvisable actions. These actions, as well as the harms that resulted, were allowed, encouraged, demanded, facilitated, and would not have been possible without by the greedy first-world middle class.


Ironic war criminal posted:

my problem with taibbi is the same as my problem with chomsky. they both exist to make middle class people feel like they've been conned and duped, when it's actually the selfishness, greed and ignorance of those same middle class people that caused the problem in the first place.


Dr. Pwn posted:

Firstly, shorting one's position in a market is not tantamount to securities fraud. Maybe you should stop getting your economic education from Rolling Stone Magazine.

Secondly, sale in the now-undercollateralized securities would not have been possible if not for the deliberate ignorance and complicity of overaggressive speculators who used (admittedly inaccurate) private ratings as an excuse for their inadvisable actions. These actions, as well as the harms that resulted, were allowed, encouraged, demanded, facilitated, and would not have been possible without by the greedy first-world middle class.


What is with this blame the victim poo poo? Goldman's actions were tantamount to securities fraud and would not have been possible under laws that existed just a few years ago. Maybe you should stop getting your economic education from the Goldman Sachs men's room.

Your second point is just as dumb, the actions of Goldman Sachs (and others) have affected people who have never heard of them, CDO's, CDS', etc., and can't possibly be blamed for them. Did you know that it is also possible for people who have never bought a security in their lives to suffer from the effects of global financial crises?

Ironic war criminal posted:

if he laid some blame at the feet of the american people, i would be much happier.

Are you seriously saying that Goldman Sachs was somehow forced to sell all these securities to pensions by the American people? That he isn't blaming the American people for the crimes of Goldman Sachs in an article about the crimes of Goldman Sachs hardly absolves the company of blame, but if you want to feel better about yourself by reading some angry words about Americans you can always read his article about Sarah Palin or something.

Dmitri-9 posted:

Strange, the article mentions ethics twice but only uses the word illegal when refering to actual penalties payed.

You are a moron.

I assumed he was talking about Matt Taibbi's reductive, alarmist frothing about the current crisis instead of his reductive, alarmist frothing about the late-90s tech bubble burst. My mistake.

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