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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Goldman Sachs
August 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Goldman Sachs vs. the people

Edwin Edwards, the flauntingly corrupt former governor of Louisiana, once bragged that “the only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.” He won the election and even spoke to a convention of investigative reporters, many of whom had been documenting his misdeeds for years, that I attended in San Antonio in the mid-1980s. The feds eventually got him and sent him to the hoosegow.

Ol’ Edwin should have been a well-connected investment banker. Goldman Sachs, the “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” has been cleared of wrongdoing for its role in bringing on the greatest financial catastrophe since the Great Depression.

If President Obama thinks forcing the Securities and Exchange Commission to back off will improve his campaign funding, he’s as naive as a Goldman muppet. According to Bloomberg, Goldman, which gave lavishly to him in 2008, has reversed course along with the rest of Wall Street and is backing wealthy Republican Willard Milton “Mitt” Romney. So has GE, which Mr. Obama has bootlicked so obsessively.

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Comments | More in Banking, Goldman Sachs, Great Recession, Lindsay Lohan

March 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Goldman’s vocal defector and the need for cops on Wall Street

I’ve self-destructed in many jobs before, but never as publicly or popularly as Greg Smith, who resigned from Goldman Sachs in an op-ed in the New York Times. (I know, I know: Some commenters will say I self-destruct daily in this blog, but hang with me). He decried a culture of “ripping off” clients. “The firm,” he wrote, “has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.”

Matt Taibbi, who famously wrote that Goldman “is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” might ask, what took this 12-year veteran so long to realize the toxic culture at Goldman and elsewhere. Heidi N. Moore of Marketplace Radio had a more nuanced interpretation:

I see Smith’s self-immolating, public letter of resignation as more about the 99 percent and the 1 percent within Wall Street. It’s the objection of the underclass of younger bankers and traders stymied by a lack of career mobility, suddenly disillusioned, coming to a realization that despite all their hard work, not everyone actually makes it on Wall Street – and “winning,” anyway, may not be a prize worth having if its means making it to the top of a widely-attacked industry and signing on to more of the moral compromises that get others into the corridors of power. As the Wall Street bonus pie shrinks, those internal wars at firms get more and more small and petty – not just between traders and bankers, but trader versus trader and banker versus banker. Smith’s opus falls into this camp.

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