Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's a Small, Small (Goldman Sachs) World

I'm starting to understand where the Goldman Sachs-is-everywhere paranoia comes from. It's because ... Goldman Sachs IS everywhere, sort of like a ubiquitous Lucifer with a money clip. Is Goldman Sachs Satan? I know this guy thinks so. Anyway, they're not just hogging all the top spots in the Treasury Department anymore. They've also got a desk at your favorite newspaper!

Check this out: At the Wall Street Journal, staffer Evan Newmark included in his online blog this gag-worthy line: "Hank Paulson is a national hero." I know, my reaction was the same: "Come again? What planet are you living on? Earth? My Earth? And this is Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary, bald guy, hangdog face? Same guy who as head of Goldman successfully lobbied Washington to let Goldman and four other investment banks escape capital requirements in 2004, letting them pump up their leverage crazy-high, leading to failures (Bear Stearns, Lehman) and a full-blown financial crisis that later blindsided him when he was Treas Sec, and then after he got up and dusted himself off he promptly went about trying to funnel billions in absolute secrecy to all his banking buddies on Wall Street? That freakin' Hank Paulson?"

So you may be thinking, "Wow, you'd have to be really ignorant and delusional to call Paulson a national hero. Or you'd have to be a former employee of Goldman Sachs."

Yeah. That's it. The second one.

Newmark apparently once worked for Goldman Sachs. Wouldja think the Wall Street Journal might see fit to disclose that? Nah.

Anyway, there is justice in the universe. If you haven't read it yet, Matt Taibbi (he of Rolling Stone fame), does an excellent takedown -- nay, slamdown -- of Newmark's limp-brained nomination of Paulson as savior of the nation. I'd say we're not going to see HP on a postage stamp anytime soon, if enough people read Taibbi's withering, expletive-laced criticism.

My favorite part, in which Taibbi addresses Newmark directly (my bold):
If anyone besides Paulson had been running Goldman Sachs earlier in this decade — if a person with a serious brain injury had been in his place, for instance, or a horse, or a head of lettuce — we’d all be better off today, because there wouldn’t be so many toxic Goldman-underwritten mortgage-backed CDOs on the market. We, all of us, are paying the freight for assholes like Paulson, and like you, for that matter.

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