Goldman Sachs: Don't Blame Us
When it comes to its role in the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs has a message for the world: Not guilty. Not one bit
(Business Week) -- By Roben Farzad --
The bankers at Goldman Sachs (GS), by traditional measures, ought to be on top of the world. Eighteen months removed from the depths of the financial crisis, Goldman posted a $13.4 billion profit in 2009, a Wall Street record. When Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein went on a recruiting trip to Stanford, he was greeted by an overflow crowd. Goldman cast off its Troubled Asset Relief Program yoke and proceeded to pay its employees more than $16 billion. The firm is moving into a new $2.1 billion headquarters on the Hudson River.
Goldman's reputation with its clients—who must have at least $10 million to open an account—has never been better. Among the general public, however, the perception is that Goldman is the toxic epicenter of everything wrong with Wall Street. The firm's 32,000 employees are seen as an army of Gordon Gekkos, greedy manipulators who pumped up the housing bubble, then bet opportunistically on its implosion as American International Group (AIG), its trading partner, buckled under massive debts. It is widely alleged—though unproven—that Goldman called on its close friends in government to arrange for an AIG bailout, effectively pocketing billions of taxpayer dollars. "Every game has a sucker," says William K. Black, a professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City who was deputy director of the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corp., "and in this case, the sucker was not so much AIG as it was the U.S. government and taxpayer."...MORE...LINK