Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Michael Moore: Deport Goldman Sachs

Last night, Mrs. JP asked, "Since corporations are now people, how come they can't get sent to jail like real people?"

No one's been able to answer that. In fact, few have even asked. Lloyd Blankfein, in the contemptuous, mangy rat way in which he squeaked at Sen. Carl Levin last Tuesday, certainly gives us the impetus if not the legal means to do so.

Goldman Sachs is one of those banks for whom the meme "too big to fail" was created. In fact, Goldman virtually created the "too big to..." rationale that essentially translates to, "Too big to obey the law and suffer comeuppance. If you fall, we'll take you down with us. And we'll get right back up a lot sooner than you because you're going to help us back up."

And in their congressional "testimony", Goldman basically said three things:

#1, we're market-makers, even if the "market" is based on toxic derivatives known as mortgage-backed securities.

#2, we're not risk-takers, we're risk sellers. Our clients and shareholders wanted to buy risk and that's what we gave them. Sure, they wanted to buy risk as long as they understood the gaming table was tilted in their favor and that the ultimate risk would be secretly assumed by the homeowners and 401(k) holders whose assets were sneaked into these toxic portfolios.

#3, we lost money before we made it back. And then some. And then some more after that. And we may lose again. "So who knows how it will turn out ultimately?"

So I guess we're supposed to feel pre-emptive pity for John A. Paulson, who made $3.5 billion by loading the dice and marked the cards for Goldman's investors who weren't told that they were eventually buying virtually nothing but toxic "tronches" (or levels) but were told they were being picked by an independent hedge fund manager and not a Goldman insider like Paulson.

And in a way, there's some schadenfreude involved because these same banks took a bath in these toxic pools of bonds and were taken in hook, line and sinker just like the people to whom they'd made these risky loans years ago. So if the American homeowner who bought into Bush's American dream of Ownership spiel is responsible for the subprime market blowing up, how responsible does that make the suckered banks who made them those risky loans in the first place?

Defending obscene profits in the middle of a deep recession, after which their losses were socialized and profits privatized was no great surprise to anyone who's been paying even cursory attention. And when one looks at the sheer, barely concealed contempt that Goldman Sachs, oil executives and Erik Prince of Blackwater exudes toward Congress during these hearings, one gets an even more immediate sense of who's really in charge.

And Michael Moore's right about one other thing: If a shaved hyena like Lloyd Blankfein is in favor of Dodd's and Kaufman's bill, that's a klaxxon alarm to do a Quentin Tarantino and kill this fucking bill by yesterday. And let's deport a Goldman Sachs executive into the Mexican drug war for every illegal worker our government nabs, because the illegal worker, unlike the Goldman executive, is at least putting their capital back into the economy instead of hoarding it for the End Times.


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