It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
The success also may renew questions about the government's role in the company's fortunes. Goldman Sachs last month repaid its $10 billion in federal aid, but it has not disclosed to what extent it continues to rely on other federal rescue programs, such as borrowing from the Federal Reserve.
Goldman reported revenue of $13.8 billion in the second quarter, up from $9.42 billion during the comparable period last year. More than three-quarters of that revenue came from the basic business of buying and selling financial instruments such as mortgage-backed securities, corporate bonds and derivatives. Viniar said the company was making unusually large returns in what he described as "plain-vanilla transactions" because of a relative dearth of competition.
Goldman Sachs has played a crucial role in creating every market bubble since the 1920s -- and has profited from not only the bubbles, but from the crash that followed as well, says a new expose in Rolling Stone magazine.
An article in the July 9-23 issue of the magazine, written by Matt Taibbi, lists five asset bubbles that the 140-year-old investment bank helped create -- and one that Taibbi asserts the firm is currently working to make happen.
The five bubbles the article says Goldman was central to creating are the Wall Street stock bubble in the 1920s, which led to the Great Depression; the tech-stock bubble of the late 1990s, which ended in the 2001 recession; the housing bubble of the past decade, which resulted in the current economic crisis; the oil price run-up last summer, when oil shot up to $140 a barrel, likely helping tilt the entire world into recession; and what Taibbi describes as "rigging the bailout," when Goldman Sachs' well-placed alumni inside the U.S. government engineered last fall's bank bailout in such a way that the company profited massively.
His informal group of advisers includes E. Gerald Corrigan, a managing director of Goldman Sachs and a former New York Fed president; Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.; John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch; Paul A. Volcker, the former Fed chairman; and Peter G. Peterson, the former U.S. secretary of commerce.
White House officials yesterday released their personal financial disclosure forms, and included in the millions of dollars which top Obama economics adviser Larry Summers made from Wall Street in 2008 is this detail:
Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . .
Financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch paid Summers for speaking appearances in 2008. Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.
That's $135,000 paid by Goldman Sachs to Summers -- for a one-day visit. And the payment was made at a time -- in April, 2008 -- when everyone assumed that the next President would either be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and that Larry Summers would therefore become exactly what he now is: the most influential financial official in the U.S. Government (and the $45,000 Merrill Lynch payment came 8 days after Obama's election). Goldman would not be able to make a one-day $135,000 payment to Summers now that he is Obama's top economics adviser, but doing so a few months beforehand was obviously something about which neither parties felt any compunction. It's basically an advanced bribe. And it's paying off in spades. And none of it seemed to bother Obama in the slightest when he first strongly considered naming Summers as Treasury Secretary and then named him his top economics adviser instead (thereby avoiding the need for Senate confirmation), knowing that Summers would exert great influence in determining who benefited from the government's response to the financial crisis.
Goldman Sachs raised the S&P 500 index's target for the end of the year to 1060 from 940 Monday, but said the risk of "double-dip" recession remains significant.
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.