Thursday, May 28, 2009

If the Issue is Not Whether You Broke a Few Rules, or Took a Few Liberties, What is it About?

During the Congressional hearings into the possible criminal actions of Goldman-Sachs, CEO Lloyd Blankfein said:
“The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our in-the-dark counterparties; we did. But you can’t hold a whole bank responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole banking system? And if the whole banking system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our financial institutions in general?

“I put it to you, Carl Levin! Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!”
Who was bad mouthing the United States of America? This was an investigation into the actions of one firm, gambling on the failure of the sub-prime mortgage industry.

The same sub-prime mortgage industry that Jim Flaherty now has us heavily invested in.

So who is Lloyd Blankfein?

According to Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks in their new book The Trouble With Billionaires:
For the most part, Western governments did little to clip the wings of Bankers, who continued to reward themselves exorbitantly even after they'd devastated the global economy in 2008. The one exception was Britain. After bailing out its banks for more than $1.6 trillion, Britain's Labour government slapped a 50 percent tax on bank bonuses in the fall of 2009. The move prompted howls of protests from the banking elite, including foreign banks operating in Britain.

As the furor grew, Goldman Sachs, the legendary Wall Street firm, quietly informed a key British media outlet that it was considering relocating its massive London operation to Geneva, signalling that its top officials had no intention of submitting to higher taxes. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who received $73 million in compensation in '007 and had amassed some $500 million in Goldman stock, revealed how little the crash of 2008 had affected bankers' perception of themselves and their role in society. In an interview with The Sunday Times of London, Blankfein steadfastly defended his company and himself, explaining that he was just a banker "doing God's work."' (1)
A banker doing God's work. Was it God's work to rake in profits while people lost their homes? And yet that's just what Goldman Sachs did.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged global investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs with subprime fraud on Friday, April 16, 2010. The SEC claims that Goldman Sachs intentionally defrauded investors with a risky hedge fund that was backed with ill-fated subprime mortgages.
And guess who Jim Flaherty hired for advice on our banking industry? An adviser from Goldman Sachs.


1. The Trouble With Billionaires, By Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks, Viking Canada, 2010, ISBN: 978-670-06419-9, Pg. 15

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