Goldman Sachs Doing "God's Work"?

By Charles Gasparino, Huffington Post - November 10, 2009

The only thing worse than Goldman Sachs amassing close to $20 billion in bonus money for its executives based on various government subsidies and bailout measures is listening to senior executives there trying to explain it all away. The spin job has been coming from an unlikely source: The normally media shy Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been making the rounds lately, talking to selective reporters, including William Cohan, who recently wrote a book about the fall of Bear Stearns and now has the firm's complete cooperation as to write something on Goldman Sachs, the most prestigious of the Wall Street firms, even if it needed a bailout to survive last year's financial crisis..

Cohan's Bear book, the first of many financial crisis tomes (including my own) wasn't exactly a puff piece, but trading access for information is a time honored journalistic practice, and it's human nature to be nicer to someone who gives you information. So presumably we'll all find out from Cohan how, in the throes of the financial crisis, Goldman really didn't need the $10 billion in bailout money it received from the federal government as its stock cratered; that it was forced to take the cash from then-Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman CEO) Hank Paulson, or how despite its exposure to troubled insurance giant AIG, Goldman was miraculously "hedged," against losses, meaning that the fed's AIG's bailout last year didn't really help Goldman survive last year's panic. No, Goldman survived because it was built for survival.

Forget the absurdity of such claims, Blankfein has been on a roll of late, repeating them time and again, not just presumably to Cohan, but to a growing number of credulous journalists who will stomach just about anything to get a few minutes with the CEO of the Great Goldman Sachs, even if its greatness was put to the test last year.

Blankfein's spinning is reaching epic proportions. Several recent stories about Goldman have cast the firm as the Great Satan of the securities markets, or as Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi put it, the "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." No longer is Blankfein simply trying tell the world Goldman isn't the root of all evil; rather, old Lloyd is informing us all that Goldman is a source of goodness in the world. The exact quote, from the Times of London has Blankfein professing that as CEO of the vampire squid he's actually "doing God's work," simply by doing what banks get paid to do: Raising money for clients and investing in businesses.

Oh really, Lloyd? My brother is a doctor who works in the intensive care unit of an inner city hospital; he could have a cushy lucrative practice here in New York, but he likes helping people, and yet he has never once told me he's doing God's work even after he explained one afternoon how he had just saved a homeless man's life by massaging his heart.

Believe it or not, I happen not to fall into the camp of Goldman haters, where people believe the firm is behind every scandal and conspiracy and may have even created the swine flu virus so it could corner the market for drug stocks. (Though Goldman and several other firms did seem to have no problem obtaining for their employees the swine-flu vaccine, which is in short supply.) Indeed, as I show in my new book The Sellout, when it came to risk-taking over the last 30 years on Wall Street, Goldman did it better than any other firm on the Street. The folly that was found at a firm like Bear Stearns, with its CEO caring more about playing bridge and golf (and allegedly smoking marijuana) than tending to the firm's balance sheet, would never happen at Goldman Sachs.

But there is something truly unsettling about the new message coming from the firm, honed I hear from a phalanx of image consultants who are literally trying to re-write history as the firm gets ready to dole out its enormous bonus pool. And that's what all this spinning is about. For the record Goldman Sachs didn't take down the financial system last year -- Citigroup, Merrill, Lehman or Bear are much more responsible for that. And for the record every firm spins -- its called public relations, and Goldman will need all the PR it can muster as it decides in the coming weeks how much of the $20 billion it will hand out to its executives. My sources at Goldman say Blankfein won't be stingy because he needs to prevent top producers from bolting to hedge funds and private equity.

What makes Goldman so contemptible is that its level of spin has almost no basis in reality. We are supposed to believe Goldman wasn't bailed out; it didn't need the government's money when big investors where yanking funds from the firm and its stock was plummeting and now the firm is doing "God's work," even as government bureaucrats continue to subsidize how the firm makes most of its money -- through risk taking and bond trading, all on the backs of the US taxpayer.

Goldman, in case you haven't heard, has been classified as a commercial bank, meaning it can borrow cheaply to finance its risk taking, and can borrow from the Federal Reserve in a pinch. That's why it's amassing such massive profits. And yet not a penny of its massive bonus pool will be lent out to funding-starved small businesses. Think about that: The Federal Government run by the most Liberal Administration in years, is subsidizing big business at the expense to small business.

How did this bizarre scenario develop? Who knows, but it should come as no surprise that Wall Street -- Goldman in particular -- funneled far more money to president Obama than it did to his Republican challenger, John McCain. Maybe that's why the president has been eerily silent on the Goldman Sachs subsidy, even as Lloyd Blankfein tells the world he's doing "God's work."

'I'm doing God's work.' Meet Mr Goldman Sachs - Times Online

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: "I'm Doing God's Work."

Times Online | News and Views from The Times and Sunday Times

Tom Gregory: Vatican Confirms: Goldman "Doing God's Work"

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Before any other issues were taken up at the beginning of this year, a Campaign Finance Reform Bill should have been passed...and the Banking and Lending Institutions should have been REGULATED. I have been asking myself all year WHY hasn't Congress put Regulations back in place? We all know that DEREGULATION of the Financial Industry is a major part of what allowed this economic mess to happen. We have given them billions of tax payer dollars, without any regulations or RULES/TERMS in place as to what they can and can't do with the money WE have "lent" them...or the FUTURE business practices they engage in that directly effects the Financial Security of America and WE THE PEOPLE. That's not just stupid, it's insane. Considering the RULE/REGUL­ATIONS/TER­MS that these Financial Institutions require from US, to lend WE THE PEOPLE money, and their unbridled ability to PUNISH consumers for failing to meet those terms...a late payment for example...­Foreclosur­e...outlan­dish Interest rate­pos...lend­ing fees on and on.... why on earth have WE loaned them billions of dollars with ZERO regulations/TERMS in place to protect OUR hard EARNED $$? If We the People do not insist on Campaign Finance Reform, we might as well accept the fact that WE do not have a DEMOCRATIC PROCESS that Governs for a FREE PEOPLE in the United States of America... We have the United States of CORPORATIONS and WE live according to THEIR DICTATES and control.

These people have learned to exploit a huge weakness in our political system whereby federal money can be diverted to them by kicking back a small amount of it in campaign contributions. It looks like these people begin to feel they are above the law and are the "chosen" ones. Nothing will change without campaign finance reform.

I can't help thinking about who Jesus raged against in the Gospels after reading any article about Wall Street bigwigs.

Ah "God's work"..... God is going to take "Faith LLC" and "Heaven Inc" and merge them, needs help from an experienced firm like GS to make the deal happen... then the new publicly offered company will need a bail out - because rival firm "Bealzibub Inc" is harvesting souls at triple the rate. It's all about the P/E ratio in Heaven these days!

Of course it's cynical and craven to pretend to be doing "God's" work. But the PR flaks understand that a simple statement like that is enough to shut 1/3 of the American population up. Pretty savvy if you ask me.

dont worry about our wealth ---the meek shall inherit the earth.------we just want more of you to share your inheretance

I bet God wishes he had passed on humanity. If he is up there looking down on us we must resemble an ant pile that's just been kicked over, with all of us scurrying here and there with mock urgency to convince ourselves how important we are. A few of us are in ivory towers really trying to play God but in fact are just colossal thieves. If I were him I'd take out a big can of Raid and just spray till the world stopped spinning.

What is the LEAST amount of compensation that Blankfein would accept and deem reasonable, for him and his barbarian cohorts on Wall Street, to continue to do "God's Work"? Once Blankfein's material needs are covered by his compensation, the rest is simply part of the absurd C*r*apitalist Endless Yardstick of Money to validate the "value" of their work. I submit that what Blankfein "does" is less valuable than what a skilled surgeon does to save a life. And I suggest that what the surgeon does is far closer to "God's Work", than what is accomplished in the Boardrooms of Wall Street Banks. The absurd "compensation yard-stick of self-worth" inherent in C*r"apitalism, needs to be capped and curbed. That implies a "Windfall Tax" for Blankfein and his fellow barbarians. "God's Work" is its own reward. It does not need absurd compensation.

Exactly the point I have made on several other posts like this. This country is out of whack. Last time I checked if you needed serious medical treatment, serious surgery including organ transplants etc, only a physician can do these things. Not to mention that the amount of schooling, residency and training is ridiculous. Then you have guys like this that are paid hundreds of millions of dollars to billions for doing nothing compared to what a physician does. I was appalled to wake up this morning and see some 21 year old won $8.5 million for playing poker. My neighbor throws a basketball in a net and makes $13 million a year. I really think it is time for physicians in this country to go on strike or selectively charge the super wealthy massive premiums for treatment. If Blankfein goes in for major surgery, the surgeons working on him should charge him $20 million up front or they will not perform the surgery. With this selective taxation on the super rich for treatment, lots of poor patients could get treatment for free. If people think it is ok for a baseball player to make $20 million a year, a movie star to make $20 million a movie and so on, then they should have no problem with the person that saves their lives making the same amount.

Wall Street plays high stakes poker with our money in high risk investments (which, before the repeal of Glass-Stegall, they couldn't do), and then, when they lose it all, the government, under Too Big To Fail, simply pays their bills so they don't have to file bankruptcy, like you and me. Nothing is being done to protect the commercial banking system from high risk investment banking, and it is destroying this country.

What's striking about the "God's Work" comments is that Wall Street is now borrowing the pitch used by snake oil salesmen and Jimmy Swaggert-type evangelist preachers for decades - knowing there are people in the U.S. who will excuse any kind of behavior and follow you off a cliff if you wrap your actions in God. So if you're out of work or losing your home because of the dubious practices of investment bankers, not to worry. it's all part of God's plan. Mind you, I do not believe being devout means you are a fool. As Tevye asks in Fiddler on the Roof, "Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?" He wasn't asking God for a handout. His point was his hard work should have some value too.

And whose god might that be?

God ofthe chosen people the rest of us are just chiken liver Chosen people = self acclaimed status delivered through religious dogmas

A typical refrain from "well-doers" is, 'God has blessed me'. Implicit in that statement is "it must be what God wants for it to be". The "i know what God wants mindset" is a mainstay of religious fundamentalism, Christian and Muslim alike. How to know what God wants is theory at best, and left to fundamentalists, dangereous.

"Imagine no religion." How many people world wide ove the centuries have died because of organized religion? And all because human beings cannot accept the fact of thier mortality. And of course conservatives have a monopoly on "knowing" what god wants. This is the 21rst century people , lets grow to hell up!!

13: 16 page 3999938774 of Star Treck Bible Chanel 2 & 3 evenagalists psalm 20 " thou shoul take the money and run " " Chosen one, do as you please, all of this is yours " " man's law doe's not apply to thee "

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