Why Goldman Sachs Is the Greediest and Most
  Dastardly of the Wall Street Pigs
  By Jim Hightower, AlterNet
  Posted on May 22, 2009, Printed on May 22, 2009

  No doubt you're going to feel terrible about this. Top executives of Goldman Sachs, the
  Wall Street powerhouse, are in a pout about how they're being treated by you and me --
  i.e., the public.

  These execs are used to being revered as financial geniuses, but having taken a $10 billion
  bailout from us taxpayers last fall, they're now widely viewed as ... well, as welfare
  recipients. Like other welfare checks, the big one that Washington doled out to Goldman
  Sachs came with some strings attached, causing the chieftains to get all huffy. Especially
  galling to these princes of privilege is the limit on salaries and bonuses that bailed out banks
  are allowed to give to those in the executive suites.

  Thus, Goldman recently threw a little hissy fit and haughtily declared that it will pay back
  our $10 billion to get the blankety-blank government out of its private business. Bold
  move! At last, Wall Streeters are reasserting their rugged, free-enterprise ethic, right?

  Uh, not exactly.

  What Goldman officials fail to mention is that they'll still be clinging to several other
  lifeboats floated to them by those skinflint meanies in Washington. For example, when
  insurance giant AIG was given some $200 billion last year to save it from total collapse,
  $12 billion of it was actually a pass-through payment to Goldman Sachs. Best of all, this
  quiet handout did not come with any of those nasty restrictions on executive pay -- so
  Goldman is happily hanging onto this backdoor subsidy.

  Then there's another $28 billion that was slipped to these hardy free-marketers in the form
  of special low-interest loans guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. -- a
  subsidy that Goldman's chief financial officer concedes is vital to its survival. Far from
  foregoing this government underwriting, the bankers say they expect to ask for $7 billion
  more of it.

  Additionally, Goldman has taken many more billions' worth of low-cost loans from Federal
  Reserve funds. How many more billions? The Fed and the bank say this is "proprietary"
  information, not for public disclosure, even though it is public money.

  So, while these golden ones are loudly repudiating the $10 billion public subsidy they took
  from us, they are coyly retaining at least 40 billion of our dollars to stay afloat -- a tidy sum
  that does not include any restrictions on pay levels. Coincidentally, Goldman has since
  announced that it is setting aside nearly $5 billion to be distributed at the end of the year as
  compensation for its executives, including payments for outlandish bonuses for those at the

  Saying that such-and-such is the greediest bunch of bankers on Wall Street is like
  someone claiming to have the biggest hairdo in Dallas -- the competition is fierce. But
  that's quite a head of hair atop Goldman Sachs. Well, sniff the executives, we merely play
  the game according to the rules we're given.

  Sure, and the Mafia plays its game strictly according to Hoyle. The difference is that the
  Mafia must actually break the rules, while Wall Street simply hires lobbyists and politicians
  to write the rules.

  Indeed, Goldman Sachs has been nicknamed "Government Sachs" by its rivals, for it
  always seems to have at least one of its top officials strategically placed inside government
  to bend federal financial rules to its benefit. In the 1990s, for example, two Goldman foxes
  -- Robert Rubin and Larry Summers -- were inside the Clinton administration henhouse,
  where they helped craft the deregulation scams that enriched their former banks, before
  the scams caused the crash of our economy.

  Following that crash, up stepped Hank Paulson, who had been Goldman's CEO before
  George W. plucked him off the Street to run the very bailout that has now deposited so
  much of our money in his bank. With Bush's demise, Hank is gone, but not Goldman. That
  sly Goldman Fox from the Clinton years, Larry Summers, is back, this time in Barack
  Obama's henhouse, where he's top economic advisor.

  Not surprisingly, our gold keeps flowing to Goldman Sachs -- but don't expect the
  bankers to be grateful to you.

  To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators
  Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

  Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author
  of the new book, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the
  Flow." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown,"
  co-edited by Phillip Frazer.

  © 2009 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
  View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140166/