Sunday, October 25, 2009

Goldman Sachs, KGB?

"Hoping to defuse a politically combustible situation, Goldman officials have been mounting a soft-sell campaign that pushes the usually reticent company into the spotlight. For months, the New York firm has been working to dispel what it sees as misperceptions about itself to make its profit and bonuses go down easier, from a lobbying push in Washington to media interviews in which Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein reminisces about his humble roots. ... Company executives also have discussed charitable contributions by the firm or by encouraging empoyees, according to the people familar with the situation. Such a move could help Goldman repel any public backlash it suffers are a result of this year's bonuses, whioch will be decided near the end of the fourth quarter and paid out in January. ... Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag said the charm offensive is a necessary response to supercharged rhetoric and exaggerations that have swirled around the 140-year-old company since the financial crisis erupted. In June, a Rolling Stone magazine article--which was passed up and down Wall Street--called Goldman a 'great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.' ... 'In a world that seems to have turned upside down, where virtues are viewed as vices,' said Mr. van Praag, 'it is important we explain our business model to a wider audience, why what we do matters and why and how we pay our people.' ... Luigi Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said trying to explain to the public billions in bonuses barely a year after Goldman got a $10 billion capital infusion from the government and bolstered its liquidity by converting to a bank holding company is to many Americans the equivalent of 'putting lipstick on a pig.' ... Goldman's share price is up more than threefold since it bottomed out in January, including Wednesday's jump of $5.05, or 2.7%, to $192.28 in 4 pm [NYSE] composite trading. ... Blankfein also has been spending more time meeting lawmakers in Washington, lobbying for more effective systematic regulation", my emphasis, Susanne Craig at the WSJ, 15 October 2009, link:

"Roughly a year after accepting unprecedented financial aid to shore up its operations, Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. [GSG] posted yet another impressive quarter that further distances itself from its rivals, many of which are still struggling to overcome the credit crisis. ... 'We are very aware of what is going on in the world, but we have to trade that off with being fair to our people who, we believe, have performed admirably throughout the crisis,' said [GSG's] chief financial officer, David Viniar. ... [GSG] also has benefitted from the [FDIC's] debt-guarantee program, which means it and other banks can borrow money at cheaper rates than before. ... The firm has tried to soften the blow of its decision to set aside huge pools of money for compensation; Thursday it made a $200 million charitable contribution to the [GSG] Foundation, which has an existing $283 million in it. Still, that did little to deflect attention from the $16.71 billion in has earmarked for bonuses, which will be paid out early in 2010", my emphasis, Susanne Craig at the WSJ, 16 October 2009, link:

A "charm offensive" should be easy for GSG. GSG likely employs dozens of graduates of the KGB "charm school" in Nelson DeMille's The Charm School, 1988. This is a job, not for Superman, but Michael Moore (MM). MM, please make a movie of politicians meeting GSG apparachiks then slinking away with newspapers covering their faces. GSG now sprouts the prosperity gospel of say Ken Hagin, or the now-deceased Reverend Ike. "Sow a seed" of say $10 million into Washington and have it return to GSG 100 fold! The Rolling Stone article insulted GSG. GSG would not stick its blood funnel into a money pile of less than $1 billion. Does GSG really want the American public to understand its "business model"? Go Zingales! Why need Blankfein, who makes about $60 million a year, have his actions regulated by $150,000 a year civil servants? Who is he kidding? WC Varones recently added GSG's "logo" to his blog. Take a look. I have an idea for GSG, it can add the vampire squid to its stationery and people's business cards.

Is GSG's charitable contribution admissible "res gestae" on the issue of "consciouness of guilt"? Didn't Bernie Madoff donate millions to charity? Millions of other people's money. Yes Viniar, Henry Paulson performed "admirably" for his "former" firm. $16.71 billion divided by $200 million = 83.5, you're in the "prosperity gospel" ballpark!


Anonymous said...

What exactly is Goldman now?

A financial holding company?


"Blankfein also has been spending more time meeting lawmakers in Washington, lobbying for more effective systematic regulation"

Oh sure...

Who in Congress is going to be the Gramm or Leach or Bliley this round? Who is going to step up and attach their name? Or will it be some pablum mouthed googoo...

~"Financial Rationalization and Common Man's Reform Act"?

~"Making Opportunity for Every Bank Account" bill?

~"Capping Personal Interest Rates at 20% Inflation Containment Act"?

Congress takes cover of "protecting" Americans while writing into law every wish of Lloyd.

Hello Congress... are you ready to be taken on a ride? Goldman is there to "charm" you.

Jr Deputy Accountant said...

"The Rolling Stone article insulted GSG. GSG would not stick its blood funnel into a money pile of less than $1 billion"


I might repost this on GS666 if you don't mind.

It's a joke now, Lord Bankfiend on the offensive, even the UK politicos getting in on the action saying "hey! we need those Goldman bonuses too, who else will we tax?!"

Bastards aren't even giving us a good circus with our bread. Shame.


Anonymous said...

I have often thought that Hank Paulson's fears of public unrest requiring martial law if he didn't get his way were similarly res gestates, indicating his feelings of guilt about the mess.

Too bad he didn't think through to what people might feel if he did get his bailout.