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Dennis O'Brien Headshot

Goldman Scapegoat

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Far be it from me to defend Goldman Sachs and it's tone-deaf CEO Lloyd 'we're doing God's work' Blankfein.

I wonder, though, why Goldman is repeatedly the target of the most vitriolic attacks -- including the now famous description of the the firm as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi. http://bit.ly/1nmt8A

They're also now the target of the largest SEC action of the financial crisis http://bit.ly/ch0zK1. Which is amazing, when you think about it. Goldman, which didn't even want bailout money, has paid the government back, with interest for the funds it was forced to receive by Bush and Paulson. This is a bigger action than has been taken against Lehman, Bear Stearns, AIG, Citi, B of A.

Are we really to believe that Goldman is the worst offender? Or are they a convenient scapegoat? Politically, nothing could be a safer bet than attacking Goldman.

I also wonder if something more insidious could be at work here. Is it possible that attacking Goldman Sachs, in the press and in the political arena, is more palatable because there is an unconscious undercurrent of anti-semitism?

Founded by a German Jewish Immigrant Marcus Goldman, brought to greatness by Jewish-American Sidney Weinberg, it has long been known as the one white-shoe Wall Street firm that welcomes Jews ... which less than a generation ago was a big big deal, since the other firms would only hire Ivy league WASPS.

I'm not suggesting that journos like Taibbi, or prosecutors at the SEC are anti-semitic. But I do think that there is an atmosphere that can develop around an institution that makes it an easier target.

Is this just another version of scapegoating the "Jewish banker?"