I don't expect Lloyd Blankfein to say anything this Tuesday before the Senate's Permanent Investigations Subcommittee that we haven't already heard from Tobacco, Enron, and Blackwater executives. They always claim to be as pure as the driven snow, and to be just as "frustrated" by the situation as the public, and if we just weed out a few "bad apples" and . . . (Zzzzzz).
Isn't it amazing how these powerful CEOs, who are paid tens of millions of dollars to know every detail about their companies, act as if they just fell off the back of a turnip truck when they come to Congress? Suddenly, they're not really in charge of anything; they don't know what their subordinates are doing; they can't remember the content of emails they've received; they aren't even "in the loop."
They know the best way to stymie a grand jury or an inquisitive congressional committee is to compartmentalize the wrongdoing and conveniently suffer a sudden bout of memory loss. That's probably why Goldman's own shareholders have filed two lawsuits against Blankfein and the board of directors; "systematic failure" is what the lawsuits call it. Blankfein's response? Hire the lawyers who used to represent the White House and the committee that's investigating you.
We mustn't allow Goldman Sachs to offer up Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre, the young trader who is the only person named so far in the SEC's fraud case, as the sacrificial lamb so the Big Fish like Blankfein and the others can walk away unscathed. If the CEOs and CFOs aren't responsible then who the hell is?
In October 2009, in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Goldman Sachs executive Brian Griffiths invoked Jesus Christ to defend the huge bonuses Goldman was doling out to its top traders: "The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is a recognition of self-interest. . . . We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all." (Quoted in 13 Bankers, p. 182) (I also remember Jesus saying something about a camel, the eye of a needle, and a rich guy.)
Last November, Blankfein claimed that Goldman Sachs was "doing God's work" (because banks create jobs and enable companies to make stuff). I suppose Blankfein also believes that "Fabulous Fab" was "doing God's work" when he was slinging those junk securities to ill fated investors so John Paulson could make a killing on the collapse of the housing market.
Alas, the Lord does work in mysterious ways.
Recently Blankfein has been telling people that the SEC's fraud case will "hurt America," as if this guy has any right to judge what's in "America's" best interest. You've done such a great job helping to destroy the country - here's a bailout and a bonus! Lloyd Bankfraud owes us an explanation.
A couple of months ago President Obama called Blankfein a "savvy businessman," which he is. But who gives a damn? -- Certainly not the 8 million people who lost their jobs; or the millions of people who lost their retirements or their homes; or the investors who got suckered; or the taxpayers who bailed out the wealthiest investment banks in the world and who are right now poised to give them another bailout in the future.
As of October 2009, there were 1,537 lobbyists representing financial institutions and other businesses to fight against any new financial regulations by Congress. And this army of lobbyists outnumbers by 25-to-1 those who represent consumer groups, unions, and other supporters of reform. (13 Bankers, p. 192)
The fact is these Wall Streeters are unbalanced people. They're "unbalanced" in that their lives are so consumed with making money they've neglected other vital facets of living that a balanced life requires. That's fine; that's their choice. But they shouldn't be allowed to run the country. And if their losses continue to be socialized while their profits are privatized we have turned the country over to them.