The rap is that Goldman is sui generis. It gets to make money because it is different from you and me. It has rigged the system. Bernie Madoff is nothing compared to Goldman, which has rigged not just the system, but, according to current conspiracy theories, history itself, so it profits from whatever happens to the markets, good or bad.
And if the fix isn't in, it's almost worse. After all we've been through, these guys at Goldman are still engaged in high-risk behavior, which, however profitable it is this quarter, will invariably bring us down again.
But for all the shocked, shocked! criticism of Goldman, the problem for reformers, puritans, public sector-ites, egalitarians, and pantywaists is that so many people refuse to see Goldman as unique or dangerous. Instead, Goldman is that all-American model of wealth: if they can do it, I can too. The fear is not that things are going to come crashing down, but that Goldman is the harbinger of things going up -- and what if I miss it?
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