Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Smell Something ... Anti-Goldman ... In the Air

Even Lucifer himself, endowed with powers to shake the heavens and earth, couldn't counter the amount of bad publicity that the entity some perceive to be the financial anti-Christ (and that others simply call Goldman Sachs) has been getting lately. Recently Bloomberg TV commentators were taking potshots at Wall Street's most gilded survivor of Meltdown 2008, asking a very reasonable and quite pointed question: What the hell was Goldman doing with computer programs capable of manipulating markets (which an employee allegedly stole, prompting swift FBI action)?

But wait, there's more. Sure Matt Taibbi may be prone to working himself into an overwrought state about Goldman, with his "vampire squid" and "blood funnel" metaphors, but now Janet Takolivi has an opinion piece at CNN where she blasts Goldman's bloated earnings quarter and drops in a colorful bit of imagery that we'll probably see again in days to come.
Wall Street's "financial meth labs," including Goldman's, massively pumped out bad bonds and credit derivatives that have melted down savings accounts, pension funds, the municipal bond market and the American economy.
So it's not just Taibbi who's swinging a sharp sword. If you're Goldman, you have look out on all sides ... including your backside. The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper fond of capitalism draped with muscle, adorned with sashes of gold, goes after the giant investment bank too, amazingly enough. Here's the money paragraph:
Goldman will surely deny that its risk-taking is subsidized by the taxpayer -- but then so did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, right up to the bitter end. An implicit government guarantee is only free until it's not, and when the bill comes due it tends to be huge. So for the moment, Goldman Sachs -- or should we say Goldie Mac? -- enjoys the best of both worlds: outsize profits for its traders and shareholders and a taxpayer backstop should anything go wrong.
Wow. Sentiment is really starting to swing, in a big way, against Goldman Sachs.