Goldman Sachs Makes Greatest Profits in History – Strengthens Its Control of the United States of America

Another Goldman executive named to key government post as its profits skyrocket

A Goldman executive today becomes key enforcement official, joining a long list of his colleagues in key posts.

Glenn Greenwald

Oct. 16, 2009 |

Apparently, the U.S. government didn’t have enough Goldman Sachs executives in key financial and regulatory positions, so this happened today:

A Goldman Sachs executive has been named the first chief operating officer of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division.

The market watchdog says Adam Storch, vice president in Goldman Sachs’ Business Intelligence Group, is assuming the new position of managing executive of the SEC division.

The move comes as the SEC revamps its enforcement efforts following the agency’s failure to uncover Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud scheme for nearly two decades despite numerous red flags.

A Goldman executive as COO of the SEC’s enforcement division.  In October of last year, a Goldman Sachs Vice President, Neel Kashkari, was named by former Goldman CEO and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Pauslon to oversee the$700 billion TAPR bailout.  In January, Tim Geithner hired a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, Mark Patterson, to be his top aide and Chief of Staff.  In March, President Obama nominated former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates futures markets, even though he confessed to lax regulation during the Clinton administration over the derivative instruments that caused the financial collapse.  In April, Goldman hired as its top lobbyist Michael Paese, who, before that, was the top aide to Rep. Barney Frank on the House Financial Services Committee, which Frank chairs.

According to ABC News in October, 2008, Goldman has “spent more than $43 million dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to cultivate friends and buy influence in Washington, D.C. since 1989” and their “bankers have been the country’s top political campaign contributors this year.”  As Michael Moore has been pointing out, Goldman was the number one source of funding for the Obama 2008 presidential campaign.  The bailout of AIG — which resulted in massive federal government monies to Goldman — was engineered at a meeting between Paulson, Geithner and Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankenfein.  Last year, Goldman paid top Obama economics adviser Larry Summers $135,000 for a one-day visit to Goldman.  

Recently obtained calenders from Geithner reveal that “Goldman, Citi and JPMorgan can get Geithner on the phone several times a day if necessary, giving them an unmatched opportunity to influence policy” and “Geithner’s contacts with Blankfein alone outnumber his contacts with Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.”  Documents obtained by The New York Times relating to Geithner’s work before becoming Treasury Secretary “show[] that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions.”

Only an irrational, raving conspiracy theorist would believe that any of those have any connection at all to this, from today’s Washington Post:

The nation’s largest banks, preserved from failure by federal aid and romping in markets revived by federal aid, are racking up vast profits even as the broader economy struggles to emerge from recession . . .

Goldman said it earned $3.19 billion between July and September, nearly the most it has ever made in three months, a record it set earlier this year.

So the most profitable quarter Goldman Sachs ever had in its history was the second quarter of 2009 — just a few months after massive amounts of taxpayer money were transferred to them and their counter-parties in order to prop up their business, while several of its key competitors were allowed to die.  The second-most profitable quarter it ever had in its history was the third quarter of 2009.  In his seminal article in The Atlantic earlier this year, former IMF economist and current MIT Professor Simon Johnson warned that, for deeply corrupt oligarchies in which a financial crisis occurs, this is what happens:  “at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government . . . Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk — at least until the riots grow too large.”

Goldman employees are set to receive record bonsues this year as well.  That occurred at the same time the unemployment rate went to 9.8%, the highest in 26 years.  Is it possible to imagine a more vivid illustration of what Johnson described?

It’s true that the threat of worldwide economic collapse has abated, and that’s a good thing.  It’s not particularly surprising that if the Government transfers trillions of dollars to an industry that that industry will improve.  But as the Treasury Department’s independent and tenacious watchdog, Neal Barofsky, has been trying to warn, the surviving banks are bigger and more powerful than ever, thus maximizing our dependence on them, and the primary stated goal of the bailout (increasing lending) has not been achieved.  Rep. Frank’s committee in the House yesterday passed a bill to regulate derivatives that is so filled with loopholes it may end up exempting most industry players.  That the administration continues, so brazenly, to place Goldman Sachs executive in the very government positions with the most power over the financial industry illustrates how little effort is devoted to hiding what is really taking place.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

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