Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’

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NEW YORK—Claiming that enough time had surely passed since they last caused a global economic meltdown, top executives from the U.S. financial sector told reporters Monday that they are just about ready to completely destroy the world again.

Representatives from all major banking and investment institutions cited recent increases in consumer spending, rebounding home prices, and a stabilizing unemployment rate as confirmation that the time had once again come to inflict another round of catastrophic financial losses on individuals and businesses worldwide.

“It’s been about five or six years since we last crippled every major market on the planet, so it seems like the time is right for us to get back out there and start ruining the lives of billions of people again,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “We gave it some time and let everyone get a little comfortable, and now we’re looking to get back on the old horse, shatter some consumer confidence, and flat-out kill any optimism for a stable global economy for years to come.”

“People are beginning to feel at ease spending money and investing in their futures again,” Blankfein continued. “That’s the perfect time to step in and do what we do best: rip the heart right out of the world’s economy.”

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kosobukin_9_20110425_2024722358 16.01.13: Steve Bell on Goldman Sachs and the delayed bonus tax plan

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“relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” Matt Taibbi observed back in 2009.

And, in 2012, Goldman Sachs [pdf] relentlessly jammed its blood funnel into anything that smelled like money, thus enabling it to capture  a larger share of the available surplus. It had net earnings of $7.48 billion (compared to $4.4 billion in 2011), based on growth in the bank’s trading activity and “principal transactions” while keeping compensation and benefits close to where they were in the previous year.

How else to describe Goldman Sachs, then as now, but in the following terms:

The bank’s unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of America into a giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere — high gas prices, rising consumer credit rates, half-eaten pension funds, mass layoffs, future taxes to pay off bailouts. All that money that you’re losing, it’s going somewhere, and in both a literal and a figurative sense, Goldman Sachs is where it’s going: The bank is a huge, highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth — pure profit for rich individuals.

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cartoon130111-02_full_600 David Simonds moderate bonuses 13.01.13

 

The next time someone suggests that the problem in the country right now is that there’s not enough bipartisan cooperation, show them what bipartisanship actually looks like.

It looks like the Fix the Debt campaign, and the face of that campaign is Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Fix the Debt is a public relations campaign that appears as a very sensible, very bipartisan effort. But at its core, all of it is window dressing for a very ideological, partisan policy position, which is the lowering of corporate taxes and the hollowing out of government programs like Social Security.

Listen to Blankfein in the CBS interview: Social Security “wasn’t devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career.” “You’re going to have to do something, undoubtedly, to lower people’s expectations of what they’re going to get. . .the entitlements, and what people think they’re going to get, because they’re not going to get it.”

Kevin Roose explains how Fix the Debt won over Wall Street.

Fix the Debt prefers to keep its behind-the-scenes operations under wraps. Most on-the-record comments are a mishmash of platitudes about shared sacrifice and working together for the good of the country. But interviews with a number of organizers and CEO council members point to a massive networking effort among one-percenters — one that relies on strategically exploiting existing business relationships and appealing to patriotic and economic instincts.

The Institute for Policy Studies explains both how the Fix the Debt campaign’s corporate tax agenda works, especially the windfalls the campaign’s member corporations would reap from a territorial tax system, and the savings the Fix the Debt campaign’s CEOs have derived from the Bush tax cuts.

  • The 63 Fix the Debt companies that are publicly held stand to gain as much as $134 billion in windfalls if Congress approves one of their main proposals — a “territorial tax system.” Under this system, companies would not have to pay U.S. federal income taxes on foreign earnings when they bring the profits back to the United States.
  • The CEOs backing Fix the Debt personally received a combined total of $41 million in savings last year thanks to the Bush-era tax cuts. The top CEO beneficiary of the Bush tax cuts in 2011, Leon Black of Apollo Global Management, saved $9.9 million on the Bush tax cuts. The private equity fund leader reaped $215 million in taxable income last year just from vested stock.
  • Of the 63 Fix the Debt CEOs at publicly held firms, 24 received more in compensation last year than their corporations paid in federal corporate income taxes. All but six of these firms reported U.S. profits last year.

And, as usual, Senator Bernie Sanders clearly explains what’s going on:

“Think about the arrogance of these guys on Wall Street who were bailed out by the middle class of this country when their greed and recklessness nearly destroyed the financial system,” said Sanders. “And now they come to Capitol Hill to lecture Congress and the American people about the need to cut programs for working people. This is what class warfare is all about.”

What appears to be bipartisanship in the midst of the Second Gilded Age is actually nothing more than class warfare of the 1 percent against everyone else.

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