No doubt you’re going to feel terrible about this. Top executives of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse, are in a pout about how they’re being treated by you and me — i.e., the public.
These execs are used to being revered as financial geniuses, but having taken a $10 billion bailout from us taxpayers last fall, they’re now widely viewed as … well, as welfare recipients. Like other welfare checks, the big one that Washington doled out to Goldman Sachs came with some strings attached, causing the chieftains to get all huffy. Especially galling to these princes of privilege is the limit on salaries and bonuses that bailed out banks are allowed to give to those in the executive suites.
Thus, Goldman recently threw a little hissy fit and haughtily declared that it will pay back our $10 billion to get the blankety-blank government out of its private business. Bold move! At last, Wall Streeters are reasserting their rugged, free-enterprise ethic, right?
Uh, not exactly.
What Goldman officials fail to mention is that they’ll still be clinging to several other lifeboats floated to them by those skinflint meanies in Washington. For example, when insurance giant AIG was given some $200 billion last year to save it from total collapse, $12 billion of it was actually a pass-through payment to Goldman Sachs. Best of all, this quiet handout did not come with any of those nasty restrictions on executive pay — so Goldman is happily hanging onto this backdoor subsidy.
Then there’s another $28 billion that was slipped to these hardy free-marketers in the form of special low-interest loans guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. — a subsidy that Goldman’s chief financial officer concedes is vital to its survival. Far from foregoing this government underwriting, the bankers say they expect to ask for $7 billion more of it.
Additionally, Goldman has taken many more billions’ worth of low-cost loans from Federal Reserve funds. How many more billions? The Fed and the bank say this is “proprietary” information, not for public disclosure, even though it is public money.
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