There is some debate around here as to the world’s most crony company. There are many candidates but consistently in the top 5 or so is Goldman Sachs, Government Sachs.
Few companies have exploited the taxpayer and political connections to the extent Goldman has. Truly it is a company built fundamentally on cronyism.
In 2008 Goldman Sachs was leveraged more than 100 to 1 on its assets. (That is probably a conservative estimate.) When the economic tide turned it was fully exposed. It should have died the disgraced death it deserved. It should have been crushed under the wheel of the market.
Goldman however had a former CEO at Treasury, Hank Paulson, who bailed out his buddies with money taken from taxpayers.
These same taxpayers would soon languish through a Great Recession triggered by a Federal Reserve system of which Goldman was and is a partner. They would soon see their jobs disappear. They would soon see their homes foreclosed on. Then they watched as Goldman Sachs, a bank which under a capitalist system should have been humiliated and left prostrate on the rocks, turned around and gave the biggest bonuses in its history to its employees courtesy of the American citizenry. The US taxpayer not only bailed out Goldman which abused its power and screwed up on a Biblical scale, the taxpayer actually paid big bucks to Goldman. The relative poor were exploited to make the unethical – but connected – even richer.
The bank bailouts were such a colossal theft, on such a grand scale, it is hard to imagine even now. We were taken from. We were used as collateral for crooks. And now that time has passed we’re supposed to be OK with it? We’re supposed to not bat an eye when Lloyd Blankfein, who should be a wax figure in the banker hall of shame, breaks into the billionaire club? We’re supposed to look at him as some sort of success?
I don’t think so.
I will will never accept Goldman Sachs as a legitimate economic player. It will forever have an asterisk next to its name. It will never attain the highest level of respect in the eyes of those who care about how business is done. Who keep the real score.
And Goldman is likely fine with that. But in their hearts they know that their entire enterprise exists because it cheated and cheated the American people.
The bailouts were a turning point and the coming out party for America as a crony capitalist system. It was wrong. It was fundamentally un-American. Celebrating the wealth of crony capitalists like Lloyd Blankfein is anathema to what capitalism, and just basic human decency are about.
So the crony is a billionaire. Congrats. You Mr. Blankfein are still not welcome at my dinner table.
And I’m sure you are OK with that.