I ask Goldman Sachs: have you no shame? (well no…)

April 18, 2010

I am just as mad or madder than anyone in the so-called Tea Party movement. We might even be on the same page on this one.

I just read a headline on the Huffington Post that said that Goldman Sachs is paying out some $5 billion in bonuses to its employees even as it is under federal investigation for fraud and even though it took taxpayer dollars to save itself from going under.

At this point I have to wonder why anyone pays their taxes at all.

Even the British prime minister says Goldman Sachs is morally bankrupt, and he and the Germans are contemplating lawsuits.

I know President Obama has criticized Wall Street for not being more circumspect in its awarding of bonuses after taking billions of dollars in government bailout money, but his words are not enough — meanwhile his administration seems to  not fully get it or maybe the problem is that he has Wall Street insiders trying to fix the problem. Yes, I know he is pushing for finance reform and it is his administration who has filed a civil suit against Goldman Sachs, but from what I am gathering, the reforms may end up being tailored more to Wall Street needs that that of the general public (not sure on this one).

Personally, I don’t think Wall Street should have anything to do with putting together financial reform. Wall Street needs to have new and tougher rules put upon it, and then good luck, because I think history clearly shows it is incorrigible.

Meanwhile, we need a new and honest financial system.

For one thing, I think, we would be a lot better off with a system in which money was based on gold (yes, a return to the gold standard) or something of real value, rather than something based on imagination and speculation and fraud.

From what I have read, one problem with something like the gold standard is that there is only so much gold and that results in capital being hard to come by. And shipping gold bars back and forth across the ocean is not all that practical.

Nonetheless, it would be good to have fairly tight credit (too easy credit got us into the current mess) and money that was based on something real to save us from drastic inflation and wild speculation.

And you know, while I am not an Adam Smith philosophy of capital follower (necessarily), I think I may believe in laissez faire more than some ultra-conservatives.

Capitalism carries with it great opportunities and great risks. Let’s keep it that way.

Wall Street seems to want to have its cake and eat it too (yes, I always have thought that a rather strange saying too; of course if you have a cake you would want to eat it, but you know what I mean). It wants to keep its profits private, but to socialize its risks (government bailouts).

There is some sign in all of this that the Obama administration, however misguided it has been, is cracking down. Go for it.

The Republicans do not know what to think or do (and this may divide them — oh too bad). Do they support their normal constituency, Wall Street, or do they satisfy the Tea Party crowd and crack down on the bailout pigs?

So far, some of them are trying to do the bidding of Wall Street by making everyone think that the financial reform bill actually helps Wall Street (does it?).

While I am not sure that Obama’s financial reform package does enough or is the right approach, I think we can safely assume that if Wall Street is against it, it must have something good in it.