Thank you, Goldman Sachs! The illustrious banking giant has adopted a new in-house measure that would halt the paying of all bonuses in the event that the United States Government has to bail them out again. I, for one, am greatly relieved by this action since it manifests a sense of social responsibility previously lacking at Goldman. The fact that the payment of gigantic bonuses might be a factor in creating conditions necessitating a second bailout should not deter us from celebrating their sense of propriety whilst fifteen million Americans remain unemployed and millions more are underemployed or have stopped looking for work altogether.
Surely it is Lloyd Blankfein we must congratulate for this munificence. It is farsighted of him as well because when the bubble bursts again, as it certainly will, The Goldman Sachs will be obliged once again to go hat-in-hand to the Fed and to the Treasury for an infusion of cash to prevent them from going under. They will do this even as they stand fast to their position that The Goldman Sachs is a capitalist business and that government regulation only impedes its ability to function effectively as they do “God’s work” in the immortal words of The Blankfein himself. But The Blankfein undoubtedly believes that eschewing bonuses in such a situation will placate the Tea Party-dominated Congress that has sworn on their very lives that there will be no more bailouts and that no bank will ever again be described as “too big to fail.”
But The Blankfein is taking care of that possibility as well by hiring scores of lobbyists who will grease the wheels in the interests of, that’s right, The Goldman Sachs.
The new members of the House of Representatives tipped their collective hand even before being officially sworn in. They held a lavish “swearing in” bash at W, one of the most luxurious and expensive hotels in Washington and sold itickets in the $50,000 range. In short, the Tea Party is now a booze party in the great Washington tradition with a wink to the lobbyists signaling that, notwithstanding the rhetoric, it is business as usual. “As soon as coin in coffer rings, the bank regulations repeal from Congress springs.”
After all, this is a free enterprise system except that it is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor. Congress will continue to create loopholes for the financial giants and corporate America, including all those waivers that allow corporate favorites like Dole, the pineapple giant, to do business in Iran. These same Congressmen who created the loopholes insist that sanctions are insufficient and that America must seriously consider bombing Iran and engaging in their favorite pastime, “regime change.”
But don’t expect the American people to wake up. The retired employees of a town in Alabama sat despondently at a town meeting during which town officials informed them, just before Christmas, that there was no longer any money to pay their pensions. With the exception of one retired black person sitting towards the rear, all the elderly faces were white. If you were to ask them they would undoubtedly tell you that they are conservatives and are against raising taxes on the wealthy as well as against more spending in the form of another stimulus. But what would they say if you explained to them that stimulus money went to local governments to prevent the sort of thing they are experiencing, to wit, the loss of their pensions? Would they shake their heads and moan that there was nothing that could be done and that they would just have to grin and bear it? After all, a stimulus in this crowd is considered Communism or, at best, Socialism. And Socialism, as everyone from John Boehner on down knows, is un-American.
One can just imagine Boehner making a passionate speech on how brave these good people of Alabama are to forsake any help from the federal government so Obama cannot impose his Stalinist policies on America.
“These folks may have to go without food for a couple of days,“ he would bellow, “but they are keeping the faith, the great faith that has made America what it is. And now that we have abolished Medicare and Social Security, they can go to their graves with the knowledge that their sacrifice will enable America to pay for the invasion of Iran. But I am privileged to announce some good news for the great Americans of Alabama. The Goldman Sachs will be shipping baskets of foodstuffs and other necessities to all of these folks. I don’t want anyone to say that this is not a generous nation. What the government will no longer do, charity will.”
Truth CAN be stranger than fiction. A few days after I composed this post, Bank of America began running an ad on television in which a voice intones as the words appear on the screen: “THE FEAR OF HUNGER IS ALL AROUND–ONE IN SIX AMERICANS LIVES WITH HUNGER.” But not to worry. Cut to lots of red boxes presumably filled with foodstuffs rolling off an assembly line. The voice goes on to say that BOFA is working with various groups to make sure the food gets to the needy, but can you trust them?
This is the same Bank of America that cooked the books when it bought Merrill Lynch.
BOFA settled up with the SEC for a small fine of $150 million. But this was not the end.
Bank of America Corp. also recently settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve, 20 state attorneys-general and other regulators over charges of rigging bids for investments in municipal securities, agreeing to pay $137 million to authorities.
“The conduct was egregious — in return for business, the company repeatedly paid undisclosed gratuitous payments and kickbacks and affirmatively misrepresented that the bidding process was proper,” said Robert Khuzami, SEC director of enforcement.
And, oh yes, AllState is suing Bank of America, former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo and others over Countrywide’s sale of mortgage securities. AllState said it suffered “significant losses” after buying more than $700 million of Countrywide mortgage-backed securities in reliance on misrepresentations and omissions. Way to go, BOFA. They have morfed into Robin Hood, robbing the rich to give to the poor. God bless you BOFA. Now we can all chow down.