Rolling Stones' Matt Taibbi

I can't add any further commentary. Just read it.

Edited: For those of you who want the full article and cannot make heads or tails out of Scribd (below), the article is here and attached below (pdf).


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PDF icon TaibbiGSrollingstone.pdf2.62 MB

I've got good eyesight

or at least, good for reading small print on computer monitors, and that's IMPOSSIBLE even for me.
Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Click on the icon

in the upper right hand corner for full screen.

Or click on the link for the scribd site - where you can zoom, too.

It's a great read!

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Wow - this got a better reception on the political blogs

I thought the econ-enlightened  would love it. In any case, just to share a few thoughts around the net on the article :


 Taibbi sorts through the history of Goldman and its “engineering” of this country’s financial bubbles - from the Great Depression to the Tech Bust:

It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.

From the Housing Crash to the Oil Spike to the Great Bailout to…

Well, I won’t spoil the ending. But Taibbi says Goldman is about to do it again. 

PRI: Marketplace ScratchPad

 Rubin was the prototypical Goldman banker. He was probably born in a $4,000 suit, he had a face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than you, and he exuded a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the only human feeling you could imagine him experiencing was a nighmare about being forced to fly coach.

Taibbi makes the case that it’s not just wheat futures which have been overrun by index speculation, but commodities in general and oil in particular. Indeed, Taibbi puts Goldman, Zelig-like, at the center of no fewer than four speculative bubbles: one in the 1920s in which Goldman-controlled entities ended up losing an astonishing $475 billion in today’s dollars; the tech bubble; the housing bubble; and the oil-price bubble ending in 2008. He calls the US “a gangster state, running on gangster economics”, and is very explicit about exactly who he thinks the gangsters are. (Clue: they paid just $14 million in tax on $2 billion in 2008 profits.)


Felix Salmon: Reuters

I’m starting to run out of room here. But if you’re interested in these issues and learning more about Goldman Sach’s involvement in our Federal Government, I STRONGLY urge you to read Matt Taibbi’s recent expose on the firm in Rolling Stone magazine. Be forewarned, you will be infuriated by what Taibbi reveals. But if it gets people contacting their local representatives and Senators asking why we haven’t launched any investigations into Paulson’s allocation of public funds.
Seeking Alpha: The Fourth Branch of the US Government

 Click on the full screen icon for easier reading - or if you don't like Scribd, the issue of RS just came out.

This article is better than Taibbi's "the Big Takeover"

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probably because the econ blogs

already know a lot of this but it's good it's getting picked up on by the political blogs.

The scribd is really hard to read, you might just down load the actual pdf and upload it here as an attachment.

Then, you might pull out some relevant quotes from the article, along with other evidence and put it in an actual post.

then, the difference between a blog and an Instapopulist is actual RSS stuff. While Instapopulists do go out, because they are for sort "check this out" type of stuff and blog posts are supposed to be much more detailed, original thought, much longer, the blog posts are more heavily weighted and thus get more readers.

Then, it seems like our discussion is kind of low lately, so we need more people to start if you see a big econ person, might invite them over.

I do appreciate that cap & trade. I haven' been tracking at all but asked others to research, write it up because it did have a major stink to turn "yet another market" from environmental concerns.

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Ilargi over at Automatic Earth has been harping on Goldman Sachs and their connections from the git go. Some of the diarists at Kos, ditto. Rolling Stone has a larger readership, so maybe more people will pay attention at this point, but unless it's published in People magazine or Oprah has a segment on it, I doubt there will be enough people who care to reach critical mass.
When commodity prices started to hit the ceiling, I suspected too much money was being invested for the spike to be caused by genuine shortages. Some local papers were covering oil tankers sitting off the coast while people were screaming about high gas prices, but due to the received wisdom about Peak Oil, these were ignored.
All the information one could need is out there. It's a matter of overcoming individual prejudice enough to pay attention.

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Better link

Taibbi's Blog


We figured ahead of time that Goldman was probably not going to respond to many of the allegations in the article, since its MO in the past with regard to hostile journalists has usually either been to make bald denials or to simply avoid comment (that’s when they’re not using the carpet-bomb litigation technique, as in the case of So what I decided to do the first time I approached them was to send a short list of simple factual questions. If the bank decided to engage us and educate us as to its point of view on these simple questions, we would send more queries and expand the dialogue.

Given this, I tried to make that first list of questions as basic as possible.  I asked if Goldman would have turned a profit in Q1 2009 if it hadn’t orphaned the month of December 2008. Then I asked if Goldman had made changes to its underwriting standards during the internet boom years; if Goldman’s position was still that the steep rise in oil prices last year was due to normal changes in supply and demand; and if it could explain its 1991 request to the CFTC to have its subsidiary J. Aron classified as a physical hedger on the commodities market. Citing various sources, I also noted that some people had complained that its move to short the mortgage market in 2006 even as it was selling those same types of instruments proved that the bank knew the weakness of its mortgage products, and asked if the bank had an answer for that. And I asked if the bank supported cap-and-trade legislation, and if it was fair to say (as we planned to in the piece) that the bank would capitalize financially if such legislation was passed.

I intentionally put a lot of yes/no questions on that list. If the underlying thinking behind any of those questions was faulty, it would have been easy enough for them to say so and to educate us as to the truth. Instead, here is the response that we got:

“Your questions are couched in such a way that presupposes the conclusions and suggests the people you spoke with have an agenda or do not fully understand the issues.”

You have to have swallowed half a lifetime of carefully-worded p.r. statements to see the message written between the lines here. That this is a non-denial denial is obvious, but what’s more notable here is that they didn’t stop with just a flat “no comment,” which they easily could have done. No, they had to go a little further than that and — and this is pure Goldman, just outstanding stuff — make it clear that both I and my sources are simply not as smart as they are and don’t understand what we’re talking about. So the rough translation here is, “No comment, but if you were as smart as us, you wouldn’t be asking these questions.”



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Ha Ha, Robert

If the the article was baseless, why did a GS rep even acknowledge it - much less respond to it. In fact, the response tells me the article must have hit a nerve.

What GS is suddenly concerned about good PR? C'mon.

From Felix's blog that you quote

Van Praag told me that in the wake of the events of the past year or two, Goldman’s partners have pretty much lost their appetite for going into public service. Maybe that’s for the best. They are generally smart and talented and knowledgeable people, and I daresay that many of them have done a lot of good after leaving the firm and joining government. At the same time, however, we’re supposed to have a government of the people, not a government of multimillionaire Goldman Sachs technocrats. And when you have the latter, you’re inevitably going to end up with a lot of mistrust and conspiracy theories sooner or later, whether they’re well-founded or not

 emphasis mine

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