States Visited

Monday, December 8, 2008


Have you ever seen a 'con' so well performed that you almost had to admire it? You know, kinda like the guys in Ocean's Eleven? The kind where they always have their bases covered and are one step ahead of everyone else. Well, then have I got a story for you!!!!!

(NOTE: I wrote very little of what is contained in this blog post. For expediency, it is mostly a cut and paste job with information obtained from: wikipedia, Huffington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Senator Chuck Grassley's website.)

Current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson joined Goldman Sachs in 1974 and eventually became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer - positions he held from 1998 until he was tapped by President Bush to be Treasury Secretary.

Paulson's three immediate predecessors as CEO of Goldman Sachs — Jon Corzine, Stephen Friedman, and Robert Rubin — each left the company to serve in government: Corzine as a U.S. Senator (currently Governor of New Jersey), Friedman as chairman of the National Economic Council (later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) under President George W. Bush, and Rubin as both chairman of the NEC and later Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton.

I also found Paulson's work experience prior to joining Goldman Sachs to be very interesting. He spent some time working in the Nixon administration, serving as assistant to John Ehrlichman from 1972 to 1973, during the Watergate scandal for which Ehrlichman was convicted, and sentenced to prison.

Josh Bolten, current White House Chief of Staff. From 1994 to 1999, he was the Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs, for Goldman Sachs International in London. He recruited Hank Paulson as Treasury Secretary.

Robert Steel - worked for Goldman Sachs from 1976 until his retirement in 2004, where he was as a partner serving on the management committee. Upon his retirement he assumed the position of advisory director for the firm and then senior director in December 2004. He was appointed by Hank Paulson as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance in 2006, where he stayed until 2008 when he left to become the CEO of Wachovia.

In June of 2008, as Wachovia was beginning its financial troubles they hired - tada - Goldman Sachs to analyze its loan portfolio. "Goldman has collected over $77 million in fees from Wachovia since October 2006, plus another $25 million for advice involve the sale of the bank to Wells Fargo."

Neel Kashkari - "the head of the Office of Financial Stability, a new office established by the Treasury Department to oversee the $700 billion bailout. He has been a senior advisor to Treasury Secretary Paulson since 2006. Prior to joining the Treasury Department, Kashkari was a Vice President at - surprise - Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, where he led the Information Technology Security Investment Banking practice, advising public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions and financial transactions."

"Secretary Paulson’s team at Treasury also includes senior advisors formerly at Goldman Sachs, such as Dan Jester and Steve Shafran."

"Former Goldman Sachs board member Edward M. Liddy was selected to lead AIG when the Treasury loaned AIG the first $85 billion of $150 billion of taxpayer funds."

"According to the New York Times, Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO, was in the room with Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman) when the decision to save AIG was made. Why does this matter? According to the New York Times, AIG owed Goldman $20 billion. If AIG had been allowed to go bankrupt, Goldman would be in line with all the other creditors, hoping for a few dimes back on each dollar of debt. Because Henry Paulson decided to rescue AIG, Goldman gets paid in full."

"News that Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs (GS) is taking the rest of Wall Street to the cleaners is nothing new, but now comes word that Goldman played a direct role in the destruction of competitor Bear Stearns (BSC). According to Fortune's Roddy Boyd, several days before the collapse, Goldman decided to stop backing up Bear Stearns derivatives deals -- and it announced this decision to hedge-fund clients in an email that was then forwarded around an increasingly panicked Wall Street..."

A few weeks later J.P. Morgan acquired Bear Stearns at a "fire sale" price with the Federal Reserve assuming much of the risk.

I think all of the bailouts are a bad idea, but if you are wondering why the auto makers aren't getting bailed out when money is flying all over the place to (almost) everyone else, the answer seems pretty clear - it is not in Goldman Sachs best interest. If that seems hard to believe, maybe you should ask someone that used to work at one of Goldman's competitors - Lehman Brothers.

Lehman brothers was allowed to fail on September 15, 2008. One day before the bailout of AIG.

All of this in about 20 minutes of digging on the Internet. (Why do I have this sinking feeling that some kind of Internet restriction is on the way???)

Oh, and there is quite a bit of 'evidence' that some Goldman alumni, along with some folks at J.P. Morgan, may have worked together to 1) force Washington Mutual (WaMu) into the largest bank failure in U.S. history, whereby, Morgan stepped in to gobble up WaMu's assets for pennies on the dollar and 2) to dump billions of dollars in "toxic" assets onto Lehman Brothers as it was going bankrupt and set up Morgan to receive better than $130 billion in taxpayer funds in repayment of a "loan" to keep Lehman Brothers solvent.

What really pisses me off is that if the press ever starts talking about any of this (which I doubt) it will only be in the context of greedy, capitalist, Wall Street pigs with too little regulation. It will be used by politicians and pundits to demand more oversight, more regulation, more government involvement, and more government control. The fact that NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENT AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE will be completely ignored.

Thank goodness Obama is gonna save us! He has tapped Timothy Geithner to be the new Treasury Secretary.

He was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998–2001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Summers was his mentor, but other sources call him a Rubin protégé. In October 2003, he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Once at the New York Fed, he became Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee component. In March 2008, he arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns and later, in the same year, he is believed to have played a pivotal role in both the decision to bail out AIG as well as the government decision not to save Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. Well, at least he wasn't a V.P. at Goldman Sachs...

Wow, we are already up to a couple trillion taxpayer dollars and I haven't even gotten into the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac garbage.

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