The Corner

As the Goldman Circus Continues

Very, very little of substance has emerged from this so far. The Democrats on the committee were prepared (albeit poorly) to make Goldman — the only big investment bank to make it out of the fiscal crisis more or less intact — the whipping boy for the stupidity of its competitors. The thoroughly-coached Goldman witnesses, prepped by an army of lawyers, were prepared to do what they do best: hedge. 

There have so far been no “a-ha” moments, but plenty of “wha?” moments. Senator Levin’s sh***y rant will probably make the biggest splash in the blogosphere.

Oh, but one thing to keep in mind as Democrats continue to excoriate Wall Street during the financial reform debate.

From Tim Carney:

The industry’s main Washington lobby is the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, run by Chairman Thomas Nides, a Democratic revolving-door veteran. Nides gave the maximum to Obama in both the 2008 primary and general election, plus $2,000 to Obama’s Senate campaign, and in recent elections he gave $2,000 to Joe Biden and $5,000 to now-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The American Bankers Association retains the Democrat-heavy firm Glover Park Group, which just hired Grant Leslie away from Obama’s Agriculture Department.

At Goldman Sachs, the nation’s largest investment bank, four of the five in-house lobbyists were Democratic Capitol Hill staffers — the remaining one gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton last election. One new addition to this shop last year was Michael Paese, recently the top staffer for Rep. Barney Frank’s Financial Services Committee. Paese gave Obama $500 in 2008.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Your write -”The Democrats on the committee were prepared (albeit poorly) to make Goldman — the only big investment bank to make it out of the fiscal crisis more or less intact ..” 

 

It’s not hard to make it through ‘more or less intact’ when the US government is backstopping your losses. Much of the money we taxpayers gave to AIG was in reality just funneled through them to GS. It’s peculiar to say the least to watch conservatives defend Goldman-Sachs as successful free-market capitalists, when their crony capitalism illustrates everything wrong with businss in America.

That bit about the indirect bailout through AIG is right on. But it is also true that Goldman was first to pivot hard against mortgage-backed securities, and had a better plan for weathering the financial crisis those securities precipitated.

But lest anyone think I’m defending Goldman as a free-market success story, I have no such illusions (see the bit above about the K Street/Wall Street revolving door).

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