Lloyd Blankfein was on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative, performing his Mitt Romney impression to the approving nods of Bill and Hilary Clinton neoliberal sycophants. I only wish I could give the Clintons enough money to attend. It was an artful collage of the ideas of the .1%, delivered by the feral rich themselves.
Blankfein opened with a joke: Business is better than philanthropy at pulling people out of poverty. See, it’s funny because Goldman Sachs has never raised anyone out of poverty. It’s business model is based on proprietary trading, or more accurately, ripping off savers and investors, keeping 40% of the proceeds, paying a few pennies to shareholders, and using the rest to rip off more money from savers and investors. Is it fair to ask how many people were lifted out of poverty by Goldman Sachs’ high frequency trading? Or its control over the aluminum supply? The moderator, Fareed Zakaria, didn’t ask.
Then the Mitt Romney moment.
… Blankfein praised the U.S. for having “accepted a higher unemployment rate” over the past few years, even as it bailed out the banks. Labor market flexibility—reflected in the ability of U.S. companies to fire workers—is one of the reasons the U.S. is doing so well despite many headwinds in the economy, he said.
That’s Blankfein’s shoutout to his friends in the Obama administration, which was so helpful to the criminal class on Wall Street: tons of money for their insolvent businesses, no criminal prosecutions, and tax deductions for those fines and penalties and give-backs paid to whiny losers like pension plans and governments. It was also a compliment to the jackasses in the Tea Party, who helpfully kept taxes down on hyper-rich jerks like Blankfein while slashing support for the people Blankfein and his fellow smart bankers ruined in the Great Crash.
It is a filthy lie that Americans love and accept outrageous unemployment, but that’s probably what allows Blankfein to sleep at night under his duvet woven with gold and silver threads in a skull pattern, and stuffed with thousand dollar bills. The evidence shows that people want to work, and will take any job or jobs to feed their families, and don’t want handouts. They want government to do something about unemployment, so they can lift themselves out of poverty by honest labor. Where the hell is Blankfein’s precious capitalism, it’s “honest labor”? He and his bankster friends are lined up at the Fed collecting free money and stacking it up in the Cayman Islands. Untaxed.
Zakaria asked Blankfein about the bonuses to Goldman Sachs employees paid from taxpayer funded bailouts:
Blankfein said that what [former Treasury Secretary and Bailout Architect Hank] Paulson and other critics failed to appreciate was that bonuses did not go to those at the very top, but to the hundreds of managers who guided the company through a difficult period.
“We understand why the rest of the country was aggrieved, but [Goldman bankers] didn’t feel they were the instrumentality of the problem.”
Well, they wouldn’t, would they? They were doing God’s Work, stealing money from investors and savers and keeping it for themselves. The Bank-Loving Obama Administration did nothing to disabuse the thieves of the idea that they were Godly, say by locking their asses in jail for a goodly stretch, unlike the Bush administration, which at least tried to prosecute some of the Enron Perps.
It’s good to know that there was some disagreement on this panel of our betters. It came in a discussion of whether the Tea Party should destroy the government for the benefit of its Robber Baron Capitalist funders. Jim Rogers of Duke Energy explained that the problem in congress is that the left and right wings can’t work together. This version of the standard media line, Both Sides Do It, no doubt drew knowing nods from a crowd that thinks there is a left wing contingent in Congress. That’s a kind of certainty, explained Rogers, because he knows government won’t be able to indict him and his business for breaking any of those pesky anti-trust or securities laws. Actually, he said it enables him to plan for the future without relying solely on government to protect it and give it goodies.
Blankfein disagreed, saying that his business needed government to protect him from the tar and feather crowd. Actually, he said he wants government to make sure “markets” are calm and friendly to his algorithmic trading computers. So he had a few weak words about the political process of raising the debt ceiling and avoiding shutdowns, blaming both sides for lousy process.
Then they all sat down to eat and drink with their friends, the Clintons. It’s enough to gag a maggot.
Image by (Carrie Sloan) under Creative Commons license