Taibbi v Goldman Redux

“Goldman Sachs…is like a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine

Matt Taibbi is the reporter who has just exploded into the public consciousness with his brutal Goldman Sachs Controls the Universe piece in, of all places, Rolling Stone Magazine.  No other article over the past year that I can think of has generated such a zeitgeist amongst my fellow financial bloggers, not to mention the journalism community at large.

The above “vampire squid” quotation from Taibbi’s story “The Great American Bubble Machine” was like a lit fuse, while his breakdown of how pervasive Goldman’s presence is around the centers of power in this world was the dynamite itself:

As George Bush’s last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton’s former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup — which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There’s John Thain, the a**hole chief of Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was imploding; a former Goldman banker, Thain enjoyed a multibillion-dollar handout from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue Thain’s sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing. There’s Joshua Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13 billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board.

His conclusion is that Goldman sets itself up to benefit from self-created booms and then profiteer from the inevitable busts. 

In Goldman’s defense, a lot of this stuff is just conspiratorial connect-the-dots.  In Taibbi’s defense, Goldman’s public response has been incredibly subdued and feeble, what Taibbi calls a “non-denial denial”.

Anyway, here’s the original article:

The Great American Bubble Machine (Rolling Stone)

And here’s a recent exclusive interview of Taibbi on Wall Street Cheat Sheet wherein he discusses the Goldman reaction as well as his writing career.

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