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High Noon for Goldman Sachs

A couple of days ago, Alice Schroeder wrote a piece at Bloomberg about a friend of a friend who works at Goldman Sachs. Apparently the bankers are getting a little nervous about blowback from the working class.

“I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

Schroeder was also able to get confirmation from the NYPD that a number of bankers have been getting gun permits. Wow, I’m glad to know the Goldman Sachs guys are running scared. Schroeder notes that Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd Blankenfein (whom she nicknames “Cool Hand Lloyd”), has been nervous for quite a long time. Get this–he installed a security gate at his house a couple of months before Bear Stearns went down. How very prescient of him. Schroeder writes:

…talk of Goldman and guns plays right into the way Wall-Streeters like to think of themselves. Even those who were bailed out believe they are tough, macho Clint Eastwoods of the financial frontier, protecting the fistful of dollars in one hand with the Glock in the other. The last thing they want is to be so reasonably paid that the peasants have no interest in lynching them.

Hmm…I like the movie references. So the bankers are resorting to guns so they can make A Few Dollars More before the proles can Hang ’em High?

According to Peter Cohan of Daily Finance, what is making the bankers so anxious is that they will soon be getting their outlandish end-of-the-year bonuses, while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet and have no idea how we’re going to buy any Christmas gifts. Cohan writes:

Once news of the final tally on Goldman’s bonuses breaks, the bank is going to face an even tougher public relations campaign. Goldman’s partners are expected to receive record bonuses this year. Some bankers fear a repeat of what happened in March to the AIG Financial Products employees who received $165 million in bonuses. Once word got out about the bonuses, demonstrators went to the employees’ homes and protested on their front yards.

What Goldman execs need to remember is that the firm wouldn’t be doing so well if it weren’t for the public’s munificence. After all, $12.9 billion of the AIG bailout money went to Goldman. And it is still enjoying $52 billion in low-interest loans from the U.S. government to finance its trading profits.

Cohan even argues that Goldman should be offering reparations to people who have lost their homes and jobs. Somehow I don’t think that is going to happen, but I’m glad to learn that these thugs in three-piece suits are feeling a little bit edgy.

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57 Responses

  1. That is truly the craziest stuff I’ve read in a while.

    • well, take tax payer money do nothing but run up a bubble in the stock markets on paper, then cash out with bonuses … wow, how’s that not like robbing the gold off the train? Who wouldn’t want to join the posse that puts an end to that? But guns? How much of an effete snob do you have to be to think that people will jeopardize everything just to get back at you for robbing them?

      • Well, they would probably kill you for a quarter. That’s why they think you might come for them.

  2. What can you expect from a vampire squid?

  3. Welcome to Surrealist Oligarchy. I’m guessing they slipped in some provisions exempting GS peeps from the law if they get skittish and decide to start using us for target practice?

  4. Goldie Sacks is afraid of the Big Bad Populist Uprising so they buy guns instead of giving up their bonuses. Bedtime stories gone fubar.

  5. How many think they will have Blackwater 24/7 home security soon, and all that entails.

  6. Y’know, I have never, ever considered getting a gun, but lately I’m thinking I may be the last one in the country left without one. Maybe I should look into it.

    PUMAs with guns–what a concept.

  7. Elizabeth Warren hits it home again:

    America Without a Middle Class

    • she’s great … a real voice for people

    • Elizabeth Warren writes a wonderful piece and the commentors at HuffPo almost immediately go into “moon the idiot” mode with the cheney this and socialist that junk.

      Must remember to never read comments at HuffPo again.,,

      • Yep. It’s so easy to spot the Obots that frequent Huff&Splat. They’re always so fixated by Cheney. Um, he’s like gone; how about focus on the new empty suit who doesn’t fit in his hat or chair or anything else.

      • I just read all the comments I could find on Warren’s post and I didn’t see one that wasn’t supportive of what she wrote. Where are you finding the Cheney and socialist comments?

  8. Well at least Bernie Sanders still has a spine..he put a “hold” on Bernake’s renomination….It won’t stick but at least he tried.

  9. Way OT, but Meredith Baxter came out today!

    Now if only Lindsay Wagner would too!

    • There’s another link on that page about this little girl who sent a topless photo of herself to a boy, and someone borrowed his cell phone, found the photo and sent it to all the local schools. The girl’s life was made a living hell by this bullying, and instead of trying to stop it the school suspended the girl and took away her club advisorships. They also found out she was cutting due to the stress and didn’t bother to tell her parents. She hanged herself.

      What a world!

      • You’re right–what a world. Is this what we’ve come to as people?

        • I’ve almost stopped believing that most of us are people. Anyone who wouldn’t help the young girl in that situation is not a fully formed person.

      • Flying. H. Spaghetti. Monster. *headdesk*

    • Not Lindsay Wagner too. Next you’re going to tell me Liberace was gay.

  10. Democrat or Republican Congress?

    Job creation will probably have to wait until next year but the House is determined to extend the estate tax break permanently before leaving for the holidays, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday.

    No good heartless worthless bastards. I hate every fuc… uhhh, did I say that out loud?

  11. With all the money they have made, why don’t they just employ bodyguards instead of doing security on the cheap by buying a gun.

  12. boston awsome post

  13. Soon we’ll all be free from jobs and healthcare and civil liberties and being in the middle class and any hope of ever getting those things back. And as we all know, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

    • That’s catchy, at least now I’ll go to my doom with a song stuck in my head. 🙂

  14. Executive compensation has gone from from a 45:1 ratio to over 350:1 since the eighties. Just sayin.

    • the ratio of what, to what?

    • Think it became like the star system, not necessarily correlated to actual work. Clooney, Oprah, Tiger, as long as they bring in the numbers, pay whatever they want. As long as CEOs bring in the numbers and stock is up, pay them whatever. They pretend there’s some fair law-of-nature process for divying up at year end. I’m guessing not too different from those final scenes in the spaghetti westerns. Btw, there are bankers on the other side of Metro North in our town. Wife was noticing yesterday patrol cruisers have increased threefold. Some guy got shot in the head a week ago, but it hasn’t been in the news.

  15. From the Guardian, France plans to require equal gender representation in boardrooms.


  16. Swiss “Ethical Finance Research Series
    Challenges to Executive Compensation” Conference at the Uni of Zurich, pdf

    From the intro:

    The press has recently reported on large excesses in the level of executive compensation, including
    the retirement benefits of the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welsh, and the deferred compensation
    of the former CEO of the NYSE, Richard Grasso. Similar uneasiness was felt in Switzerland
    recently, when some CEOs received large equity-based compensation soon after their companies
    announced the firing of a large number of employees.

    from a contributing academic:

    First, average CEO pay in 2003 was the
    highest in Switzerland, followed by Germany, Italy, and the U.K. Secondly, in all (Western) European
    countries, the fraction of firms with long-term incentive plans increased significantly over the last
    seven years and had reached 100% in almost all European countries by 2003. Thirdly, the share of
    stock-based pay ranges from 21% in the U.K. to 11% in Sweden. Despite the fact that executive
    compensation has been increasing in the last years, it is still way behind average compensation of
    U.S. executives.
    A major trend in executive compensation in the last decade was the increasing share of stock-based
    pay of total compensation. This is equally true for the U.S. and Europe. In fact, the escalation of
    option grants was not restricted to CEOs or even top-level executives. It has occurred across a wide
    range of industries, but is especially pronounced in the so-called “New Economy” firms related to
    computers, software, the Internet, telecommunications or networking.
    One explanation for the excessive increase in executive pay is, according to Murphy and his coauthor
    Brian Hall, the fact that in the last decade the ratio of outside hires to total CEO hires increased
    significantly. Usually, hiring executives externally requires a premium. Furthermore, Murphy
    claimed that the remuneration committee of the board is often incompetent when it comes to negotiating
    executive compensation.

    in Switzerland CEO pay went from 20-40:1 to 150-180:1.


  17. BTW the BBC just said that BofA had paid back its Tarp funds, specifically in order to hire a new outside CEO.

  18. Here all 14 pages of Goldman Sachs’ Compensation Proposal, which is summarized as “because we’re worth it.” Catchy tagline.


  19. A friend once told me that buying a gun to feel protected was like buying a paina and calling yourself a musician.

    It takes time, skill, training and persistance to be adept. Ironically, these are the same skills the ol’ boys at GS are lacking as apparent in their screwing up the world.

    Even if they wanted to, these guys will never put in the training time…they are too busy counting out their bonuses!

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