Can Wall Street buy redemption?

Goldman Sachs, churns out enormous profits from its high-rolling, casino investment schemes, while also churning out fat paychecks for its top executives. They literally sack-up the gold, even as their speculative gambles have wreaked havoc on our real economy.

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Can Wall Street buy redemption?
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Goldman Sachs, churns out enormous profits from its high-rolling, casino investment schemes, while also churning out fat paychecks for its top executives. They literally sack-up the gold, even as their speculative gambles have wreaked havoc on our real economy.

But, finally recognizing that their public approval rating has sunk lower than mad-cow disease, Goldman’s banking barons now want you to know that they feel your pain and are eager to “give back” to the people. So – Ta-Da! – they’ve goosed up the Goldman Sachs Foundation in order to flash their “charitable side.” The bank’s chief of staff noted that “people said we weren’t doing enough” to address the gross inequities created by Wall Streeters like him, so they’ve turned their foundation into the fourth largest corporate charity in America. It doled out $241 million last year, including grants to women in developing nations and small business projects here.

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That sum would be impressive, except for two little hickies on it. First, the foundation spends an unseemly amount on slick videos and PR efforts to extoll Goldman’s new “generosity,” diverting the charity from altruism to corporate promotion. One Goldman banker, who’s appalled at the self-promotion, said of the charity: “It’s run as if it’s a Broadway show.”

Second, $241 million sounds like a lot – until you see that the financial empire’s income last year topped $34 billion. Do the math, and it turns out these “bankers with a heart of gold” actually allocated an underwhelming 7/10th of a percent of Goldman’s income to its widely ballyhooed beneficence.

How pathetic. Even poor people put these multimillionaires to shame, regularly donating 3.2% of their meager incomes to charity. Trying to buy redemption on the cheap is just another Wall Street scam.

“Goldman, Buying Redemption,” www.nytimes,com, October 27, 2013.

“Why The Rich Don’t Give To Charity,” www.theatlantic.com, March 20, 2013.

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