Saying that such-and-such is the greediest bank on Wall Street is like someone claiming to have the biggest hairdo in Dallas – the competition is fierce.
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Goldman Sachs, however, is a front-runner. It has profited enormously from the big bank bailout by us taxpayers, yet it has hardly expressed gratitude. Indeed, Goldman has been downright huffy about the limits on pay that bailed out banks can give to their top executives. So, now, CEO Lloyd Blankfein has snapped that he wants to pay back the $10 billion he took and get the government out of his business.
That’s the old rugged, free-enterprise spirit, right? Not exactly. Mr. Go-it-alone fails to mention that he’ll still be clinging to several other backdoor bailouts he got from those meanies in Washington. For example, when insurance giant AIG was rescued from total collapse, $12 billion from its bailout was quietly slipped to Goldman Sachs. Blankfein is not returning that money.
Then there’s $28 billion he got in special low-interest loans guaranteed by the FDIC. Not only is he keeping this government subsidy, but he says he’ll probably ask for $7 billion more. He has also taken more billions-worth of low-cost loans from the Federal Reserve – we don’t know how much because the Fed and the bank say that’s “proprietary” information, not for public disclosure, even though it’s public money.
So, Lloyd is a $50 billion-plus bailout baby. Except for that first $10 billion, none of the rest comes with any limits on executive pay. Interestingly, Goldman Sachs has just announced that it is setting aside nearly $5 billion to be distributed at the end of the year as compensation for its executives, including payment for outlandish bonuses to those at the top.
"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three left turns do." --Jim Hightower