July 28, 2009

The Untouchables

Michael Lewis has written a parody article from a putative Goldmanite. Here’s a sample:

Every time we hear the phrase ?the United States of Goldman Sachs? we shake our heads in wonder. Every ninth-grader knows that the U.S. government consists of three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent, and the third we have no interest in at all. (Note there isn?t a single former Goldman employee on the Supreme Court.)

More seriously, here’s a New York Magazine piece on Goldman. Finally, some readers with time on their hands and space in their iPod might want to listen this radio program which has Matt Taibbi and Charles Ellis on. Ellis is the author of The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs, while Taibbi penned the now famous anti-Goldman screed in Rolling Stone, The Great American Bubble Machine. What is interesting is that if you listen to the program the host is obviously shocked at Ellis’ naked and unvarnished condescension toward those outside of Goldman’s magic circle. Ellis goes so far as to assert that the bailouts were to the benefit of Main Street, not Wall Street. After all, Goldman was apparently hedged against every calamitous contingency (or so Ellis assures us). There are also several instances where Charles Ellis simply remains silent in the face of a question because he feels it is so ludicrous that it is beneath him to respond. Ellis’ tone throughout suggested that he was one who felt that speaking on this topic to those outside of the magic circle was a waste of time, because they obviously just wouldn’t “get it.” Through his equanimity and utter assurance that all will be well in the world of Goldman, come hell or high water, Charles Ellis seems to be making Simon Johnson’s argument for him.

Because of Taibbi’s article Goldman is trying to go on the public relations offensive (see this interview with Planet Money). But whenever they talk I just keep thinking of this old song from Shaggy.

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