The Big Squid

by digby

Bethany McLean is the business writers who had the temerity to question why Enron was speaking gibberish on analyst calls back before their ignominious fall from grace. She was dismissed by all the MOUs of course. How silly of her to wonder why nothing these people made any sense. They were making muneeeee! Today McLean has a fascinating article in the new Vanity Fair about the Bloodsucking Vampire Squid itself, Goldman Sachs.

My favorite thing is that despite everything, they seem to have convinced themselves that they didn't need to be bailed out by the government last fall --- that they were doing just fine. In fact, they seem to believe that they were innocent bystanders, good samaritans actually, who are getting a bad rap. And it couldn't be farther from the truth:

It’s hard to find anyone outside the firm who doesn’t see this as revisionist history. Combine that with further proof of Goldman’s worldview—namely, the huge amount of money its people will earn this year ($16.7 billion has already been set aside for compensation, which could translate into an average of $700,000 per Goldman employee)—and you get rage. Widespread rage. “Complete crap,” says a senior financier, about Goldman not needing the government’s help. “It is a bunch of bullshit,” says a former Goldman Sachs managing director.
Well. One wonders if Goldman employees are packing heat these days because they are afraid of the peasants with pitchforks or their fellow bankers:

“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.
These guys really are something aren't they? First they seem to actually believe that "populists" are coming to take over their bank and second that they could "defend" it with pistols. Good God, these people really do think they are John Galt, don't they?

Read the McLean article if you have time. It's fascinating. It would seem tht the magic of Goldman is that they are very, very smart and they are so important that they don't have to care about any of their customers, including the vastly wealthy. It ends up looking more like some sort of protection racket than a business. Very interesting stuff.