Catching Up

by digby

What with all the health care talk these last few days, I hadn't heard about this:

The New Goldman Sachs World Headquarters -- a 43-story office tower next to the World Trade Center site -- is being built with the help of millions of dollars from taxpayers, Bloomberg news service reports.

The company that has been the focus of populist anger since the TARP bailout last year took advantage of programs the government set up to revitalize lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. Setting up shop next to the WTC qualified Goldman Sachs for $49 in "job-grant funds, tax exemptions and energy discounts," Bloomberg's Christine Harper reported.

Additionally, because then-Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson raised concerns about security at the site, the city and state threw gave the construction project an additional $66 million in benefits. And the investment bank was also allowed to sell tax-free some $1.6 billion of Liberty Bonds -- bonds created to fund the effort to rebuild lower Manhattan. That allowed Goldman Sachs to avoid taking out a commercial loan for that amount of money, saving it an additional $175 million over 30 years, according to the Bloomberg report.

The New York Daily News reported earlier this month that the city of New York forgave Goldman Sachs about $161 million in lease payments the company would have had to make on the land where the new 43-story office tower sits. Under the agreement between the city and the company, Goldman doesn't have to pay the lease if Ground Zero remains empty.


Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chief, warned today on the risks US social programmes - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - pose to the US’s ability to finance its deficits in testimony prepared for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

Or this:

The US Department of Labor reported that weekly jobless claims for the week ending Dec. 12, 2009, rose unexpectedly by 7,000 claims to 480,000 from the prior week's revised 473,000.

Job pundits were expecting to see initial unemployment claims fall to 465,000. Instead, the jobs market showed a knee-jerk movement higher-than-expected, which indicates that the US labor market is far from recovering...

Since this summer, unemployment claims have been drifting lower. Yet for the week ending Dec 5, the number of workers continuing to collect unemployment benefits rose 5000 to 5.19 million. But there are millions more who have used up their unemployment benefits.

So unemployment remains high and the deficit is growing. But Alan Greenspan says we need to cut social insurance programs. And Goldman is getting tax breaks (undoubtedly based on the promise that they will create jobs.)

I think I need to get out my copy of "The Shock Doctrine" again.