Goldman Sachs thinks you’re a “Muppet”

Former Goldman Sachs Executive Director Greg Smith recently resigned from the banking giant, and today in a New York Times op-ed blew the whistle on what he called a “toxic and destructive” environment within the bank. Smith writes, “I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”

Smith went on to write that banksters at the firm “callously” rip their clients off – and routinely refer to their customers as “muppets.” Most shocking, Smith reveals that the most common question he gets from fellow banksters is, “How much money did we make off the client?”

The dangerous part of this is that banksters like Goldman Sachs now make up more than a quarter of our economy when they used to make up less than a tenth. That means one-fourth of all the money in the United States comes from banksters on Wall Street preying on their customers with things like exploding mortgages and fees, jacking up oil and food prices by gambling on them, and making a profit crashing entire nations economies.

This is called financialization – and if it’s not reined in – it will destroy our nation and much of the developed world.

Comments

twaggoner's picture
twaggoner 10 years 46 weeks ago
#1

Arlo Guthrie was once quoted as saying "Greed and Globalization arent just Americas fault." I would add the GS philosophy to add to that "But we're trying". Until the makup of politics is changed so that the banksters cannot buy their way out of regulation, we will continue to be "muppets"

Oldcrone's picture
Oldcrone 10 years 46 weeks ago
#2

Thom, are you going to discuss this issue without asking why Obama hired them? I think that would be only fair. He HIRED Wall Street Thom, but you will give him a pass? For hiring GE head to advise him on jobs? Seriously? You'll go back to Gramm, I see. Okay, the Democrat leadership gets a complete pass.

jmanstro's picture
jmanstro 10 years 46 weeks ago
#3

I think our society grasps these concepts in a manner similar to a series of pendula (pendulums). People who are well versed in the subject matter and politically and socially active form opinions and take action fairly quickly. If an issue in our society gets out of a reasonable range to the left or right of the equillibrium or sustainable position, they see it, object to it, and propose reasonable alternatives to right the course. But in our society, it takes a large number of people becoming well versed and taking action to effect change when the inertia is behind the monied interests who have co-opted our political system. The lower information voters are increasing as a percentage of the population, and they have much much larger periods to their pendulums. Things have to get very bad before they see that they have been led down the wrong path. Think the middle ages, the guilded age, the robber barrons, and think of the era before Teddy Roosevelt came along as the great trust buster!

If corporations are people, they are trying very hard to be kings. We can expect to become serfs, oafs and fifes if we don't wake up pretty soon.

klentz's picture
klentz 10 years 46 weeks ago
#4

Watch movies like "Boiler Room" or "American Psycho" to see what kind of people we are dealing with. Most of the high producers are compulsive liars, street level con men, carnival barkers, low IQ hustlers who got into the "money" business at the bottom and worked their way to million dollar bonuses because they are good at what it takes to make money.

The idea that Wall Street is all super-intelligent ivy league educated types is a myth.

What else did you expect?

the other 98 10 years 46 weeks ago
#5

And look at the people on the floor of the old Board of Trade in Chicago. The men all in gold Mardi Gras beads and braclets, just like at the Carnival.

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 10 years 46 weeks ago
#6

Financialization is the result of disfunctional government. Functional government is needed to regulate our economy so that it remains a system that works for all. There is no "free market" capitalism. When the wealthy hold there hands out to be bailed out, it is no longer free. We paid for it. We paid for it with our jobs, our pensions, our homes and future security. To feel uncomfortable around the homeless is living in denial. You could be next.

What we need is a new economic system. We need a socially responsible form of capitalism. The market does work most efficiently but we cannot cut down all the trees and print up money and store it in a cement vault and think that we won. This is most illogical. We must develop the green economy with green energy systems. Conservation technology is the cornerstone for this economy. We can develop a sustainable economy this way.

We can stop financialization by setting limits on leverage amounts required for speculation. We did this for gold. We can do this for oil and food. If, we the people, (govt) can provide subsidies to these industries then we can regulate the financial transactions. We can also regulate who can profit on speculation by allowing only municipals and certain pension funds to speculate on food for example.

It will be important to break up the big agriculture corporations. We must give equal employment rights to farmworkers. Smaller farm operations are economically more efficient and are better at water conservation which is being fought for in CA right now. It is reported that if CA ag operations were converted to drip and other conservation practicies they could fill up the Hetch Hetchy resovoir (Yosemite) over 50 times! If we are to stop global financialization we must make certain that we the people retain control of the water.

Monsato is producing pulp blobs that we use to know as trees. They genetically engineer the plant with added lignan so the mutant tree pumps out pulp for paper. Imagine a forest of mutant frankenstein trees of goulish pulp blobs? They genetically alter food and if their seed drifts downwind they have been confiscating farms and running small farmers out of business. They plan to patent certain cannabinoids from cannabis. If anyone grows cannabis with these cannibanoids then instead of rogue federal agents robbing us of our prescription medical marijuana, we will be at the mercy of corporate raiders? We must not allow multi-national corporations to patent food or cannabis. Nature is not for them to control.

Goldman Sachs is a major player for the ruling upper class power elite. GS is a big tool to leverage and strengthen their control of the global economy with financialization. GS were instrumental to Greece entering the Eurozone. They leveraged their outstanding debt with bonds or the Euro nations would have rejected their entry. The question is will Greece be held to prior aggreements with GS or default by 40% like they did the Germans? If GS is taking a haircut like the rest then I see the beginning of a lot of executives at GS bailing out. Just like rats from a ship.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 10 years 46 weeks ago
#7

We Muppets should also beware of "new products" being pushed by the "investors" of our 401Ks, which are the "rip-off" mechanisms they use to enrich themselves. Ordinary people are consistently sold junk products which whittle away any gains made by a healthy 401K. Ever wonder why your 401K seems to just putter along, even during strong markets? The wealthy enjoy a "different class" of investments (hedge funds/drivatives, etc: bets made against the junk products sold to the rest of us) while the rest of us get something else entirely: discount brokers (the junk).They bet against the success of the crap they sold us.

I thank God every day that we did not hand over Social Security to Wall Street--can you imagine the devastation? Who would stop them or make them pay?

Our 401K investor is constantly sending out literature for "new" products; thus far we have ignored its advice and have held steady on our own course. Be smart Muppets: Don't fall for the "new" products/rip-offs. Read about the markets in the news and on the internet, espesically investigative reporting--all the info is there for you to make informed and self-preserving decisions.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#8

I still think, it was directly after WWII when the American people decided to go the path of materialism, stupidity, superficiality and ignorance. The 1930s sophistication suddenly was out : being critical and emancipated seemed ridiculous in the late 40s and throughout the 50s.

Actresses like Marilyn Monroe represented that new silliness. Just compare them to 30s actresses like Jean Arthur or Carole Lombard -- the spirit totally changed. The philosophy of the 40s and 50s is pretty much "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" (you can buy any girl?!?) and the uncritical film "High Society". The civil rights we got in the 60s are important, but all the 60s and 70s revolt did not end that Hollywood silliness. The decadent and materialistic "High Society" mentality survived -- it even intermingled with 70s fashion.

You can easily fraud people who all the time consumed this silly, materialistic 'philosophy'. People who go conform with the 'philosophy' of "High Society" (uncritically admiring the rich and beautiful) are the ideal Wall Street victims.

Sadly, those banksters are right : the average American is a muppet. If we look to the south, we have a bunch of major muppets.

Frankly, I would be very happy, if I could spark an extended 1930s revival. Not just dancing jitterbug....

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#9

You're really a whimpering toddler. It's ridiculous. Do you think Thom reads your queer stuff?

Thom is a freelancer who can make his program as he likes it. You can whimper and stamp your little feet as much as you can take. You're just killing your time, as the other nutjobs before you. LOL

I like Thom's program (please don't change it Thom!). How about looking for another station that makes ya really happy?

Janet Cruz 10 years 46 weeks ago
#10

The big monied corporations and banks have a stranglehold on the political system for their own benefit. Few people are elected who are not beholden to them. If we would elect only people who promised to fight against legalized bribery (lobbying) by making it illegal, and to work for a constitutional amendment to prevent big money in campaigns, that would work, but don't hold your breath until you will find such a candidate. So let's hit the corporations where it hurts, in their profits. Let's shop and do business whenever possible with small independent businesses, cooperatives, credit unions, and fair trade organizations. Let's stop looking for the greatest bargain or deal, and instead look for the greatest value.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 46 weeks ago
#11

Michael Hudson, the economist, was interviewed by RT yesterday:

RT: Today's news was viewed as positive by a lot of people. But last month was the worst monthly deficit in history, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The deficit is already more than half a trillion dollars. Do you think this should concern the American people?

MH: What should really concern them is where the money is going....all this money is going to bail out the banks...it's not going to the people..it's not helping the economy...it's going directly into President Obama's campaign contributors. A month ago, Mr. Obama gave them 45 billion dollars....and promised not to send them to jail. So, not only are they being bailed out...the Justice Department is refusing to prosecute the crimes and said 'we can't prosecute you because if you go under then you couldn't spur the recovery...so, we're not going to prosecute you, we're going to give you $45Billion..so would you please start lending it out again?' And the banks are not doing it! They are handing out bonuses. They are increasing their own salaries. They are sending money abroad. But the drain on the economy...it's to Wall Street and the real estate sector...it's not going into the economy. In fact, the position of the Obama administration is that you have to reduce wages by 30 percent. As soon as he is re-elected, you can be sure, that he is going to push the unemployment rate way up because he's basically the same kind of neoliberal that they had in Greece and in Europe. So, I think you might look at Greece as a dress rehearsal for what will happen here.

http://michael-hudson.com/2012/03/jobs-commentary/
--------------------
So, what is continuing to happen is the banks are continuing to be bailed out, not lending the money, giving themselves big bonuses and salary increases....just like before during the initial $700billion bailout. I think it is called "Moral Hazard". They know they will continue to be given lots of money by the tax payers and can go unchecked and unpunished for not following through with loaning the money out like they are supposed to. Obama administration won't punish them and will continue to give them our tax money and continue with a policy of reducing wages while creating more very low paying jobs and crowing that they have reduced unemployment. I wonder if any of those Bubba Muppets realize all these things when he or she goes to the polls to pull the lever for Obama?

We're still wasting money, big time, letting our war mongers have their fun murdering babies in Afghanistan while Wall Street, Banksters, and the MIC rip us off...in step with the tune Yankee Doodle Dandy. You can argue that Bush started these wars and the initial bailouts but you can't argue that what Obama has done has helped to reverse the murder and corruption that is still happening.

The Ponzi schemers are still given a free hand in ripping off the tax payers....all under Obama's watch! Our war criminal empire's leaders and top brass create the situations that cause such massacres as what recently happened in Afghanistan and then they use the soldier who finally flips out as a scape goat...and the leaders use idiotic propaganda to disassociate themselves from culpability. Do you think that these politicians will wake up and pull us out of an illegal and immoral war killing babies or do you think they will continue using crocodile tears and evasive rhetoric and shifting blame to lowly and abused soldiers?

I noticed that that oft shown video of the old Afghani man and woman sitting in the back of that vehicle with a covered body on CNN and other main stream media....but I saw the same video with the blanket removed showing a little child, dead, and legs were charred. They don't show these kinds of videos in the US when the US is culpable but they sure do when Syria or other US enemy has been responsible for the atrocity. Our news media tries to make it look like they are being on the side of good taste in not showing the really bloody things unless it was caused by someone other than the US. But in reality, they are being propagandists.

So, should we reward Obama for his bad behavior and failure to stand behind the people who voted for him the first time? He has obviously schemed to defraud those of us who voted for him the first time obviously believing us to be his useful idiots...his muppets. And, I guess we will prove he was right if we vote for him this time around.

But, having said that, what other choice do we really have? A Republican? Unthinkable! A Green...unachievable....unless the masses are out in the streets, like in Greece, and they all have a like mind of voting for a Green...I don't think it will happen. I sure would love for it to happen. But, I think that a violent revolution will eventually happen because things just will not get better for the 99%. And FDR would never have turned things around if it had not been for the massive uprisings and strikes. Things had to get really bad before the people finally realized that they had to get a lot more aggressive.

Writing and calling your representatives only gives them fodder for ridicule and butts of jokes because they know who their real constituents are...the ones with the money to buy propaganda air-time....and because the muppets are too meek to seek a real solution in the streets and keep voting for the same old lying politicians we will never be able to reverse our situation. And I can tell you this muppet will probably just continue the fallacy of voting for Obama because I hate Republicans...and, without a true movement...we are nothing anyway. But then, there are a lot of dishonest wolves waiting to eat you for lunch in pretending to be a valid movement. There are a number of pretend liberal or progressive sounding groups that are trying to trick you into believing they are on your side. But they are opportunist scalawags who are likely more Republican than you would even guess.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 46 weeks ago
#12

Casino Economy: We lost!

Interview of Michael Hudson, the economist, on a recent Renegade Economist podcast (recorded March 7th):

My transcript of part of the interview:

RE: What is the big play going on between US banks and the Euros in the world of shorting, and can you explain what shorting means?

MH: Shorting is when you promise to deliver a stock, or security, (sum?) for a bond for a given price. Say, I will sell you Greek bonds for 50 cents on the dollar. And that means that if the price of Greek bonds plunges, and they default, you can buy them for 25 cents on the dollar and sell them at 50 cents on the dollar and make a market. The way this plays out between America and Greece, apparently a few months ago, US treasury secretary Tim Geithner, went over to Europe.....(ah, Europe had told Greece.."you're going to have to write down the debt..you obviously can't pay the debts..write them down to about 25 cents on the dollar.") Well, Mr. Geithner went over and said "wait a minute, folks, US banks believed that you are going to bail out Greece and lend them the money...ok...so they've all made counter-parties to bets...they bet that Greece was going to have to pay 100 cents on the dollar...and if your banks in Greece and France and Germany have all taken out insurance...they've bet that the price would go down and they've taken out insurance on the Greek bonds so if Greece defaults, we Americans are going to have to pay, maybe, $50billion on losing bets. We would like you to please do what Europeans are supposed to do...will you commit financial suicide...will your leaders support the US banks against your own banks so that we won't lose money? Otherwise, we'll make sure you don't win elections because we'll pour our American money into your opponents...and we'll put in a puppet government that will do whatever we want. So it's your money, or your life...you'd better do what America tells you to do and bail out Greece. Well, I was told by German bankers that they told him: 'Get the hell out of, you bastard!' And they just threw him out. And the result is that Greece is probably going to default in two days. Mr. Geithner said: 'Look, if we go under...I'm going to make sure that we really screw Europe. And we're going to do everything we can to hurt you.' Then he said...'But, I'm going to give you the money...we'll just have our Federal Reserve just print up tons of money..tens of billions of dollars...we'll give you the money to bail out Greece, at tax-payer's expense, so that our main campaign contributors, the Wall Street banks, won't lose the money. So, in other words, you have the Obama administration and the Secretary of Treasury loading down the American taxpayers with debt in order for yet another giveaway to the banks that has made really bad judgement. And they are trying to make Europe lose too. And, this threatens to...uh, today in America, the market fell 200 points by the Dow Jones Average because they realize the game is up...and this rip off is going to stop and this Obama administration has shamefully, essentially, double crossed the electorate. ...Greece has asked all the banks, that hold it's bonds, to save the American gamblers from losing by saying..'Well, you voluntarily write down the debts by 75 percent. Will you lose 3/4 of your money, voluntarily, so that the American banks won't get angry...and come over an shoot us?' That was the words used by German bankers...that 'the Americans would shoot them'. They are afraid for their lives. That's the real war going on..and it frightens them. So, the Greeks said 'Look, if you don't, voluntarily, write down the debt of the bonds to 25 cents on the dollar...we are going to announce that we are in default. That happens on Thursday. And if they are in default then all of the American casinos, that have guaranteed against default, are going to have to pay the French banks, the German banks, and the Greek banks, and all the other banks...100 cents on the dollar...because that's what these banks have paid for...that's what a derivative..and an insurance policy..or a credit default swap is all about...it's a guarantee. Like most American and British insurance companies, Wall Street doesn't want to pay. We've had quite a criminalization of the financial market here in the United States. And actually, there has been a Nobel Prize given to Akaloff, for describing the financial sector as a criminalized sector. And that was an economics prize. It's pretty much recognized in academia that Wall Street is corrupt.

http://michael-hudson.com/2012/03/geithner-turfed-out-by-eu-bankers/

update: Obviously, this was from about 8 days ago...and Greece has not yet defaulted....yet. And Wall Street is trying to make lite of it all with an upbeat...don't worry...be happy! But it ain't over by a long shot. Lookout, Portugal!

David Kahl's picture
David Kahl 10 years 46 weeks ago
#13

Goldman Sachs is an indicator of everything that is abysmal about American politics, economy, attitude, and conditioning. The economy, entitlements, foreign policy, and education -- all are tied by the tactic-led strategy that considers each of these in the same regard (and toward the same intent of outcome) as if they were financial instruments, to be twisted and manipulated, intertwined and obscured, so that the only talking point becomes, "where's the profit and how much?". The fundamentals of what holds value, its integrity, and how and from where it is derived must bear the greatest emphasis in our discourse and our actions.

Oldcrone's picture
Oldcrone 10 years 46 weeks ago
#14

To Comment 10

I came to this progressive site to converse. From my first post you told me "I attacked you for blah blah blah."

After posting twice, you say this?

You're really a whimpering

You're really a whimpering toddler. It's ridiculous. Do you think Thom reads your queer stuff?

Thom is a freelancer who can make his program as he likes it. You can whimper and stamp your little feet as much as you can take. You're just killing your time, as the other nutjobs before you. LOL

I like Thom's program (please don't change it Thom!). How about looking for another station that makes ya really happy?

This person is suggesting after two posts in which I question Obama's decisions, I'm told "if you don't like it leave". What is to like or dislike? I haven't been here long enough to figure the site out, anad you say this to me? Isn't this a message board?

Okay, I will get nowhere with this person, can some of you saner posters please tell me what I am dealing with here? I thought this was a Public Discussion Board, is it not? I didn't come here to fight with "Clarissa", so can someone tell me what is going on? Is this "Clarissa" the moderator of Thoms' site? Is Clarissa just an opportunist who attacks new posters here? For what reason? Or am I allowed to throw her abuse right back to her? I would prefer to dialog with other "progessive" thinkers, not to mud wrestle with a cranky woman.

Which is it?

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#15

What is this? Is this a campaign year by any chance? Aren't we in a tough fight againt America's decline by any chance? Do you get it's a matter of survival -- life and death? Throw back as much as you want......

Well, I don't consider this kindergarten.

_______________________

P.S.: I think your phrases are silly. President Obama has to deal with Reagan's and Bush's corporate America. We have gridlocking idiots in Congress who filibuster us to death, so the President can't change much right now. Without money for campaiging we would get ourselves another GOP regime for 2013, then attacking Iran and total ruin of our economy. Afghanistan had actually asked the President NOT to leave them alone yet. We can't go in there and the next day leave, because we don't like it anymore. We have to act responsibly and consistently! Now stamp your little feet and throw your toy against the wall..... LOL

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#16

Furthermore, if you insult my President : how can you stand there and cry because I attack you as American patriot who defends her President?

It is still President Obama, President Barack Obama, or the President!

From under what rock did you creep in here, that you don't know that?

H A ! ! !

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#17
Quote Oldcrone:Thom, are you going to discuss this issue without asking why Obama hired them? I think that would be only fair. He HIRED Wall Street Thom, but you will give him a pass?
Okay Oldcrone, I shouldn't be too tough on you. I am mainly chasing right-wingers here, but it's really tough on me to try making you out. Frankly, your communication is a mess.

(1) "Obama hired Wall Street" is mighty flat information. You don't deliver any convincing information, you don't name sources, you hardly explain.

(2) Thom is not discussing here, a pro cannot discuss with amateurs on a blog. You should address other users here, or call in during Thom's show. Sorry, if I use the little-boy-analogy again; but you're kinda running after Thom like "daddy, daddy, daddy, pleeeease!" Thom is a freelancer, jetting around the world and you bet the last thing he has got is time. You should pretty much change your view.... actually on a lot of things.

(3) If you quote me, or anybody else, it should be visible which parts of your text came from you and which you're quoting. You're confusing the reader -- even I had a hard time to read that, although you had quoted me.

(4) Maybe the Democrats in your county aren't very nice people -- maybe..... Maybe the whole population of your county is a bunch of heels? I don't know. But actually it's the whole population of your county who decides who's going to be their Representatives. If you have another progressive party that really has a chance to get into Congress -- why not vote for them? We liberals love Senator Sanders very much : he is not a member of the Democratic Party, but he's cooperating with the Democrats a lot. And he is a realistic option in Vermont. If I would live there, I'd most certainly vote for him!!

(5) Again : attacking President Obama and then being like "if President Bush had done the same thing...", sounds like right-wing-nut-job. Making Bush a nice guy. Why don't you present facts instead? But you know what? Bernie Sanders isn't panicking your way, the very radical Norman Goldman recently decided NOT to bash the President any longer. And these people make sense, as Thom too -- frankly you didn't -- not yet.....

(6) A Democracy is driven by Representatives/Senators. Normally this is called "Parliament" in this world -- we call it Congress in the United States. Congress is the actual power in America -- our nation is mainly driven by CONGRESS. In November we Americans will have another chance to vote decent progressives into Congress -- be it Democrats, be it other progressives who have a realistic chance. Even in case President Obama WAS a "corporate President" INDEED, he wouldn't have enough power to celebrate corporate policy. A progressive Congress would be able to block his budget very soon.

It's actually extremely popular to hate Congress. That is what American Muppets utter : contempt for Congress. By acting like this, they hate their own guts, because Congress is the major institution in this Democracy -- it is the heart, the guts of this nation. Actually EVERY American should participate in a political party. But Muppets are not only stupid, they're also lazy. So if we don't get decent people into Congress, it's the fault of the Muppets, and not the President's fault. Blaming the President for everything is plain Muppetism.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 46 weeks ago
#18

Yikes, this one was a dublicat!

JimFun71's picture
JimFun71 10 years 45 weeks ago
#19

Fractional Reserve Banking will be the complete and total destruction of our country. I could go on and on about it but please just take a second and look it up for yourself and see what you think. Thanks and good luck too us all,

Jim

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 45 weeks ago
#20

I wonder if the real reason why they stopped reporting M3 (in 2006) in the US was because it was looking more and more like the M3 in India. Maybe we should call Fractional Banking ... Fracking like they call the process of fracturing the rocks to squeeze out gas. A few people manage to become extremely wealthy at the expense of everyone else who can ignite their drinking water and die of cancers due to carcinogens in the water. I'd sure like to light up a few Frackers...both gas and banking.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 45 weeks ago
#21
Quote My Twitter Machine:"Marilyn Monroe's 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' philosophy is for muppets indeed : morally retarded materialists"
Frankly I think these films are harmful. They poisoned this country with stupid materialism. People who take that garbage seriously, aren't fit for life and you can easily fraud them. Stop being uncritical, gullible Muppets, Americans!

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 10 years 45 weeks ago
#22
Quote My Twitter Promotion:sweet & hot : Post-30s' Hollywood Made Us "Muppets" -- How Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly & co. demoralized America
So here's my major take within my war on Hollywood Muppetism, on my blog sweet & hot:

http://strings-and-trumpets.blogspot.com/2012/03/hollywood-made-us-muppe...

_______________________________

P.S.: I had to tone that article down. Actually it had been an old idea to write this, but I really overdid it last week. The new headline is "How We Became 'Muppets'". Nonetheless, I'm still convinced, Hollywood was the main factor, which influenced America in a very unhealthy way. And this is still the basic message of my article, which actually gets across much better now. I got in quite a blogger crisis because of this, which changed my entire blog.

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