Wall Street cannot see that a regime change has come to the markets, one in which corporations will be increasingly on the defensive, hounded by governments everywhere looking to raise tax revenue, and assaulted by a permanent buyers strike from consumers adjusting to their own drop in living standards. Image
The financial press likes to talk up those occasions when the Dow presses on above 10,000. Such talk lately has become desultory, since it seems every other week the Dow lurches below 10,000 and then manages to climb its way back up. The market has been in this funk since February of this year, when the Dow began its most recent push from below 10,000, all the way to a peak around 11,200, only to fall three times below the 10,000 level since and recover with less and less conviction.
Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy – they’re re-creating the conditions for another crash
MATT TAIBBI Posted Feb 17, 2010 5:57 AM
On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.
The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.
Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. “In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines,” he said, “I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative.”