Sunday, November 25, 2012

Just like Frank Serpico dared to be the David that took on the Goliath , the monster of corruption that was the New York City Police department at that time, here we have another David taking on the Goliath that is Goldman Sachs the financial giant that has strong ties to our political government. Yes, this guy wrote a book too but is considered an idiot for even trying to scratch the surface of the giant of corruption Goldman Sachs has become and no one even cares.
We admire guys like these because at one or more points in our lives we dreamed of telling our bosses off and quitting our jobs. Most of us don’t have the courage to do that or we just put our anger aside and remain miserable for the sake of still having that steady paycheck coming in. Seven months ago a Vice-President at the bank Goldman Sachs resigned by writing an article in the New York Times.
The article drew a lot of attention because hardly anything is ever revealed about the inner workings of that bank. The banks stellar reputation took a major hit after the 2008 financial crisis but it is still considered the smartest, most profitable, and politically connected firm on Wall Street and the toughest place to even get a job. The David there is Greg Smith who is talking for the first time as he is publishing his book.
His frustration with the apathy and outward stealing that even the Board of Directors were tolerating at the bank caused him to resign. Most people feel as he did that the only way to force change is to speak publicly. Greg Smith is 33 years old and was making half a million dollars a year as a Vice-President in the division of Goldman Sachs that trades securities for hedge funds, pension funds and other big investors.
So, you go to work every day and your company takes out money each week to go towards your pension. A service that is to take money from you and put into a fund so that they will continue to give you money even after you retire from your job. When you are old, Social Security will never be enough money to live on. These guys made money from your investment and took most of the profits for their greedy selves.
He wrote in the New York Times article ”Integrity? It is eroding.” It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off.” No one at the firm knew that Greg Smith was going to be leaving and he was shocked that the big shots at the firm weren’t concerned about the integrity eroding; they all had political ties in Washington making them feel safe from prosecution.
Greg loved his job and worked there for 12 years but could not stand by and see this theft going on and not respond in some way. Greg was born and raised in South Africa and was an Economics Major when Goldman recruited him as a summer intern in 2000 and hired him in the fall. He rose through the ranks at a time when the firm’s revenues from trading multiplied 5 fold in five years. Yes, immense profits.
It was the result from a boom in financial products and a loosening of financial regulations that allowed Goldman Sachs and other banks to vastly increase profits by doing transactions for their clients while trading with their own money as well. So, what Wall Street will do is approach an endowment or a teacher’s retirement pension fund and say to them that we have a great product that is going to make your fund increase. What they don’t know is that the bank will take their money and put it in complicated groups so they don’t even know where the money is anymore.
The FCC Commission finally caught Goldman in one of these plots in March of 2007 as they played with people’s monies in a $2Billion Synthetic Portfolio. Sacks paid a record $550 Million fine to settle the charges placed against them. If $550 Million is just a fine the slap on the wrist then how many Billions of Americans monies were they playing with in other funds as well?
Goldman Sachs can be compared to the Mafia. If you work for them you don’t dare talk about them. In 2011 the company said they were going to change their high profit taking tendencies but Greg Smith hasn’t seen much change. So, here he is out of a job, speaking up for the people who have been ripped off and no one even knows he exists. So, much for trying to be the hero. No, in these times it seems to just go along with the flow is the way to go even if you are swimming in polluted tainted awful waters.

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