Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Clarification

Once again, a clarification for those who may have confused these items:

Golden Sax

Goldman Sachs

This message has been a public service of the Yellow Something Something.

Krugman offers the best discussion I've seen online of the possibilities of What Allowed the Fraud and Where We Go From Here. I don't know. It seems to me that raw greed by Wall Street operators and egregious neglect of duty by the SEC (until now) are sufficient explanation, and the question in my mind is not so much how to fix what's broken, but rather whether it can be fixed.

I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that reminds me of the S&L scandal in the 1980s and 1990s. Yes, I know: the wiki tells me I should call it the "S&L crisis" but believe me, it was a scandal. We got a recession out of that one, too, and many of us sat back in horror, watching financial institutions engaging in practices our mothers would have warned us against (and making out like bandits in doing so), and... then as now... endangering our retirements. In those days, retirement was, for me, a lot further off, and there seemed to be time to recover. But with enough government financial regulators winking at enough institutional bad behavior, we find ourselves back in the same position today. If the phrase "too big to fail" seems familiar to your ears, that's because it isn't new. Wall Street is still broken, and Wall Street has screwed us ordinary mortals again.


  1. But Goldman Sachs barely manage to squeeze out 3.5 billion in profits over the last three months. Surely you aren't suggesting that they are doing anything wrong? Of course, all those profits will trickle down to all of us eventually right?

  2. fallenmonk, some people may suggest I should have depicted the firm name as "Golden Sacks," and I can't argue with them. I'm sorry, but this didn't just happen: we brought this on, following the freewheeling, anything-goes attitudes of the Reagan era. Now you can add Bush... and yes, Obama... to the list of those willing to condone literally criminal practices if it gets them financial support from Wall Street. There is no one on our side anymore... well, almost no one.

  3. Clinton thought he had goldman sacks, but in the end he gave Sax a bad name!

  4. krugman is unreliable on this, as on some other things.

    if it comes down to it, krugman's going to end up supporting the democratic party against the republican party, rather than supporting the little people against either or both parties. so whatever financial reform the dems come up with, krugman is going to sell it to us, his readers, in the end.

    they weren't using computers and gaussian copulas back in the roaring 20s, but the essence is the same: unregulated derivatives, outsize leveraging, finance being too large a part of the economy, bubbles, cooking the books, and banks, stock brokers, and insurance companies all able to own each other, making them an industry too big to fail and too big to rein in.

    hard to say how much of the present situation is just obama being the second coming of hoover and how much of it might have had foreign policy implications.

    china holds a lot of our debt, and there have been rumblings in dark corners of the intertubez that saudi arabia does too [and maybe russia too]. we get a lot of our manufactured goods from china, and a fair amount of our oil from saudi arabia [and countries likely to be sympathetic to sa], and who knows if the cold war is really over? so the possibility exists that those countries could have taken us down if we didn't bail out the world casino.

    meanwhile, because the obama administration [and by extension, the democratic party] has decided for whatever reason to keep the casino open, we can't institute a new glass-steagall act, so we're to be sold the fable that somehow the 21st century economy is different and we can't apply 80-year-old fixes to it.

    can i take this opportunity to indulge in a little blameless [sorta]self-promotion?

  5. mandt - the usual usage is singular: Clinton gave "the sack" a bad name. And tabletops, floors, desks...

    Clinton's sax playing was actually rather decent for an amateur, no worse than Truman's piano playing or (gulp) his daughter's singing (though Clinton's 'trane imitation could have stood some work) and certainly no worse than Bush's unmusical soul, at least as far as I've ever heard.

  6. hipparchia, I defer to your vastly greater knowledge of both economics and international finance; I don't know enough to be making comments on either of those things. I do know that Wall Street has effectively robbed me, personally, directly; I can look at my account balances and current values and tell that, and it certainly looks as if they've managed to drain a lot of the tax money we all paid, and misused (possibly criminally) the taxpayers' bailouts intended to save essential institutions to provide themselves with huge bonuses and wild parties. I also do know that this is terrible politics for both parties, especially the one in power, and in an actual democracy, there would be a reckoning with the voters in some near-future election... but they're safe, because our government is de facto fascist, corporatist, whatever you want to call it. Those are the things I do know. And I take them very personally.

  7. You need a picture of a sackbutt... ;)

  8. Moi;) ... a picture? On a few occasions in my earlier days I've had the real thing in my rehearsal studio (read: living room), and some exceptionally well-played cornetts and shawms, too... what would I need with a mere picture? :-D No jokes, please, about making a rackett...

  9. Moi;) ... this must have been a heckuva workshop! Dr. Kirk is one of the people who has brought cornetts and sackbuts into my studio. Ah, those were the days!



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