If you’re not a Wall Streeter, you don’t like Goldman because of their dominance in both the government and the financial markets. If you are a Wall Streeter, you don’t like Goldmanites because in person they can be kinda stuck up.
Imagine the letdown when I realized that the facts in Taibbi’s article were buried under layers of snark and anger. It wasn’t so much an exposé, but rather an opportunity for Matt Taibbi to vent like a scorned lover. Which leads me to question if Goldman personally screwed Matt and didn’t call the next day.
Goldman is like Mean Girls–or Mean Guys to be more specific. They were the smart cliquish guys on the chess team who also played second string football (while the smart and geeky went to Deutsche Bank, the ones named Chad who wore flipped up collars went to Solomon Smith Barney and Lehman, the rugby and first string footballers went to Bear Stearns, and the second generation Italian guys went to Morgan Stanley).
Love it or hate it, all of these guys are doing their job: making money. Go to any of these offices and you can literally feel them stalking for money in the thick, chilled air. But you can’t say that if you were wealthy, you wouldn’t want someone like that working for you?
And as sickening as it is to admit, they (like many bankers on Wall Street recruited within the past 20 years) are smart. Wouldn’t you want smart people running our government (if it weren’t for the ruthless and unethical parts of their personalities)?
So get angry at these bloodsuckers for their role in past economic bubble bursts. But hold the “parents” in the situation–in particular, the SEC and Treasury–accountable. Aren’t they the ones whose job it is to police the situation? For example, the government now has a mandate to re-regulate Wall Street. Will providing oversight rather than an overhaul really help?
And to Matt Taibbi–rather than pile on the venom directed at Wall Street, how about either 1) not speaking in angry generalities and provide objective specifics a la Washington Post’s Watergate coverage, or 2) calling it commentary and not reporting. Because there are some honest people deep in the brightest corners of Wall Street trying to do good but are being hit by the shrapnel this year.
I still say that the true fix is to break up the cliques and place more women at the top of these organizations. Also make these banks private, and do business in their own niches. More on that in a future post. Snark-free.