Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Some thought was given to commenting on Goldman Sachs' superb performance during the second quarter, announced a few hours ago in what some are now heralding as a return to the good 'ol days of big Wall Street profits and a resumption of the trend whereby the nation's brightest college grads seek fame and fortune by shuffling money from one dark pool to another, but Jim Kunstler put it much better in this commentary from yesterday.
The cat coming out of the bag this week -- a frazzled, flaming, rabid, death-dealing cat -- is the news that Goldman Sachs will announce impressive second-quarter profits, and set aside $18 billion or so for employee bonuses averaging $600,000 per head (though, of course, not evenly distributed among them). There probably are not fifty-three people in the USA who can explain how this development figures in with last fall's bailout gift from the US treasury, or the $13 billion GS received on the backside of US gift payments to the failed AIG insurance company, plus the reams of necrotic securitized debt paper rotting in the back of the GS vaults. This is a company playing with the fire of world history.There's more on electric cars and other other energy issues - the image of the Goldman Sachs cat coming out of the bag in that first paragraph is a tough one to shake...
It brings back the question, which has loomed dimly at the margins of America's collective consciousness, as to whether we can get through the long emergency ahead without going through a wringer of domestic political convulsion. At this rate, sooner or later, anything identified with wealth could become a target for the wrath of the unemployed and foreclosed. The first rock that flies through an East Hampton window, or the first firebomb tossed into the lobby of Goldman Sachs Manhattan headquarters could ignite a chain of events that shoves all economic policy out of the political arena and quickly divides everyone at the center of power into armies out for blood.
What the nation -- including President Obama -- can't seem to get through its head is that the USA has entered a period of epochal economic contraction.