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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Goldman Sachs churns out enormous profits from its high-rolling, casino investment schemes, while also churning out fat paychecks for its top executives. They literally sack up the gold, even as their speculative gambles have wreaked havoc on our real economy.

But, finally recognizing that their public approval rating has sunk lower than mad cow disease, Goldman’s banking barons now want you to know that they feel your pain and are eager to “give back” to the people. So — ta-da! — they’ve transformed themselves into philanthropists, having goosed up the bank’s foundation in order to flash their “charitable side.” Goldman’s chief of staff noted that “people said we weren’t doing enough” to address the gross inequities created by Wall Streeters, so they’ve turned their foundation into the fourth-largest corporate charity in America. In an orchestrated show that the New York Times dubbed “reputation redemption,” the bank’s charitable arm doled out $241 million last year, including grants to women in developing nations and small-business projects here in the U.S.

That sum would be impressive, except for a couple of ugly hickies on it. First, the foundation spends an unseemly amount on slick videos and PR efforts to extol Goldman’s new “generosity,” diverting philanthropic funds from altruism to corporate promotion. One Goldman banker, who’s appalled at the self-congratulatory splashiness, said of the charity: “It’s run as if it’s a Broadway show.”

Second, $241 million sounds like a lot — until you see that the financial empire’s income last year topped $34 billion. Do the math, and it turns out these “bankers with a heart of gold” actually allocated less than one percent of Goldman’s income to its widely ballyhooed beneficence.

How pathetic. Even poor people put these multimillionaires to shame, regularly donating 3.2 percent of their meager incomes to charity. Trying to buy redemption on the cheap is just another banker scam, but why aren’t we surprised that they would even view charity as a self-serving hustle? After all, on Wall Street, it’s assumed that anything can be bought and sold — from fraudulent investment packages to congress critters.

  • sigrid28

    Greed on Wall Street is so sickening it makes you want to go back to a barter society.

  • Allan Richardson

    Libertarians will tell you that charitable giving is not the raison d’etre of businesses. But dealing honestly with ALL customers, not just the ones you think have the means to sue you, is part of what is required of every business. Well, expected but not REALLY required, because they are seldom punished for breaking that rule. If these banksters worked for an HONEST profit and not just a LARGE one, I for one would rather have that and no charity (although the charity would be nice too) than blatant cheating of customers and giving a fraction of a penny of that dishonest profit to charity.

    “Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.”

    • Sand_Cat

      That last epigram (if I’ve used the right word) is both brilliant and hilarious!

      • Allan Richardson

        It’s a parody of the old proverb about the fish, and you are welcome to use it (it might not be a good idea to print it on your checks). I think epigram is the right word, or maybe proverb or adage.

        Has anybody noticed that in the Monopoly game the Bank is NOT allowed to play? The Banker can pay, but he/she is NOT allowed to operate the Bank to give him/her any advantage over the other players. The Bank is an impartial public utility, not a player. Maybe that should be the case in the real world also. North Dakota has a state-operated not-for-profit bank like that. Why can’t the other 49 states?

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