Wall Street's Infinite Sleaze: Goldman and AIG

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Dean Baker
TPMCafé (Talking Points Memo), September 27, 2008

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According to the NYT, Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO, was in the room with Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman) when the decision to save AIG was made. Why does this matter? According to the NYT, AIG owed Goldman $20 billion. If AIG had been allowed to go bankrupt, Goldman would be in line with all the other creditors, hoping for a few dimes back on each dollar of debt. Because Henry Paulson decided to rescue AIG, Goldman gets paid in full.

Did Goldman's influence with their ex-CEO make a difference in Paulson's decision? I have no idea, but this thing stinks. Can you imagine if clerical workers losing their homes got to sit around with bankruptcy judges deciding the fate of their mortgages? It doesn't work that way where the rest of us live.

It is impossible to exaggerate the corruption of this Wall Street crowd.


Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (www.conservativenannystate.org). He also has a blog, "Beat the Press," where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.