Despite all the scandals, the vampire squid’s domination of global finance continues to grow.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade.
The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Robert S. Kaplan), the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (Neel Kashkari), the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury (Steve Mnuchin), the President of the European Central Bank (Mario Draghi) and the head of the Bank of England (Mark Carney) all have two things in common: they sit atop vast amounts of money and they are all alums of Goldman Sachs. In addition, the immediate past President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, which secretly sluiced over $29 trillion to bail out Wall Street banks during the financial crisis and has now opened its money spigot for trillions of dollars more, worked at Goldman Sachs for more than two decades, rising to the rank of partner and U.S. Chief Economist.
Goldman Sachs has been variously depicted as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone; or the amoral investment bank that bundled mortgages it knew would fail and sold them to their clients as good investments so that it could make millions betting against them (shorting); or the place where greed became so over-the-top that a vice president, Greg Smith, resigned on the OpEd page of the New York Times, writing that his colleagues callously talked “about ripping their clients off.” Smith’s bosses were implicated as well: “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ ” wrote Smith.
Today, Goldman Sachs is under a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and under a criminal indictment by Malaysia for its role in bribery and embezzlement of its sovereign wealth fund known as 1MDB.
Goldman Sachs’ notorious history has not stopped its alum from magically landing in government positions that control, create or funnel giant piles of money. Despite Donald Trump’s first run for President on a populist platform of cleaning the swamp in Washington, a full month before he even took his seat in the Oval Office, he had nominated or appointed the following individuals to his administration: Steve Mnuchin, a former 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs and a foreclosure king during the financial crisis to be his Treasury Secretary; Steve Bannon, who had previously worked in Mergers and Acquisitions at Goldman, was to become Trump’s Senior Counselor and Chief White House Strategist.
Gary Cohn, the sitting President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman, was picked by Trump to lead the National Economic Council and be his chief strategist in developing his economic policy. In the two years prior to the 2008 financial crash on Wall Street, Cohn was Co-President of Goldman. Cohn became a multi-millionaire from the business done in those years, earning $27.5 million in restricted stock and options just in the year 2006. As Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers would report in 2009, a key part of Goldman’s business in the years before the crash operated like this: “In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.”
Cohn and Bannon have since left the Trump administration. Mnuchin remains as U.S. Treasury Secretary…