Jan 222012
Authors: S. Jacob Stern

According to both Fortune and The Huffington Post, Goldman Sachs is an alluring employer for college graduates.

Fortune’s take on the company was: “Even after the negative headlines of the past few years, I am very, very proud to work for the firm. That’s the prevailing view of Goldman workers, who call their firm a meritocracy that gets a bad rap from the press.”

But when I started reading into Goldman Sachs, I noticed a disturbing trend of former employees landing politically-connected jobs with little regard for the electoral process that resulted in less-than-ideal results. As I read even further, the incestuous relationships between banks became a dizzying display of cronyism.

First and foremost, Goldman Sachs campaign contributions have an eerie habit of ending up on the side of the winner. In 2008, they donated heavily to both the president and Secretary of State while in 2004, they supported Shrub’s successful reelection bid.

This year? Goldman has heavily contributed to both the president and to Mitt Romney’s campaigns. For me, this highlighted the minimal differences between the two party’s mainstream candidates –– they will obviously be shills for the banks more than the people, but this was hardly a surprise.

Joe Biden? He’s been the puppet of a Goldman puppet, Citigroup, for years. My research for this column became a parody of “Alice and Wonderland” as the rabbit hole just kept getting deeper. The incest taking place between D.C. and the major banks is nauseating. If ever the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street could find common ground, this is it.

And those who voted for the platform of Hope and Change and more government transparency in 2008? I hope you folks kept your receipt. There’s a long list of Goldman Sachs puppets, either former employees or contribution recipients, working for or appointed by the current administration and its predecessor or both.

Obviously Goldman Sachs has a direct pipeline into government service; many times, this is used for future political ambitions of employees and sometimes it serves as corporate welfare. Other times, there are more nefarious plots afoot.

For instance, former Goldman CEO John Corzine is a name you should recognize. He was elected governor of New Jersey after serving five years of a senate term. He did such an outstanding job spending money as governor, MF Global hired him as CEO.

In October of last year, MF Global declared bankruptcy and it was discovered they had “lost” $1.2 billion in client funds. Not as in, poorly invested and experienced a decrease in value; but rather, we don’t know where it went.

Now, if you were a private business owner who “lost” $120,000 in client money, the sun wouldn’t set before you were in handcuffs. But when you’re a politically connected former CEO of Goldman Sachs, you get called in to Congressional hearings and feign incompetence.

It gets worse: The form of bankruptcy that firms like MF Global typically go through ensure the clients are paid first, then the creditors. For some unjustifiable reason, the opposite was the case this time. Clients who stored serial-numbered, physical gold and silver with MF Global found out their private property had been confiscated to pay off firms like JP Morgan who were owed money by MF Global.

The connections between Goldman Sachs and political offices worldwide are astounding when one first learns of them. Multiple times in the past several years have democratically elected leaders of European nations found themselves excised for unelected marionettes of Goldman’s.

The western political and financial sectors are inextricably intertwined in exactly the type of incestuous relationship one expects in a third world country or Banana Republic.

You want to make sure you’re not held accountable for your actions and to have the opportunity to eventually take a lateral transfer from private to government service? The Huffington Post and Fortune are right: Goldman Sachs is for you.

S. Jacob Stern fears banks more than standing armies. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 1:35 pm

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