26Nov The Goldman Gang
It’s the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of; a greedy heartless mega-conglomerate that controls our lives in some significant way, either our pharmaceutical industry, our military-industrial complex, or maybe even our government. It is always a shadowy and nefarious entity, one that that can only be exposed through seemingly chance meetings in seedy neighborhood bars, where unidentified people talk in hushed whispers.
And so it is with this story. I’m not even sure why I’m writing about this. I don’t have answers yet, only questions and the vague ramblings of paranoid industry insiders, who invariably introduce themselves and then admonish me to forget their names, to throw away their business cards.
I’ve been in New York City now for the past four weeks, a world so far removed from Oklahoma that as I lie awake writing these words late at night, I’m not even certain that what I’m about to say is relevant in Middle America. With the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, the stock market and futures market seems about as meaningful to Oklahomans as igloos and Eskimos.
But yet here we are, facing what will eventually be remembered as the worst economic meltdown in the history of our country. And the rubble on Wall Street is directly affecting even the most unaware worker in the smallest town in the Midwest.
As I’ve spoken to those on the street (and by “street” I mean Wall Street), I’ve come to realize that there is one clear villain in this economic global crisis, a villain that even those in the industry are hesitant to talk about. Goldman Sachs. It was a name that came up time and again in conversations, but unfortunately, those conversations were always “off the record” and without attribution.
First, a trader who literally wandered by on the street spoke of “The Goldman Gang”, but was hesitant to share details, admonishing me that he still had to deal with people on Wall Street. Then, in a random late evening stop at a dingy neighborhood bar in Soho, another trader slid onto the bar stool next to mine. We talked for a few minutes, and I’m not even sure how it happened, but the subject quickly turned to Wall Street and the recent events of our economy. Somehow we began to discuss naked short selling and the manipulation of the stock market, and he quickly tied that in to his area of expertise, trading the futures markets.
And then he asked me a simple question: Did I know who had ruined the oil futures market, who had singlehandedly manipulated the market and driven up prices to almost double their value of just months earlier? Because I knew that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were the two biggest speculators in the oil futures market, I ventured their names as a guess. He narrowed it down to a single company: Goldman Sachs.
I knew they had infiltrated the federal government, from Treasury Secretary and former Goldman CEO Henry Paulsen to Goldman board of directors member Gordon M. Liddy (named by Paulsen to take over AIG after their $85 billion bailout), and from former Goldman executive Joshua Bolton (now Bush’s chief of staff) to former Goldman chairman Stephen Friedman, now chairman of the New York Fed. Paulsen also brought in former low level Goldman banker Neel Kashkari to oversee the distribution of the $700 billion bailout. Other Paulsen treasury insiders include former Goldman Sachs executives Dan Jester, Steve Shafran, Kendrick R. Wilson III, Edward C. Forst, and Robert Steele.
And if that isn’t enough, former Clinton Treasury secretary Roboert Rubin was an ex-chairman at Goldman as well, and he in turn promoted former Goldman executive TImothy Geithner to the Treasury as well, and Geithner eventually became head of the New York Fed.
Is the Goldman Gang looking out only for the interests of Wall Street? Probably, even if only because they have a myopic viewpoint of what needs to happen to fix what they themselves broke. They undoubtedly believe that what’s best for Wall Street is best for America, so even if their motivation is sincere, their actions are slanted strongly in favor of Wall Street.
But there is without a doubt more to it that just a government top heavy with ex-Goldman cronies. It is a fact that they are (along with Morgan Stanley) the largest oil futures trader in the world, and it is absolutely true that they are the largest hedge fund operator in the world. Their influence in the market and on our economic policies is undeniable, and even their competitors are hesitant to rock the boat when it comes to exposing the amount of manipulation that originates with Goldman Sachs.
As the next few weeks pass by, I hope that responsible journalists will continue to ask questions about Goldman’s activities, and shed some light on pain that is being felt all the way from Wall Street to Main Street. We can never have reform in our markets without accountability, and pulling back the curtain on the Goldman Sachs Gang is as good a place as any to begin the process.
And that, as always, is the Faulking Truth.
(Mark Faulk’s first book is entitled The Naked Truth: Investing in the Stock Play of a Lifetime, and is now available at www.thenakedtruthbook.com. Tune in with Mark and Paul Faulk every Saturday from 1-2 PM CST on The Faulking Truth X2 Show at www.toginet.com