About AJ DiCintio
A.J. DiCintio is a Featured Writer for The New Media Journal. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on
the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up.
Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and
polished by experience, to social/political affairs.
Perverse Financial Elites
Flying Under the Radar
Obama: No JFK
Massachusetts: Vote! For God's Sake, Vote!
Cowardice, Expediency, Language & Liberals
Tax & Principles
Christmas Times Four
Snake in the Grass
Narrative & Afghanistan
Prostitution & The Healthcare Bill
That Killed at Fort Hood
Who Are the Know-Nothings?
All the Tomatoes!
It's Not a
War Against FOX News
Hope) We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore
Hyperpartisanship, Propaganda & Hypocrisy
& Sherman's Legacy
Epistemology, Materialists & Morality
the Stench of the Stable
Shameful Education Affair
Reform: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
(Audaciously Arrogant) Mob
The Boiled Frog
the Last Cow Has Come Home
and The Big Hate
Jefferson: Don’t Question a Supreme Court Nominee Without Him
Language: A Canary in the Coal Mine
Language: A Canary in the Coal Mine
Colin Powell Comes Up Small
Headlines, Torture & American Values
Something Very Deep and Dark
Miss California’s Unforgivable Mistake
The President in the Garden
Liberals & The Triumph of Reason
Messiah, Lincoln or Less?
Obama, Big Bangs & Selling Make Believe
Hostile Alien Case Exposes Danger of Activist...
Age of Arrogance
Lenin Lite, Perhaps?
Where’s the Guilt?
In the Matter of Public v. Stimulus Bill
Bigger Than the Bacon Explosion
Where Bill O’Reilly’s Going Wrong
Liberals, Israel & Wolves
Israel & The Neurotic Mind
Perverse Financial Elites
February 26, 2010
The financial scandal in Greece proves once again that governmental financial
elites are as much a gang of Wizard of Oz frauds as so many of Wall Street’s
But before getting to the latest instance of this perversity and the lessons we
should draw from it, a little history is necessary, beginning with a passage
from Matt Taibbi’s widely quoted Rolling Stone piece titled "Inside the Great
American Bubble Machine.”
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere.
The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped
around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything
that smells like money.
To common sense folks, it is inarguable that Taibbi’s metaphor — which
dramatically expresses Wall Street’s reason for being — deserves lavish praise.
Yet it’s not surprising that big shots at the Treasury Department, the Federal
Reserve, and lavish salons where Democrat and Republican VIP’s come and go
talking about Campaign Dough reacted to it with a carefully calculated
Neither is it surprising that an angry Goldman HQ shot back at Taibbi as
We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in
busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for
"A force for good”? Well, pardon us ordinary folks if mention of the bank
doesn’t send our collective stream of consciousness rushing to images of the
And for good reason, too, because we have learned that Goldman’s idea of being a
"force for good” consists not of having its execs march a hundred miles in the
shoes of an altruistic volunteer but of encouraging them to slip on their $1,000
Berlutis and walk a red carpet to a very important desk at Treasury or the Fed.
Yes, in the last twelve months, John and Jane Q. Public have gotten a blue chip
education about the fact that a powerful bank doesn’t manage to suck more than
$12 billion of taxpayer’s money at 100 cents on the dollar out of an essentially
bankrupt, bailed-out AIG by sending its top brass to perform good works on
behalf of the needy.
Which brings us to the latest instance of Goldman’s being "a force for good,”
specifically, its efforts in helping Greece carry out a financial subterfuge.
Here is how Beat Balzli reported the "good work” in spiegelonline:
Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit
with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht
Now, for those who can’t bear the thought of once again trying to tangle with
the intricacies of Wall Street’s inscrutable derivatives, the following exercise
will help make the deal easy to grasp:
...Imagine Greece as an irresponsible person burdened by an incubus of debt that
never should have been granted.
...Imagine that to help the person hide the truth about his fiscal condition so
that he can borrow even more money, a bank devises a financial shenanigan that
pushes payments on the debt into the future.
...Next, imagine that when Reality bites, the debtor not only finds himself up
to his chin in financial quicksand but also demands his neighbors pony up an
Olympus-sized pile of money to mount a rescue effort for him.
...Finally, imagine that the bank, having pocketed $300 million in commissions
from the debtor, now finds itself in the position of making more cash by taking
advantage of the consequences of the debtor’s shameless profligacy.
(Regarding how currency trader Goldman could find itself in a win-win position
as a result of acting as a "force for good” with respect to Greece, consider the
full implications of the following headline, which recently appeared on
Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Cuts Euro Forecast Versus Dollar on Greece Turmoil.”)
That’s basically it regarding the deformed issue that is the product of the
Greece-Goldman tryst. And we should praise the media for having brought it to
light. After all, we Americans have witnessed this kind of behavior before and
know a thing or two trillion about its disastrous effects.
However, in its reporting about the scandal, the media is once again ignoring a
crucially important issue, which is this:
From Berlin to Washington, governmental elites failed to blow the whistle about,
much less put a stop to, the trick, which, reports indicate, was also played in
debt-burdened Italy with the help of another American bank.
And let’s remember that these elites weren’t duped by a financial genius
operating secretly; for their abject failure to act occurred despite the fact
that the deal was openly known, as Aaron Task points out in a Yahoo post:
...the transaction was disclosed to the Greek parliament in 2001 and profiled
by Risk Magazine in 2003...
The big news, then, regarding this scandal is that the elites of Europe’s
finance ministries and central banks didn’t sound the alarm about it.
The same is true here at home, where "What, Me Worry” Treasury and Fed
aristocrats such as Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, Alan Greenspan, and Ben
Bernanke didn’t think it important to speak out forcefully about the global
implications of the Greece-Goldman machinations.
Then, there’s Barack Obama, who is hailed as an intellectual giant by his
sycophantic supporters, but who responded to a Bloomberg/Business Week question
about bonuses at Goldman not by taking the opportunity to comment about smart,
substantive reform of the financial industry but by blabbing the following sound
Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys [Goldman’s Blankfein and Dimon].
They’re very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don’t
begrudge people success or wealth.
The politicians and bureaucrats mentioned above also have an obligation to let
the American people know whether Goldman and other banks have provided or could
legally provide the same kind of "derivative services” not just to Washington
but to fifty Sacramentos as well.
Clearly, however, they don’t perceive one.
Finally, there is this question:
What are the most important lessons to be learned from the scandal in Greece?
There are many, but two stand out.
The first is this: Although the glaciers called central governments will forever
be treacherous places characterized by thousands of wasteful, power-loving,
money-sucking crevasses, the past four decades have seen the arrogant,
gluttonous, incestuous, self-serving, depraved members of the
Political/Bureaucratic Class disfigure the American central government with
gorges so profoundly dangerous and deep that they openly mock and endanger the
Constitution’s "We the People.”
The second lesson is that in defense of "their” icy, perilous Oz, that Class
will continue to ridicule and otherwise deride the Tea Party movement or any
other coalition of ordinary citizens who share a belief about what has made
America free, good, and prosperous.
After all, if the
fraudulent wizards know anything, it is that they should regard such Americans
not just as inferiors but as an enemy dedicated to bringing the nation closer to
Lincoln’s ideal of government of, by, and for the people.