Selig Cartwright Achieves Job Security; Mr. B. Suffers Hamptons Angst (A new Goldman Sachs washroom attendant adventure)
Mr. B. You look concerned. Is it that fine Goldman just got hit with?
Fine, Selig? What fine?
I just heard Goldman has to pay $550 million to settle a fraud case with the SEC. For putting investors into a deal where they were almost certain to lose money.
Oh that. Just the cost of doing business, Selig. We made $13 billion last year.
But the value of the company, sir. Won’t the fine hurt that?
Don’t be silly. Our stock went up $3 billion in value the day this settlement was announced. We’d budgeted more than a billion, and everyone on The Street now understands this new Administration in Washington just wants a big sounding number or two it can throw around so it can pretend it’s really for the little guy and standing up to Wall Street.
So this fine of $550 million for Goldman was just…just…
Chump change, Selig. We probably could have dragged the thing out in court and in the end even gotten the SEC to apologize and pay us for the pain and suffering they caused. But we wanted to stay focused on making sure the regs that will be coming along because of that new so-called reform don’t cause any real problems for us down the line.
But I heard, sir, that these regs could cause real trouble for banks.
Ah, Selig, I love that word ‘banks.’ Thank goodness most of the public still doesn’t understand the difference between community banks that actually lend money to small businesses and consumers, and investment banks that raise money for large public companies, and these days borrow practically free from the Fed so we can play in a stock market where we always win. It’s the community banks that will end up screwed by the costs of new regulations. Not even chump change for us.
Yes, sir. That sort of ignorance has certainly worked in Goldman’s favor. But Mr. B. If you dodged a big bullet on financial reform, are paying chump change in fines for past behavior, and aren’t having your own pay and bonuses limited by the Administration’s pay Czar because he can only regulate banks that haven’t repaid their TARP money, and you repaid it easily by diddling a stock market you can play with money borrowed practically free from the Fed, why are you looking so glum?
Why Selig? I’ll tell you why. I just lost my gardener. The immigration people scooped him up. And we were bumped from the A-List table at a Hamptons fund raiser for Borneo howling monkeys. Some hedge fund guy and his wife got the last two seats with a contribution a few thousand larger than ours. My own wife is furious.
I can understand how you feel, sir. I share your pain. As do the howling monkeys as well, I’m sure. But speaking about wives…
Your own hasn’t taken me out of her nightly prayers, has she Selig?
Not yet, sir. But she keeps asking me whether my own job here at Goldman is secure. I know The Street is hiring more investment bankers to work the wonders that have made our country’s economy what it is today. But small people like ourselves, our own jobs…
Selig, Selig, Selig. Please assure your good woman that while the American middle class is being destroyed by ongoing government policies designed to keep enriching and enriching and enriching the best and brightest at investment banks, there will always be trickle down to people such as your yourself who keep our restrooms squeaky clean. And speaking of that, Selig…
Stall #8, your own personal thunder box, is ready to serve, sir. As are happy washroom attendants like myself. No class war thinking here.
Very good, Selig. And very prudent, too.
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