Feb 182011
 

With all the trillions tossed around in the government’s efforts to prop up the big banks, a $2.9 billion taxpayer-funded windfall to Goldman-Sachs might not sound like that big a deal.

But imagine if we still had that $2.9 billion, if it was still in the federal coffers and not in the pockets of Goldman bankers.

Maybe President Obama wouldn’t feel the need to cut off aid for poor people to help pay for heating oil through the cold winter – that $2.9 billion would more than pay for the proposed cuts.

Maybe you’re not in favor of helping poor people stay warm in the winter.

How about space travel?

That $2.9 billion could pay for nearly a year’s worth of research on manned space travel, which is also under threat.

But what did we taxpayers get from this generosity to Goldman Sachs?

Absolutely nothing. Worse than that, we rewarded extremely bad behavior.

The $2.9 billion payment was arranged by federal authorities as part of what they have described as their emergency efforts to salvage the financial system in the wake of the financial collapse brought on by the bankers’ greed, recklessness and fraud, enabled by regulators’ laxity.

The Federal Reserve, which was supposed to be overseeing this massive giveaway to the banks, contends it didn’t intend to give the windfall to Goldman-Sachs bankers. It was just $2.9 billion that got away from them in their hurry to fill the bankers’ pockets with our cash- I mean- save the economy. McClatchy News Service, using bland journalism-speak, calls it a “potentially huge regulatory omission.”

Goldman hit the jackpot on our bailout of AIG, in which taxpayers compensated the firm 100 cents on the dollar for bad proprietary trades. That means Goldman gambled with its own money, which it is entirely entitled to do.

But when they lose their money, as the old blues song says, they should “learn to lose.”

Lucky for Goldman, we’re there to pick them up, dust them off and wish them well, no questions asked.

Just how much longer are we going to allow our public officials, Republican and Democrat, to use our money to foot the bill for these deadbeats’ bad gambling debts?

Just how many people are going to have to go cold before we cut Goldman off?

About Martin Berg

Martin Berg, WheresOurMoney.org editor, is a veteran journalist.

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