Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goldman Sachs' and Blankfein's $500 Million Apology

Numbers people should stick to numbers, and leave the talking to attorneys ...

I wrote last week regarding Goldman Sachs' CEO Blankfein's comments that were understood to mean: our workers are more productive than other workers, which is why they're compensated so much; and, Goldman is doing "God's work."

Good stuff.

Goldman and Blankfein have made a formal and very public apology since. Blankfein stated at a conference in New York on Tuesday, in the context of the financial drama that has occurred on Wall Street and trickled throughout the world's economies: "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologi[z]e."

Then just Tuesday, Goldman announced that in partnership with Warren Buffet it has created a small business aid program with assets $500 million in capital.

That's nice. Not to be ungrateful, but let's be adults about these numbers:
  • We're all well aware of the large sum of federal money given to buttress AIG last fall. Not everyone is aware, however, that $14 billion of that federal money was then transferred to Goldman.
  • Goldman Sachs has earned $8.4 billion in 1Q09 through 3Q09.
  • Goldman has put aside $16.7 billion for 2009 compensation expenses (which if the trend is continued, will amount to $ 21 billion in compensation expenses by December 31st).

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