In an effort to salvage his company's name, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has apologized
for the bank's role in the financial crisis and pledged half a billion dollars to help small businesses recover from the recession. The move comes after Blankfein was recently lambasted for saying his bank carries out "God's work." Will the move rectify Goldman's standing? Finance bloggers aren't giving them much of a chance. Here are their gripes, with a notable defense by business writer Felix Salmon:
- Don't Be Fooled, writes Matt Taibbi:
Lloyd Blankfein is "actually keeping all of the money and going ahead
with a record year
of bonuses while his company went about the business of mass-evicting
people during the holidays. Well, Lloyd, we don’t know what to say. Uh…
thanks for saying so? We’re glad you’re sorry. Man, these people are
amazing. Just as theater, they’re impossible
to beat. Someone should make a soap opera out of them, maybe call it Billionaires Cry Too or something."
- So This Is How the World Works, muses Joe Costello at Alternet: "If only all the boys sitting behind bars for sticking up a 7-11 knew
all they had to do was apologize and give back a pittance of what they
stole. All would be forgiven... A tithe is supposed to be ten percent, so they're about a billion short.
Better, if they were...broke
into a couple dozen pieces."
- Try This, Goldman Sam Gustin
at Daily Finance offers his own plan to invigorate small businesses:
"Blankfein and others argue that compensation must be structured to
retain talent -- and they're right -- but is it too much to ask for a
little Protestant modesty around the holidays? ...How about if each
Goldman employee took half their bonus -- a total of
$10 billion -- and used it for direct small business loans. That would
get people back to work."
- "Here's Some Money, Poor People. Now Shut Up About Our Bonuses"
reads a headline in Gawker. Ravi Somaiya writes, "CEO Lloyd Blankfein
has made yet another cursory PR gesture - a tiny fund for small
- designed to divert attention from $17bn in bonuses he's paying to the
bankers who helped drive the economy, Zeppelin-like, into the
ground...This is beyond mocking."
- I'll Defend Goldman on This One, writes Felix Salmon
at Reuters—today's notable dissenter. "Goldman deserves to be
applauded... All too often there’s lots of goodwill in such places but
shortage of lendable funds: initiatives like Goldman’s should help
change that. And given that small businesses are a key driver of
employment growth, there has never been a better time to do this."
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