Saturday, February 13, 2010

Doing The Lord's Work!

Goldman seems to be involved in pretty much everything that goes wrong these days:

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.
Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.
The bankers, led by Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece’s health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.
It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

Greece is now in danger of defaulting on its debt, a move which could precipitate a crisis in the Euro, and which could easily spread across Europe, and eventually cause massive defaults and losses to US banks- banks that are undercapitalized and already facing the prospect of horrendous losses in commercial real estate in massive residential foreclosures. 

What Goldman did here, basically, was help Greece act in bad faith to get around rules which were designed to keep them from getting into exactly the kind of trouble that Goldman helped them get into; now, the rest of Europe has the choice of either bailing them out, or risking another financial crisis. 

Apparently, nearly destroying the global economy once isn't enough for these guys. "Doing the Lord's Work" obviously requires much more mayhem then that. And maybe this time they'll succeed.

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