Thursday, April 29, 2010

Goldman Hearings are Sham Theater

A special adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf is open for a special onetime run in Washington. Oh poor little Red (that would be the American people) has been ravaged mightily by the nasty Wolf (that would be Goldman and Sachs). It all seems so dire, so unfair – but wait, who is that rushing to her defense? It is the brave Woodsman (that would be congress), he has come rushing in – axe in hand. The Wolf snarls and snaps but he is no match for our stalwart hero. The fight is fierce and much noise is being made. But in the end, we know our brave Woodsman will avenge Little Red Riding Hood and all fear and injustice will sink into a glorious sunset as the curtain closes.

This is the reality of the hearings. It is very gratifying to hear our anger voiced so clearly on TV for all to hear. Oh the snide remarks, the dripping contempt of Goldman crushed under the angry demands and bone chilling threats of our local congressman. This will go on for several days. In this manner our little spectacle more closely resembles the Roman spectacles held for the very same purpose as these hearings. Namely, to calm and entertain the populace while a handful of men gets back to running the nation.

Unfortunately for us, the Roman analogy does not hold very close beyond that however. For at least the Roman citizen, got to see real blood in exchange for their liberty. We however will have to muddle through with our humble vaudeville. It will have to suffice because it is all we are being offered.

These hearings will come and go having accomplished nothing. No more than the bailout hearings prevented further bailouts, abuse of bailouts or the banana republic corruption of bonuses paid from bailout funds. By all accounts the reform bill in congress will, like health care before it, be a giant gift bag to the finance industry. In exchange for meaningless paper reforms Goldman and others will keep access to the federal paper money mill. No banks will be broken, no trading outlawed. Sure some specific types of securities will come under tighter control – but only in areas where Goldman has so overfished the waters that no fish is likely to bite again for years.

The hearings will end, the limelight will dim. Congress and Goldman will retire for the weekend and remove the dirt and grime of public performance sharing drinks together on the Goldman dime. The “reform” bill will pass. The stock market will rise in anticipation of higher profits. Goldman will begin to reap its toxic returns from the debt crisis it fueled in Europe. Taxpayers will feel that their ongoing pain and abuse has been made meaningful. All will be well and happy – for a while.

Tick Tock

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