After Mark Patterson, former Goldman Sachs chief lobbyist, was brought in as chief of staff to Timothy Geithner, there were signals that Goldman had already unbalanced the DC power structure. Following this movement, taxpayers made good dollar-for-dollar the enormous AIG bailout. As I understand it, that was really to pay off Goldman Sachs. That's power! Government power!
Greg Smith had high expectations going into Goldman Sachs where he had a brilliant career and was even used to promote the firm's recruiting efforts. Like all of us, he'd been told they were the smartest people so often that he believed it. So he followed the yellow brick road and ended up sacrificing himself to tell what was behind the curtain in his op-ed in The New York Times.
Smith is likable in this account. He started with Goldman Sachs when he was 21 years old in 2000. Despite the state of the stock market at the time with the dot-com crash under way, those were idealistic and innocent times compared to now. Twelve years later, Smith is a lot better informed about the nature of corruption and its tragic affects on those from Main Street.
Smith's depiction of Goldman Sachs is consistent with the screw-the-clients attitude on Wall Street famously described in Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis. In fact, entry into the culture of Goldman was exactly like entry into Salomon Brothers per Lewis. The young candidate is treated almost as dismissively as a military recruit in boot camp/basic training. You know you're ready to graduate from the training when you're able to verbally stand up to your tormentors. Liar's Poker
The book also supports Robert Kiyosaki's assertions that Goldman Sachs runs the government. Kiyosaki is author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Smith shows how Goldman often makes the rules of financial games while playing them. Admittedly, there was nothing that I consider salacious. I hoped to find the type of criminality that could lead to prosecutions. I think Goldman partners have nothing to worry about other than the reputation of their firm. Consider that there is no escape from the Goldman vice, no matter which candidate for president wins next month. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
I recommend this book to all that work on Wall Street and want to stay in touch with their moral compass. Greg Smith is a good man and smart too.
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