Lord Blankfein to His Royal Rat Minions: "Don't Flash the Ca$h"
As you may or may not already know, I am a (mostly) consummate professional. Except for the F bombs and the tattoos and the skunk hair. If you subtract all those, swap out my skinny jeans for a pinstripe suit and coif me something that's less Punky Brewster, more Meg Whitman, we might be on to something. So let's not say professional, exactly (because let's face it, the accounting industry needed a little shaking up) and go with "clever when it comes to business" instead. I get how this whole thing works.
Unfortunately, so does Lord Blankfein.
You see, he reads the wires. He sends out the Goldman rats to scurry across the Intarwebz and bring him back the useful bits (yeah I totally saw what you guys did there) so he surely knows by now that America is pretty pissed off. Even MarketWatch is dropping the "Goldman conspiracy" bomb; no longer merely a subject that keeps fringe financial bloggers awake in the middle of the night, Goldman Sachs hating has become as American as apple pie or adjustable rate mortgages.
Like the rich folks who drop $100 a plate at the French restaurant near my office (once conspicuous consumers, they now come out only after dark and instead of valeting, park two blocks up the hill like the common folk), Lord Blankfein would rather do his consuming under America's collective radar. And would prefer if the rats did the same.
LA Times (yeah sorry, whatever, I try to use them as little as possible, my bad):
There go the hopes and dreams of struggling retailers across New York City and the tri-state area.
Goldman Sachs Group, the target of so much public ire over its resurging profitability after the financial crisis, reportedly is telling employees to tone down their spending.
From the New York Post:
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has warned his employees to avoid making big-ticket, high-profile purchases as the gold-plated Wall Street firm hunkers down amid a firestorm of public and political anger over outsize bonus payments.
A source within the bank said Blankfein first began calling for an end to the conspicuous consumption late last year, but has stepped up his campaign in recent weeks as the White House has sought to rein in compensation and as the firm has gotten dinged by a pair of high-profile magazine articles.
A scathing Rolling Stone profile of Goldman in June referred to the banking giant as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
In July, Goldman reported record second-quarter earnings of $3.4 billion -- just seven months after the firm and hundreds of other banks got capital infusions from the government to save the tottering financial system.
Although Goldman already has repaid Uncle Sam, the expectation of huge 2009 bonuses for Goldman employees (given the latest earnings report) has galvanized those who believe that bankers' compensation remains outrageous relative to what they add to society.
Yeah, Lord Blankfein gets how this works too. So we're hoping somehow if this is a contest, tattoos + knowing how business works beats knowing how business works + looking like the Muppets' Beaker.