Remember when the financial crisis waterboarded the American economy to within an inch of its life, and then taxpayers threw all their money at Wall Street to stop the drowning? That's all behind us now, and those of you reading this in the basement of your parents' tent under the bridge can take comfort in knowing that everything's coming up Goldman. Though CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently urged employees not too buy anything flashy in the wake of record profits, everything else at Goldman is back to normal and no lessons have been learned, just like the end of a Seinfeld episode."Our risk appetite continues to grow year on year, quarter on quarter, as our balance sheet and liquidity continue to grow," crows Goldman president Gary Cohn to the Times. What could go wrong?
Fortune does favor the bold, but she favors government-backed boldness even more. If there's one thing the financial industry's learned from this crisis, it's that extravagant, speculative risks should not be taken lightly, har har. What they actually learned is that they can lose their shirts and the government will take most of them shopping at Brooks Brothers on the taxpayers' dime. David A. Moss, a professor at Harvard Business School, tells the Times, "We’re in a situation where we’ve extended important guarantees, both explicit and implicit, to almost all major financial institutions, yet we don’t have the regulations in place to control the excessive risk-taking that could result."
Goldman Sachs, with its connections at the Fed and the highest levels of government, isn't sweating it; some business analysts say the post-bailout Goldman is behaving just like the pre-bailout Goldman. And though Blankfein has told friends that during the worst part of the crisis he worried that even precious Goldman might go down with the ship, Cohn insists to the Times, "We did not have a near-death experience." Sure, he admits the government saved the financial industry as a whole, but it did not save Goldman Sachs. That $12 billion bailout Goldman accepted from taxpayers? They probably just thought that was their bonus.