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Goldman racks up record profit

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Message Ward Harkavy

Goldman Sachs is setting records, but it's a broken record: The Street's big daddy has "reached all-time highs" in revenue "less than a year after the firm took $10 billion in U.S. rescue funds," as Bloomberg puts it.

That's the real news - or it is for people with short memories: See "The bank that shagged us: Bailout recipient Goldman Sachs now rakes in record sacks of gold," May 6. But the news that's going to piss off people and lead to a lot of bloviating by pols is the totally expected development that Goldman's execs are putting aside a record amount for their own bonuses and pay:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set aside $11.4 billion for compensation and benefits in the first half of 2009, up 33 percent from a year earlier and enough to pay each employee $386,429 for the period. ...

After setting a Wall Street profit and pay record in 2007, Goldman Sachs cut compensation 46 percent last year as the financial crisis slashed revenue and the firm accepted government support. The firm repaid $10 billion to the U.S. Treasury last month, freeing itself from restrictions on year- end bonuses. Even so, a compensation bonanza at a company that received taxpayer support could stoke political anger with the U.S. economy in recession.

Time to go back and read Matt Taibbi's screed on Goldman-as-vampire-squid.

Taibbi's not the only one who's tried to kick Goldman in the tentacles. Everyone knows by now that the Obama administration is simply crawling with ex-Goldmanites ("Geithner's inner circle jerks," April 28) and that the big firm has been spending big on pols even when it supposedly was hurting ("Lobbying by Goldman Sachs soared in 2008 while its stock plummeted and it raked in bailout money," April 9)

As usual, Eliot Spitzer makes sense about the economy. If he hadn't fucked his own career, he'd be a valuable resource right now. Albany would never have blown up the way it has, if Spitzer were still governor. And unlike David Paterson, Spitzer understands Wall Street and knows how to point out schnooks.

If only Spitzer had kept his finger out of prostitutes and left it on the public pulse. Here he is talking earlier this morning on Bloomberg about public perception of Goldman's expected record haul:

"The question becomes how does this all play politically? This could be a political explosion. 'Suddenly they're back making their bonuses and we're unemployed.' And you know what? The public is right."

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Ward Harkavy is currently Senior Editor at the Village Voice, for which he writes The Smart Asset.
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