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The Sad State of Goldman

February 15, 2010

By now most have heard of the wretched nonsense of Goldman.

Now from Baseline Scenario we get these proposals:

This audit should focus on ten sets of questions.

  1. Which eurozone governments have worked with Goldman, and on what basis, over the past decade?  All actions prior to and after the introduction of the euro need to be thoroughly reexamined.
  2. What transactions has Goldman facilitated and how has that affected the reporting of European government debt?  (Under the Maastricht Treaty, eurozone government debt is not supposed to exceed 60 percent of GDP.)
  3. In the case of Greece, the accusation is that Goldman deliberately and in a premeditated manner conspired to hide the true degree of government debt.  Is this true, and to what extent has Goldman helped other countries engage in similar transactions, e.g., countries now seeking entry to the eurozone?
  4. What is the full extent of Greek and other government liabilities, if these are accounted for properly?  Without this reckoning, it is impossible to design a proper level of European Union (or any other) support for weaker eurozone countries.
  5. Are there non-eurozone countries that have also been aided and abetted by Goldman in this fashion?  For example, are the UK and Switzerland implicated – and thus endangered?
  6. Has Goldman extolled the virtues of government debt in Greece, or other countries, while at the same time helping to deceive investors on the true risks inherent in those debts?  What were Goldman’s own holdings of these securities?
  7. Is there evidence that Goldman has structured similar transactions for the private sector – enabling companies to conceal the level of their true indebtedness?  Have securities issued by such firms also been endorsed by Goldman to the buying public?
  8. Were Goldman’s US-based supervisors aware of Goldman’s activities in Greece and other eurozone countries?  Did they condone activities that undermine the integrity of the European Union?
  9. Where was the European Central Bank while all of this was happening?  Has the ECB become dangerously enraptured with the new Wall Street and its “techniques”?
  10. Did any responsible official really think that what Goldman was constructing was really some sort of productivity-enhancing financial innovation – as opposed to a sophisticated form of scam?
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