As the economy was falling apart, Goldman Sachs (Goldman) was busily becoming a huge example of the 10 Karat Golden Rule. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the purer form of the Golden Rule, 24 Karat Golden Rule, which states you should do unto others as you want them to do unto you. The 10 Karat Golden Rule discussed here is the other Golden Rule, the cheaper version of the rule that’s as profound, but less uplifting. The 10 Karat Golden Rule says: He who has the gold wins. During this financial crisis, as Americans like you and I were losing, Goldman was getting richer and richer. Unfortunately, it looks like they were manipulating the system, and us, to make it happen.
Why should we care about them or the 10 Karat Golden Rule? Goldman is a global investment banking and securities firm, which engages in investment banking and a host of other financial services. Two recent US Treasury Secretaries were previously employed by Goldman. Since becoming a publicly traded company in 1999, Goldman has only become more powerful and wealthy. According to the New York Times, earnings for Goldman Sachs rose 91% in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 2009, to $3.46 billion. How did Goldman manage to amass such amazing profits during such a devastating downturn? If the SEC is right, they did it with the 10 Karat Golden Rule, which made them believe they had a right to manipulate the mess that was the sub-prime mortgage-backed securities market. They had the gold, so Goldman could make sure that it won.
In April 2010, the folks at the SEC managed to pry themselves away from their Internet porn to do their job, which is to protect investors, maintain fair markets and facilitate capital formation. In an SEC civil suit, it’s alleged that Goldman engaged in fraud worth billions of dollars. If we used the 24 Karat Golden Rule against Goldman, they’d be out of business within five years. There’s something else we should be paying attention to in terms of influence and power. Regardless of your politics, we all should be fighting against one company being able to manipulate us into the economic dumpster. Fairness in our economy is worth its weight in gold, but only if it’s 24 Karat Gold.