Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Goldman Sachs Debacle Explained In A Way Even A Financial Idiot (Like Me) Can Understand

For months now Main Street has been railing against Wall Street. The little guys who saw their life savings and stock portfolios tank in the Crash of '08 know how it happened.

The big questions were (1) Who was going to be held accountable? (2) Will the government step in and do something to force accountability? (3)And finally, why has it taken so darn long?

Yesterday something did happen. The Security and Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs and VP Fabrice Tourre alleging fraud in the marketing of the ABACUS 2007-AC1 securities.

To get a a chronological snapshot of what happened, here's a time line, taken from the business section of The Los Angeles Times.

May 2006 -- Henry M. Paulson resigns as Goldman chairman to become Treasury secretary.

April 2007 -- Goldman Vice President Fabrice Tourre creates ABACUS 2007-AC1, a security based on high-risk subprime mortgages.

2007 -- Goldman traders begin betting against the mortgage market.

2007 -- Goldman Chairman Lloyd Blankfein receives a $68-million compensation package.

September 2008 -- Hit by the financial downturn, Goldman becomes a bank holding company so it can access federal funds more easily.

October 2008 -- Goldman receives a $10-billion taxpayer bailout from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

June 2009 -- Goldman pays back the TARP money plus 23% interest.

November -- Blankfein says in an interview that he is doing "God's work."

January -- Goldman announces a record quarterly profit of

$4.9 billion.

April -- The Securities and Exchange Commission sues Goldman and Tourre, alleging fraud in the marketing of the firm's ABACUS 2007-AC1 securities.

Now to explain it in terms even a five year old could understand- but apparently at least one United States Senator doesn't- here's Rachel Maddow with guest Eugene Robinson.

Are you still a little fuzzy as to why this is important?

OK....check out this video, from the CBS EVENING NEWS with Katie Couric.

We've seen action taken by the SEC in this matter, and as shown in the first video with Rachel Maddow, no matter how serious the situation is, and how injurious such activities such as those Goldman Sachs is accused of were to investors in the United States and worldwide, the Republican leadership in the Senate is against further regulation of Wall Street. As shown all 41 Senate Republicans have lined up against reform.

While the GOP'ers in the Senate were galvanizing against reform on the very day the SEC brought action against Goldman Sachs, the President of the United States sent the following email to millions of voters across the United States.

It has now been well over a year since the near collapse of our entire financial system that cost the nation more than 8 million jobs. To this day, hard-working families struggle to make ends meet.

We've made strides -- businesses are starting to hire, Americans are finding jobs, and neighbors who had given up looking are returning to the job market with new hope. But the flaws in our financial system that led to this crisis remain unresolved.

Wall Street titans still recklessly speculate with borrowed money. Big banks and credit card companies stack the deck to earn millions while far too many middle-class families, who have done everything right, can barely pay their bills or save for a better future.

We cannot delay action any longer. It is time to hold the big banks accountable to the people they serve, establish the strongest consumer protections in our nation's history -- and ensure that taxpayers will never again be forced to bail out big banks because they are "too big to fail."

That is what Wall Street reform will achieve, why I am so committed to making it happen, and why I'm asking for your help today.

Please stand with me to show your support for Wall Street reform.

We know that without enforceable, commonsense rules to check abuse and protect families, markets are not truly free. Wall Street reform will foster a strong and vibrant financial sector so that businesses can get loans; families can afford mortgages; entrepreneurs can find the capital to start a new company, sell a new product, or offer a new service.

Consumer financial protections are currently spread across seven different government agencies. Wall Street reform will create one single Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- tasked with preventing predatory practices and making sure you get the clear information, not fine print, needed to avoid ballooning mortgage payments or credit card rate hikes.

Reform will provide crucial new oversight, give shareholders a say on salaries and bonuses, and create new tools to break up failing financial firms so that taxpayers aren't forced into another unfair bailout. And reform will keep our economy secure by ensuring that no single firm can bring down the whole financial system.

With so much at stake, it is not surprising that allies of the big banks and Wall Street lenders have already launched a multi-million-dollar ad campaign to fight these changes. Arm-twisting lobbyists are already storming Capitol Hill, seeking to undermine the strong bipartisan foundation of reform with loopholes and exemptions for the most egregious abusers of consumers.

I won't accept anything short of the full protection that our citizens deserve and our economy needs. It's a fight worth having, and it is a fight we can win -- if we stand up and speak out together.

So I'm asking you to join me, starting today, by adding your name as a strong supporter of Wall Street reform:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

There is a new ( but familiar) question that each Republican Senator has to ask themselves. Twenty years from now when history looks back on the cries from Main Street America for Wall Street Reform, where will you be remembered; siding with the fat cats , or doing right for the little guys who lost everything but their today and probably their future as well?

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