Goldman SachsLast week's headline-grabbing developments at Goldman Sachs (GS) -- including the very public resignation of a disgruntled employee -- came at a moment when the storied investment bank seems to be making a concerted effort to ingratiate itself with Main Street.

Despite the to-do, the public's real issue with Goldman Sachs wasn't addressed at all.

In Case You're Just Tuning In ...

On Wednesday, a Goldman employee -- Greg Smith, executive director and head of the firm's equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa -- resigned with a flourish. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Smith told off his former employer, accusing the firm of seeking only to make money off its clients.

"I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients," Smith wrote. "It's purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them."

Smith went on to say that he no longer felt he could take part in Goldman Sachs' recruiting activities, "I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work."

The Firm's Response ... Amid a Recent Makeover Attempt

Goldman responded the same morning with a rather formal and chilly internal memo, which read, "The assertions made by this individual that do not reflect our values, our culture and how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients."

Golman Sachs

GoldmanSachs.com


Indeed, Goldman seems lately to have been making a concerted effort to portray its values and cultures in a positive light. CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently appeared in commercials supporting gay marriage in New York state, a move that may be intended to ingratiate himself and the firm among those concerned with equal rights for gay Americans.

Goldman has also been running ads lately about its 10,000 Women Initiative, now a joint venture with the State Department, entailing "a $100 million, five-year worldwide campaign to drive economic growth by providing 10,000 women a business and management education as well as access to capital, networks and mentors," according to a Goldman press release issued March 8.

The Real Elephant in the Room

None of this -- not Greg Smith's public resignation over client and culture issues, nor Blankfein's efforts on behalf of gay marriage rights, nor even Goldman's support for women's entrepreneurship in the developing world -- begins to address the real elephant in the room.

Who actually believed -- before Smith's opinion piece was published -- that Goldman Sachs is more focused on serving its clients than on making money? Who really is surprised by these suggestions that Goldman Sachs cares a whole lot about profits?

A Harris Interactive poll from last month showed that 83% of Americans have a negative impression of the financial services industry. And Goldman Sachs is one of the most despised financial services companies of all, ranking just behind AIG. That's because during the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs became virtually synonymous with the high-stakes risk-taking that resulted in the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The real issue is the bailouts.

America's Memo to Goldman

Imagine if the American people were to issue a memo to Goldman Sachs. It would probably read like this:

Attention Mr. Blankfein and assorted cronies:

We don't care about your infighting or your recruiting efforts. Your philanthropic efforts may be nice, but they aren't the big deal here.

How about you stop taking so much risk that we -- the public -- have to bail you out when your bets go bad? That's what we really want from you and the rest of Wall Street. And we don't think it's too much to ask.

Motley Fool contributor Catherine Baab-Muguira has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned here. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs.




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34 Comments

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Annie

Romney's top contributors, surprise, surprise Goldman Sachs is at the top of the list.


Goldman Sachs $593,080
JPMorgan Chase & Co $467,089
Bank of America $425,100
Morgan Stanley $399,850
Credit Suisse Group $390,360
Citigroup Inc $312,800
Kirkland & Ellis $264,302
Wells Fargo $237,550
Barclays $234,650
PricewaterhouseCoopers $227,250
Deloitte LLP $222,250
HIG Capital $216,995
UBS AG $207,750
Blackstone Group $198,800
Bain Capital $156,500
Elliott Management $146,275
Marriott International $137,827
General Electric $135,450
Bain & Co $130,550
EMC Corp $129,450

July 17 2012 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crystalball2114

1) Goldman was in the top 3 donors to the 2008 Obama campaign.

2) Ex-Goldman execs are Al Gore's partners in his carbon credit scam

3) Goldman had their finers all over the 'Wall Street bailout'

4) Sec of Treasury Tim Geitner has been in bed with them for years

March 22 2012 at 10:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
boxigg

IT'S CALLED FRONT RUNNING ORDERS

March 22 2012 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

This Obama-propaganda is evil.

Trying to get people to "hate" anyone for political gain is the worst kind of demagoguery.

Instigating and stirring up hatred of minorities is the strategy of fascists and communists.

Hatred of "others" has been used to instigate and justify bloody revolutions and mass persecutions.

America is a country of laws and ideals. This "hit-piece" identifies no crimes or legal infractions by GS. If GS has broken any law, or committed any civil wrongs, it should be held accountable. But it should not be the victim of evil "class-warfare".

Likewise, hopefully the Democrat superstar, John Corzine's, conduct will be closely scrutinized. And if any laws have been broken by the Obama administration in "investing" billions in crony "green" energy investments, it should be held accountable.

This extreme leftist propaganda selling hatred is un-American. Billionaire money, often from George Soros, and with the cooperation of the Obama administration, leftist bloggers, and recently even Obama's speeches, appears to be behind the demonizing hateful rhetoric, hateful propaganda, and planted "stories".

America does not "really hate" G.S. Let's resist the division and hatred which left-wing propaganda like this attempt to instigate.

March 22 2012 at 5:58 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

So if we follow the logic, Americans hate GS because of the bailouts by Obama.

What a ridiculous "story".

More of the usual divisive faux-news concocted by the Obama far-left media.

Cute trick! ... The NYTimes publishes an "editorial" by a nobody disgruntled employee, and,

Then on its Front Page, it dishonestly reports its own planted attack on GS as "News".

AOL/HuffPuff and other Soros-supported lefties want to create hatred and political division in order to agitate for Socialist Obama policies. It is un-American. There is no need for ginned-up "class-warfare" and manufactured hatred.

March 22 2012 at 5:03 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Drew

The real problem is Goldman Sachs is corrupt on top with the US Govern. Corzine and Paulson (both past presidents of GS) that became US Treasury Dept. heads. Thus the Bailouts and which firms they were to benefit, were directed by Goldman Sachs and its Cronies. Paulson had a secret meeting with Goldman Sachs connected Hedge Funds in mid 2008, and told them which other financial firms the government was going to "pull the rug out from under". Corzine, who gave or spent $40 million of his own money, as former GS Pres. on Democratic Party Campaigns, and was Dem. US Sen. and Dem Gov. of New Jersey --- is ABOVE THE LAW never arrested for LOOTING $1.2 billion of Customer Money from MF Global Futures where he was then Pres. and Chmn.

March 22 2012 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Drew's comment
crystalball2114

True but you failed to point out the involvement of current Treas. Sec., Tim Geitner. He was in it up to his eyebrows when he was New York Fed Chairman.

March 22 2012 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dquandle

Its about greedy parasitic criminals who wrecked the US economy and who get paid for having done it by the government they bought and own, lock stock and barrel. Thats what its about.

March 22 2012 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
twincam72

Uh, Catherine, you forgot to add that Goldman is the reason gas prices keep climbing. These crooks run up the price of a barrel of crude every day. Once again, Goldman screws the American public. Does it care? Of course not. Goldman would bankrupt the nation if it thought it could get away with it. This is a traitorous company.

March 22 2012 at 12:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to twincam72's comment
ha6ai

Pure nonsense.

March 22 2012 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crystalball2114

Twincam, not even close to being an accurate statement.

March 22 2012 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
awolf93456

I don't know of any individual investor that can walk into a Goldman office and either buy or sell any product. They will be able to do so through an agent who is licensed to do the trading usually through an institution that has usually advised their client to buy or sell. Why blame G.S. when they are in business to satisfy a customers wish to buy or sell . They are like a supermarket who are in business and happy to have buyers shop with them. I am tired of listening to all of the nonsense re; G.S. A. Wolf

March 22 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jyban

I pray every night that these baztards go out of business.

March 21 2012 at 10:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jyban's comment
Setanta

obama pelosi reid jarret etc etc etc the same.
make sure you get them all voted out.

March 21 2012 at 11:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply