The Hightower Report
Goldman's Singapore Sling; and Flipping Us the Bird
Goldman's Singapore Sling
Goldman Sachs is making news again, though it's doing its damnedest to keep it quiet and to suppress any outbreak of political outrage from either the public or Washington.
Goldman was a major player in designing the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, getting $10 billion for itself and untold billions more in backdoor subsidies from the Federal Reserve. You might recall that the public rationale for this governmental rescue of private banks was that they would then have the capital to invest in job-creating enterprises. However, they took the money and ran, leaving America's workaday families mired in a jobless swamp. Meanwhile, Goldman quickly returned to paying outlandish, multimillion-dollar bonuses to its top muckety-mucks.
Now, to add insult and even more injury to the damage it has done to our economy, the banking giant has quietly informed about 1,000 of its U.S. employees that their jobs are being shifted to Singapore, where cheaper bank employees are available. This stiffing of America comes at a time when Goldman is piling up record profits, including $2.7 billion it raked in during just the first three months of this year. Perhaps the bank needs extra money to pay bigger executive bonuses.
Goldman has, however, made one new American hire as part of its U.S. job retrenchment plan. Former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg has joined the good ship Goldman as an "international advisor." With 26 years in Congress, Gregg can help steer the bank through any political tempest stirred up by Goldman's latest act of greed. Presumably, he'll be able to rally his old GOP colleagues in the Senate. After all, they voted unanimously last year to save a tax break that helps corporations shift American jobs overseas.
Flipping Us the Bird
Economists and politicians keep their fingers on the pulse of the Dow Jones Average, feeling every tick in this narrow measure of Wall Street wealth.
But the truer indicator of America's economic health is in the Doug Jones Average – how are workaday folks like Doug and Doreen doing? After all, the experts tell us that we're now entering the third year of glorious economic recovery from the Great Recession, so surely the bluebirds of happiness are chirping again in Dougland. But, listen: silence.
The same moneyed elites who caused America's disastrous economic crash are now doing great. Since the recession ended in June 2009, CEO pay is back in the stratosphere, corporate profits have jumped up by nearly half, corporations are sitting on a record $2 trillion in cash, and that perky Dow Jones Average has soared by a delirious 90%, with nearly all of that gain being pocketed by the wealthiest 10% of Americans who own more than 80% of all stocks and bonds. The sounds you hear up there are cheers, delighted giggling, and the pop of Champagne corks.
Yet more that half of Americans say the recession is still raging in their ZIP codes, and nearly a third of them describe it as a full-blown depression. What's bugging these party poopers? Reality.
In this "recovery," those at the top of corporate America are practicing tinkle-down economics. They're refusing to hire the Dougs and Doreens while eliminating hundreds of thousands of other jobs, knocking down wages and benefits, and unleashing their lobbyists on Washington and state capitals to shred unemployment benefits, health care, education, job training, workers' rights, and other basics that are necessary to sustain America's middle class.
If a bluebird did show up in Doug and Doreen's yard these days, it wouldn't be chirping – it'd be dinner.