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Today, we learned how Goldman Sachs, hours away from official bankruptcy just thirteen months ago, and still reaping the benefits of trillions in taxpayer-supported government backstops and loan programs (as I write this), is providing bonuses to its employees in 2009--the worst year in the history of the U.S. economy in generations--to the tune of $23,000,000,000.

The story's right here: "Goldman Sachs 2009 bonuses to double 2008's; $23 billion could send 460,000 to Harvard, buy insurance for 1.7 million families." (h/t to deepsouthdoug for bringing this to our attention!)

Perhaps what I find most interesting in the story, linked above, is as it relates to the comparisons with the cost of a Harvard education. At a more basic level, I would ask this question: "How much food, shelter and health care does $23 billion buy?"

Then again, this entire diary makes the following, linked diary quite ironic, too: "Sen. Baucus, Take Note: Rep. Frank Bars Goldman Lobbyist."

So, how is it that a company that was, officially and virtually overnight, declared a bank holding company over the past year by our government, allowed to operate in a manner which also allows it to ignore basic U.S. banking laws and hold risky assets that are light years (exponentially, actually) beyond the levels of risk allowed by our government as it relates to to basic law as it's enforced with regard to virtually every other bank in this country?

The answer, IMHO, may be readily found in the makeup of another taxpayer-funded firm--which we now know is comprised of veterans of numerous other recently-taxpayer-funded firms--that has (also) recently hired its own Wall Street dream team. For the moment, we'll just refer to them as "Company X."

"Company X" is run by one of Wall Street's leading executives. For many years, Company X's newest CEO was the head of a consortium of America's largest banks.  

"Advisor number 1" to the CEO of Company X earned $887,727 from Goldman Sachs last year,  although primarily providing assistance to that firm with regard to its work with non-profit companies, and another $158,000 from speeches he made, primarily, to other financial firms, including "Ponzi scheme mastermind" R. Allen Stanford. This advisor also notified his employer that he had received at least another $730,000 in compensation from firms that do business with Company X.

"Advisor number 2" reported more than $3 million in income from the Mariner Group, a well-known NY hedge fund. This advisor notified his new employer that he anticipated receiving well in excess of $5 million in additional income (and possibly in excess of $10 million) from his former employer after he took his new job at Company X.

"Advisor number 3" was chief operating office of one of this country's largest financial firms, Hartford Financial Services.

"Advisor number 4" was the chief economist at Citigroup where he earned $2.4 million in 2008 and in the first few months of 2009.

"Advisor number 5," is Company X's new CEO's chief-of-staff, but before that he was a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.

"Advisor number 6" was employed by the Blackstone Group; they're now a vendor of Company X. Advisor number 6 earned $5.8 million in 2008 and early 2009 from his former employer.

You may read all about "Company X" in today's news, such as the story right HERE.

Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds
By Robert Schmidt

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.

The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

As part of Geithner's kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven't faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury's policies...

This story speaks for itself, but I am looking forward to the observations those reading it might have in the ensuing comments, below.

Originally posted to on Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 12:48 PM PDT.

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