Matt Taibbi on Sen. Levin's investigation into the financial meltdown.
Go read, and seethe. Then start writing letters to members of Congress, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, and anyone else that occurs to you.
But Goldman, as the Levin report makes clear, remains an ascendant company precisely because it used its canny perception of an upcoming disaster (one which it helped create, incidentally) as an opportunity to enrich itself, not only at the expense of clients but ultimately, through the bailouts and the collateral damage of the wrecked economy, at the expense of society. The bank seemed to count on the unwillingness or inability of federal regulators to stop them — and when called to Washington last year to explain their behavior, Goldman executives brazenly misled Congress, apparently confident that their perjury would carry no serious consequences. Thus, while much of the Levin report describes past history, the Goldman section describes an ongoing? crime — a powerful, well-connected firm, with the ear of the president and the Treasury, that appears to have conquered the entire regulatory structure and stands now on the precipice of officially getting away with one of the biggest financial crimes in history.
How did Goldman sell off its "cats and dogs"? Easy: It assembled new batches of risky mortgage bonds and dumped them on their clients, who took Goldman's word that they were buying a product the bank believed in. The names of the deals Goldman used to "clean" its books — chief among them Hudson and Timberwolf — are now notorious on Wall Street. Each of the deals appears to represent a different and innovative brand of shamelessness and deceit.
How much? Goldman's net position went from owning $6B in positions in mortgages, to holding $10B in positions against mortgages - a $16B shift, accomplished in two months in late 2006 and early 2007.
Regarding the "Hudson" deal described in the article, Matt waxes a tad hyperbole-ish:
To recap: Goldman, to get $1.2 billion in crap off its books, dumps a huge lot of deadly mortgages on its clients, lies about where that crap came from and claims it believes in the product even as it's betting $2 billion against it. When its victims try to run out of the burning house, Goldman stands in the doorway, blasts them all with gasoline before they can escape, and then has the balls to send a bill overcharging its victims for the pleasure of getting fried.
Go read. And read Taibbi building the case that the guys who did this stuff lied to Congress about it. Fraud is hard to prove, thanks to the SCOTUS; perjury is quite a bit easier.
Go read. And then write.