Looks like Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece is upsetting the delicate souls over at Government Sachs:
One official at the firm described the piece to The Post as “vaguely entertaining,” but purely fictional.
The bank’s spokesman, Lucas Van Praag, was more pointed: “[Taibbi’s] story is an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Notable ones missing are Goldman Sachs as the third shooter [in John F. Kennedy’s assassination] and faking the first lunar landing.”
“We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for good,” Van Praag added.
The issue has devolved into a bitter war of words between Goldman and Taibbi, who yesterday on his blog took another couple of shots at the venerable bank.
Really, it was just all a coincidence. They didn’t really get all that money funneled from the taxpayer through AIG. You all just imagined Hank Paulson at Treasury.
Keep pushing, Taibbi:
I asked if Goldman would have turned a profit in Q1 2009 if it hadn’t orphaned the month of December 2008. Then I asked if Goldman had made changes to its underwriting standards during the internet boom years; if Goldman’s position was still that the steep rise in oil prices last year was due to normal changes in supply and demand; and if it could explain its 1991 request to the CFTC to have its subsidiary J. Aron classified as a physical hedger on the commodities market. Citing various sources, I also noted that some people had complained that its move to short the mortgage market in 2006 even as it was selling those same types of instruments proved that the bank knew the weakness of its mortgage products, and asked if the bank had an answer for that. And I asked if the bank supported cap-and-trade legislation, and if it was fair to say (as we planned to in the piece) that the bank would capitalize financially if such legislation was passed.
I intentionally put a lot of yes/no questions on that list. If the underlying thinking behind any of those questions was faulty, it would have been easy enough for them to say so and to educate us as to the truth. Instead, here is the response that we got:
“Your questions are couched in such a way that presupposes the conclusions and suggests the people you spoke with have an agenda or do not fully understand the issues.”
You have to have swallowed half a lifetime of carefully-worded p.r. statements to see the message written between the lines here. That this is a non-denial denial is obvious, but what’s more notable here is that they didn’t stop with just a flat “no comment,” which they easily could have done. No, they had to go a little further than that and — and this is pure Goldman, just outstanding stuff — make it clear that both I and my sources are simply not as smart as they are and don’t understand what we’re talking about. So the rough translation here is, “No comment, but if you were as smart as us, you wouldn’t be asking these questions.”
Every time I think of the sociopaths at Goldman, I am reminded of the business card scene from American Psycho.