by Charles A. Monagan
Jul 19, 2011
04:26 PM
On Connecticut

World Gone Crazy


What is the state of our dysfunction as a society these days? On the one hand there's this story today about poor old Goldman Sachs trying to keep its chin up following a mere billion-dollar profit last quarter (twice as much as it made last year). On the other hand, there's this one about how, since the state-employee unions turned in against themselves, Connecticut's budget will now be balanced in some measure upon the backs of the poor and disabled (although a new agreement may be in the works soon).

Most of us fall somewhere between these two worlds. We don't work at Goldman, or care much about it, nor will our lives be terribly disrupted by the state's budget cuts. But we can still marvel at the sheer perversity of it all.

The story ("Goldman's Profit Engine Stalls") on the firm's disappointing quarter bothers me a lot. The company cleared over a billion dollars in profit during the quarter ending June 30, and yet the tone of the article is one of near panic. Shame on the reporter and editor for not having any real-world perspective. Leading the anxiety patrol, as usual, are a brace of Wall Street analysts - a group that, as a whole, is anathema to a measured, common-sense society. Indeed, with their frowns and wagging fingers they've done little more than fuel greed, corrupt America's corporate decision-making process and unrealistically raise the expectations of investors, both large and small.

"What happened?" asked one of them, Chris Whalen, an analyst at Institutional Risk Metrics in Los Angeles, upon hearing the Goldman news and wondering how to put a negative spin on what in a rational world would be a spectacular success story. "It seems like Goldman and Morgan Stanley cannot compete with the big commercial banks."

Goldman made a billion dollars profit in the quarter, Chris. Have you lost your mind? Don't you realize that the stiffs atop Goldman's corporate ladder take your silly comments seriously? Now they'll have their workforce doing 90 hours a week instead of just 80. And as they run faster and faster, others will have to run faster to keep up with them - and the poor and even the middle class will be left even further behind.

Which is what is happening right here in Connecticut. It is perhaps a commentary on the state of the media today that we seem to hear a lot more complaining from the haves, and their politician hand puppets, than we do from the have-nots. Everyone seems more concerned about how we can make the rich even more comfortable rather than how we can best help the disadvantaged to any comfort at all. There will always be the rich and poor, of course, but the disparity right now seems out of control and worsening. And the media helping paint Goldman Sachs as an underachiever doesn't help the balance at all.

World Gone Crazy

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