Fire the lot of ‘em!

By Felix Salmon
November 19, 2009
John Hudson has an interesting round-up of responses to the signs of humanity from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday: I'm definitely the outlier in a sea of commentators saying that they're tiny, meaningless, and an attempt to deflect attention from the bigger issues surrounding the bank.

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John Hudson has an interesting round-up of responses to the signs of humanity from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday: I’m definitely the outlier in a sea of commentators saying that they’re tiny, meaningless, and an attempt to deflect attention from the bigger issues surrounding the bank.

Leave it to Charlie Gasparino, then, to veer wildly in the opposite direction:

Goldman is putting aside a whopping $500 million — the largest such donation in company history — to help small businesses.

I wondered if it ever dawned on Blankfein or his partner in this charity binge Warren Buffett — also a Goldman shareholder — that this money may be theirs to do as they please. Such a major donation like this one, I am told by one prominent Wall Street CEO, should have been approved by all shareholders…

The last thing shareholders need is such overt do-gooderism… what say did the rank and file shareholder have in such a major cash layout? None, which should spark plenty of debate among shareholder rights advocates…

I think it’s about time for Lloyd Blankfein to step down and resign as CEO of Goldman, and really start doing God’s work by sparing the rest of us the stupidity of listening to his excuses.

Let’s put this in perspective, here. $500 million is less than a buck a share; Goldman, which is trading at $177, moves more than that on an average day just thanks to market noise. And a large part of the $500 million is coming from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, which already has the money: it isn’t fresh shareholder funds. Blankfein runs a bank making $3 billion a quarter, and Gasparino thinks he should resign over a commitment to spend $500 billion over five years? Very odd.

But clearly calls for resignation are in the air these days, what with Rep. Peter DeFazio calling for both Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to be fired. Maybe it’s the Palin book which is sending everybody scurrying to these corner positions. Whatever it is, it isn’t helpful.

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