Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 16, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide

A Victory Lap for Obamacare

Paul Robeson: A Life

Truthdig Bazaar more items


Live Chat: Robert Scheer on the Goldman Hearings

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Apr 29, 2010
Will the Goldman Sachs hearings really accomplish anything? Are the Democrats just showboating? What are the prospects for real financial reform? Robert Scheer answers these reader questions and more. The following is a full transcript of a live chat held Thursday, April 29th at 11:30 AM PT. 11:34 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:34:02 GMT
 Welcome readers, feel free to chat amongst yourselves while we wait for Robert Scheer.

11:34 Comment From Tony B
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:34:59 GMT
Comment: Hi room.

11:35 Comment From Guinevere
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:35:01 GMT
Comment: Hi everyone.

11:38 Comment From Lynne
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:38:08 GMT
Comment: Hi

11:39 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:39:38 GMT
 Robert Scheer just walked in, sorry for the delay -- let's get started!

11:40 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:40:32 GMT
 Let's start with a reader question:
Lawrence - San Francisco, CA
Isn't the focus on Goldman Sachs going to look like they are just a bad apple amongst the Wall Street gang instead of being poster boys for the way all those businesses work? I didn't watch the whole thing. Did any senator ask of any of the Goldman boys if what they did was standard Wall Street practices? It was maddening to watch.

11:41 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:41:03 GMT
 Good point.

11:41 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:41:43 GMT
 The fact is that, as a couple of senators pointed out, and Goldman was happy to agree, that chicanery is the norm. And there wasn't anything Goldman did that was qualitatively different than what the other Wall Street hustlers have been doing, except they were more brazen and therefore more profitable.

11:41 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:41:58 GMT
 And the SEC has said that it is going after all of the other firms for very similar practices.

11:42 Comment From Guinevere
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:42:15 GMT
Comment: Republicans and others are pointing to the timing of the Goldman Sachs hearings as suspicious -- in light of Obama's impending push for financial reform. What do you say to that, Robert?

11:42 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:42:37 GMT
 I say nonsense.

11:43 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:43:21 GMT
 The SEC in fact was very slow to take up this issue, did nothing under George W. Bush; finally has a few principal Democrats on board, and has moved ahead to do their job.

11:43 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:43:25 GMT
 Another question from a reader:
ArchivesDave – Washington
Your take please on Glenn Beck's latest expose of the Chicago Climate Exchange and G.S. backing along with several other Lightning Rods.

11:43 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:43:33 GMT
 Too slowly, I'd say.

11:44 Comment From Stephen
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:44:22 GMT
Comment: My question is about the other side of the trades that make Goldman, and the other trading firms, so much money. In an expanding economy, you could say that since Microsoft went from $20/share to $30/share, Goldman made the money from growth. But in a stable or shrinking economy, there has to be a counterparty who lost the same amount of money. With $10B profit, who is the counterparty? Who lost $10B?

11:44 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:44:23 GMT
 (To ArchivesDave) I'm not familiar with the details.

11:46 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:46:24 GMT
 Well, the counterparties are the people; a number of them are suing Goldman Sachs, alleging that they sold fraudulent products, including pension funds that represent the future of many ordinary people, and what is significant to understand in the SEC charge, amplified in the Senate investigation by other instances, is that these packages, these synthetic CDOs, were designed to fail. That's the significance of the Paulson connection that was not revealed. They weren't taking a good-faith bet on the market, they were being sold a bill of goods.

11:46 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:46:35 GMT
 Ralph Kramden - Santa Rosa
Sort of two questions in one: If Tony B. represents the right in "LR&C," who would be a similar representative on the left, given his job at the Washington Times and his work with Gingrich? Furthermore, how can you take someone who works for the Washington Times seriously?

11:48 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:48:20 GMT
 Sometimes it is difficult for me to take anyone on the hard right seriously, because they come on as false populists, claiming to be concerned about the well-being of the average taxpayer, while as we saw in both the Reagan and Bush administrations quite willing to spend the taxpayers' money with wild abandon on unnecessary defense expenditures, and on tax breaks for hedge funds, and other gifts to people who don't need it. Welfare for the rich has been their MO at the very same time that they claim they are committed to cutting taxes.

11:48 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:48:36 GMT
 However, in that crowd, I find that Tony at least has a sense of humor, and is bright enough.

11:48 Comment From Lynne
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:48:39 GMT
Comment: I think the hearings are important and it is clear that everything GS did was unethical but was it actually illegal? Is there really any chance anyone can be effectively prosecuted?

11:49 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:49:10 GMT
 That's the $64 billion question.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Werner Simon, May 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to think commenting like this served a positive purpose! At 77 and increasigly irascible, I note all political sites offer this venting into thin air democratic expression technique. It could increase member donations and I’m sure every cent is more than welcome. Other than that its an endless avalanche of preaching to the choir verbosity!!!!

Report this

By ron_woodward, May 1, 2010 at 12:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American does not become upset until he loses his job to outsourcing, his home to a sub-prime mortgage scheme or his daughter to a sex trafficking ring. Goldman Sachs works 24/7 to fleece the American of his net worth. It is an uneven fight. Goldman buys immunity from prosecution by devoting a tiny fraction of its ill-gotten gain to campaign contributions.
Since Wall Street continues to kill the country, the proper name for their activities is subversion. In time of war this escalates to treason invoking the death penalty.
It’s the least we can do.

Report this

By orange, April 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everything hearing the Democrats have held for the last decade has been nothing but show-boating.

You can believe its real when you see these guys from GS wearing orange-jump suits.

You can believe its real when you see their mansions and their yachts being seized. When you see the FBI putting as much effort into tracing and seizing their offshore accounts as they do into tracking ‘terrorist’ money.

You can believe its real when the government of the people of the United States of America goes after this money to refund its citizens what was stolen from them.

When you see them sitting there in their thousand dollar suits and then getting back on their private jets to fly back home to their mansions, then the only thing you need to know is that they paid Obama and the Democrats a lot of money to stay out of jail.

My guess is that the current threats are just a combination of political theater and a money-contribution shakedown to remind these guys who they have to pay off to stay out of jail.

If you want real action, stop voting for the candidates with millions of wall street dollars in their account (aka ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’)

Report this

By Steve Wimer, April 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hate to be cynical, but I have little faith that the system will be cleaned up.  Lobbyists have a way of inserting loopholes, that no one notices, until after the fact.  Do you think anything really meaningful will come of this?  By the way, I love your work.

Report this

By jack, April 30, 2010 at 2:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course they can be prosecuted, if there’s the political will - frankly, it appears
that it’s all smoke and mirrors - an exercise to placate working-class rage -
Obama’s boys gotta do this theatre - but that’s all it is - after all, Wall St. bought
and paid for him - he’s not going to bite the claw that feeds him - moreover, this
is one more distraction from the endless Global War Of Terror - and who profits
from that? Right! Wall St., City of London - The Global Finance Oligarchy.
Nothing’s changed.

Report this

sign up to get updates

Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook