The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
It's pretty frightful looking. It has spikes where most other cephalopods have suckers. It has intense blue eyes with powerful light reflectors that appear to glow in the dark. It doesn't necessarily drink blood. Like most cephalopods, it eats all of its prey. Fortunately, it is very small and lives in very deep waters. It is mostly a menace to sardines and herring.
Jefferson County’s debacle is a parable for billions of dollars lost by state and local governments from Florida to California in transactions done behind closed doors. Selling debt without requiring competition made public officials vulnerable to bankers’ sales pitches, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for borrowing gone awry.
Swaps Blew Up
Under Langford’s stewardship, the county bet on interest- rate swaps, agreements that a representative of New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. told commissioners could reduce their interest costs. Instead, the swaps -- covering more than $5 billion in all -- blew up during the credit crisis after ratings for the county’s bond insurers fell.
Toujoursdan points out that while economists and executives (and the media) are breaking out the champagne, homeless shelters are groaning under the strain of a huge new population created by the continuing real estate credit crisis.