Oops, They Did it Again!
If we’re not going to shut down rogue investment banks like Goldman Sachs, or break them up into smaller, less economy-threatening pieces, how about at least requiring that they give their clients (hard to believe they still have any) the equivalent of a financial “Miranda warning.”
Something like this perhaps:
You have the right not to borrow or otherwise do business with us. However, if you do, everything we learn about your financial condition can and will be used against you, by us or our affiliates, to maximize our profit. Oh . . . and the financial products we sell you . . . may be dangerous to your financial health (and everyone else’s!)
In the unfolding saga of Greece’s sovereign debt mess, consider — once again — who seems to be at the dirty little epicenter (and apparently, cashing in again):
Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, and perhaps others, sold financial instruments to Greece that were designed to artificially depress its borrowing and budget deficits.
Goldman and Morgan declined to comment. Greece says what it did was legal at the time.
Now Greece is under attack in the markets, and the major countries in the euro zone are trying to force it to clean up its act and to keep it from defaulting. There is little agreement on how to do that. Traders who bet against Greece ” by shorting Greek bonds while buying German ones, for example ” have made a lot of money as the market realized just how much trouble Greece was in.
The European Union is now asking Greece for details of what it did. But it should go further. It should seek to find out if the banks that helped Greece lie ” and thus knew its numbers were false ” made money betting against it. If so, do those banks deserve to keep those profits?
–Floyd Norris, “Helping Governments Deceive“; The New York Times (2/16/2010)
One more time, louder and all together: