Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Earning Parity

Goldman Sachs posted a 93-percent increase in net income, outperforming analysts' expectations with a $9.4-billion in profit on revenue of $37.6 billion for its fiscal year.
93% increase in net income??
That's a lot of starch.

Where are the calls for congressional investigations?
Where are the demands for windfall profit taxes for brokerages?

Amazing, isn’t it—that both the oil business and the finance industry produce the lubricants of commerce—oil and money.
Both are vital for national defense.
Yet, why are companies like Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Phillips targeted for congressional scrutiny of their books when they have positive earnings, while Goldman Sachs and its bretheren on Wall Street are impervious to the same criticism?

Oil companies in the S&P 500 last year had earnings increases of only 48%...working in some pretty skanky parts of the world, I might add.

Notice there are no Goldman Sachs branch offices in Nigeria…and when was the last time you heard about a brokerage executive being kidnapped?

Exxon’s people are producing a vital product while being shot at.

So why no retributions for profits of 93% in the financial sector?

I’ll tell you why—it’s because the oil companies are cheap targets for attention grabbers and headline framers. It's easy to sell papers and pump audiences when you're beating up on Big Oil:
Oooh—Big Oil, always out to gouge the little guy.
They’re charging too much at the pump, and it must be a conspiracy!

What about Big Money?

And there’s the good ol’ boy connection between Wall Street and Washington that cannot go ignored: Do you believe it’s an accident that Treasury Sec’y Hank Paulson made the leap from Goldman’s executive floor to Pennsylvania Ave. on his good looks alone?

The Treasury Dept. functions to formulate and recommend economic, financial, tax, and fiscal policies, and serves as the financial agent for the U.S. Government.
Paulson is imminently qualified for the role.
He probably took a cut in pay to take the job.
The continuing connection from Washington to Wall Street cannot be ignored.

Meanwhile, the financial brokers on Wall Street do everything they can to relieve you of your money with fees and schemes and methods for extracting their pound of flesh in every transaction that occurs…so much so that they amass obscene (93%) profits and heap bonuses upon themselves that would make the rest of us blush.
Or should.

But there are no investigations.
A few wrist slaps here and there…and when one of their own steps way out of line at the pay window—like Dick Grasso—a few face-saving measures are taken.

I don’t think we’re going to see Dick Grasso standing in a soup line anytime soon, however. Nor will Lee Raymond be worrying about holes in his clothes this winter, either.

But there is a double standard about success in this country—and apparently there are acceptable levels of performance for one industry that are worthy of reproach when achieved by others.

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