MIT professor Simon Johnson raises some provocative scenarios in regards to Goldman’s participation in Greece’s scheme to obfuscate its debt levels.
If the Federal Reserve were an effective supervisor, it would have the political will sufficient to determine that Goldman Sachs has not been acting in accordance with its banking license. But any meaningful action from this direction seems unlikely.
Instead, Goldman will probably be blacklisted from working with eurozone governments for the foreseeable future; as was the case with Salomon Brothers 20 years ago, Goldman may be on its way to be banned from some government securities markets altogether. If it is to be allowed back into this arena, it will have to address the inherent conflicts of interest between advising a government on how to put (deceptive levels of) lipstick on a pig and cajoling investors into buying livestock at inflated prices.
And the US government, at the highest levels, has to ask a fundamental question: For how long does it wish to be intimately associated with Goldman Sachs and this kind of destabilizing action? What is the priority here – a sustainable recovery and a viable financial system, or one particular set of investment bankers?