The Great Depression Online

Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Hell To Pay

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
November 24, 2009

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** A Grade A Jackass
*** Doing God’s Work
*** Hell To Pay
*** And More

“Here is the devil-and-all to pay.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

A Grade A Jackass

Small banks are collapsing every week.  Last Friday, for example, Commerce Bank of Southwest Florida disappeared from the face of the earth, bringing the tally of U.S. bank failures this year to 124.

You have to go back 17-years, to 1992 when 181 bit the dust, to find a year when more banks failed.

Yet, for the big banks, times have never been better; profits and year-end bonuses are off the charts…along with public indignation.  Last week, Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, attempted to offer an apology for his banks success and culpability for the financial crisis.

~~~~~~Get The Truth~~~~~~

What’s coming next?  When will it happen?  What should you do to prepare for it?

You can switch on the news and hope for the real story.  You can read the papers and pray they know what’s actually going on.  Or this time, you can settle in, read his letter, and finally…

Get The Truth


“Certainly, our industry is responsible for things,” said Blankfein.  “We’re a leader in our industry, and we participated in things that were clearly wrong and we have reasons to regret and apologize for.”

What exactly is Blankfein apologizing for?  Do you know what he’s apologizing for?  We don’t know what he’s apologizing for…his apology certainly doesn’t offer many details.  The only thing we can gather from this is that Blankfein’s a Grade A Jackass.

Doing God’s Work

Goldman Sachs, if you don’t remember, posted $3 billion in third quarter earnings and plans to hand out over $16 billion in year end bonuses.  Good for them, if only it weren’t for the fact that, this time last year, without the government’s benevolence – courtesy of the taxpayer – Goldman Sachs would no longer exist.

Several weeks back Goldman Sachs’ top man, Lloyd Blankfein, explained to The Times of London that his bank was doing “God’s work.”

We’re not sure how Blankfein came to this conclusion.  Perhaps God, like when sending Abram into the Promised Land, whispered it in his ear.

But is Blankfein’s god the God of Abraham or the god of Alexander?  Moreover, is it the will of Yahweh or the will of Zeus moving Goldman Sachs towards its end? 

We don’t pretend to have these answers.  Quite frankly, we hardly have the questions.  Still, we pause to consider them for entertainment and instruction.

Hell To Pay

Ralph Waldo Emerson reasoned in the essay Nature that there’s a divine moral and natural order to the world.  It is likely Emerson was just acknowledging there are some simple facts of how the world works…and that there are consequences for getting in their way.

For example, in the natural order of things, Pi is an irrational number.  It’s just how the world works; you can’t do anything about it.  Even if you round it off after two decimal places, it doesn’t change the fundamental truth that the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction. 

So, too, there are some fundamental truths in the moral order of things: you can’t get something for nothing, artificially suppressing the cost of money distorts an economy, and, of course, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Along these lines, Goldman Sachs is doing nature’s work: separating fools from their money. 

Consequently, Blankfein may be right.  For according to Emerson, the moral and natural order of the world is divine.  Thus, by separating fools from their money, Goldman Sachs is, in fact, doing ‘God’s work.’

Does this give Blankfein and his cohorts a moral pass?

We wouldn’t bet on it…particularly, when bilking billions of dollars from the public purse is most certainly a bet with the devil.  Here’s why… 

In Edgar Allan Poe’s satirical attack on Transcendentalism, titled, Never Bet the Devil Your Head, protagonist Toby Dammit lost the bet, and his head, and his body was sold for dog meat.

For Blankfein, we presume, there will be Hell to pay.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

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