The Securities and Exchange Commission’s charges against Goldman Sachs have been met with the usual defiance by big investment companies. But this one may be different. If, as the government says, Goldman was selling investors a product designed to provide failure to investors, and winnings to bigger investors, who were betting on a housing bust, this could be the biggest financial scandal since, well, Enron. This could make the AIG mess look very pale by comparison. “If” is the big word here, but in reality, the usually timid SEC rarely files any fraud charges without extreme care and diligence.
Certainly, there are many fine people who work at Goldman Sachs, but if the SEC charges hold up, the firm may go into a tailspin.
There’s another important factor to consider in this investigation. The SEC itself is under fire for failing to regulate the robber barons who helped incite the recession. The public, leaning towards populism, is fed up and wants some heads to roll. The Obama and Bush administration officials who are very close to the Goldman Sachs hierarchy, or who were close, should quit now before the heat is really turned up.
Goldman Sachs? It should check things out. If there was a problem, it should fess up and move on.
No one likes government regulation, but in the current climate, votes will be lost faster than fortunes. And the accusations against Goldman Sachs could open up a wider investigation into the government’s role in propping it up during the height of the recession collapse.
How Goldman reacts in the next few days will decide whether it survives the alleged scandal, or finds investors trying to jump off a leaking boat.