Last Friday, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called six other executives into his office for a huddle. The door was closed, but here is a dramatic reenactment of what happened.
Blankfein: "I've called you here today, gentlemen, to talk about what we can do to make the world a better place this Christmas."
Jon Winkelried, president and co-chief operating officer: "What do you give a fuck, Lloyd, you're Jewish."
Blankfein: "Yes, but I mean, this is sure to be a rotten Christmas for many people this year, such as the 3,300 employees we have let go."
Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag: [interjecting] "What Lloyd is saying is that, notwithstanding the fact that the firm has distinguished itself in many aspects of this crisis, we can't ignore the ongoing economic distress, nor can we ignore public scrutiny. And so we need to do something to—"
Gary Cohn, president and co-chief operating officer: "To make us look less like assholes?"
Van Praag: "Yes. We're thinking that what we should do is have the seven of you forgo bonuses this year. Because you all already have many millions of dollars: You, Jon, and you, Gary Cohn, each earned $67.5 million in cash and stock in 2007, and you, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, took home $57.5 million which I know you were disappointed about, but we all know you more than made up for it with dinners at Cru. So, anyway, it won't actually be a hit for you, financially, but to all of the quote-unquote normal people, it will look like you are 'giving up' a ton of money."
Winkelried: [mulling it over] "Do I get to keep my yacht?"
Lloyd: "Duh, numbnuts. That's why you registered it in the Cayman Islands."
Winkelried: [sulkily] Fine.
Van Praag: "Okay then! This will be great. I'll call the papers. We'll make a big show of it! Titans of industry, heads bowed, tails between their legs..."
Gary Cohn: "Dude. I am not tucking."