The Most Pontifical Metaphors in Matt Taibbi’s Latest Goldman Screed


In his latest takedown for Rolling Stone, "The People vs. Goldman Sachs," Matt Taibbi revisits his hate-hate relationship with Wall Street's vampire squid. Opening with the words, "They weren't murderers or anything," Taibbi spends the next 6,001 words laying out a case for why we should be seeing Lloyd Blankfein in court — if not for shafting Goldman's investors during the financial crisis, then for lying to Congress. Comparing the result of Senator Carl Levin's two-year investigation into the mortgage crisis to a financial version of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Taibbi circles through the now-familiar story of how Goldman found a "white elephant, flying pig and unicorn all at once" to buy their toxic assets up through the findings from Levin's report to conclude that "Goldman Sachs should stand trial." Thankfully, he's been tweaking his insult-o-matic metaphor machine with some impressive results.

In which he calls Goldman fat:

We now know, unequivocally, that this is bullshit. Goldman isn't a pudgy housewife who broke her diet with a few Nilla Wafers between meals — it's an advanced-stage, 1,100-pound medical emergency who hasn't left his apartment in six years, and is found by paramedics buried up to his eyes in cupcake wrappers and pizza boxes.

In which he compares Goldman to a deadly car dealership:

Goldman was like a car dealership that realized it had a whole lot full of cars with faulty brakes. Instead of announcing a recall, it surged ahead with a two-fold plan to make a fortune: first, by dumping the dangerous products on other people, and second, by taking out life insurance against the fools who bought the deadly cars.

In which he drops the car dealership thing and just straight-up calls them killers:

To recap: Goldman, to get $1.2 billion in crap off its books, dumps a huge lot of deadly mortgages on its clients, lies about where that crap came from and claims it believes in the product even as it's betting $2 billion against it. When its victims try to run out of the burning house, Goldman stands in the doorway, blasts them all with gasoline before they can escape, and then has the balls to send a bill overcharging its victims for the pleasure of getting fried.

In which he calls CDOs the kids picked last in gym class:

A CDO-squared doubles down on that lunacy, taking the waste products of the original process and converting them into AAA investments. This is kind of like taking all the kids who were picked last to play volleyball in every gym class of every public school in the state, throwing them in a new gym, and pretending that the first 10 kids picked are varsity-level players. Then you take all the unpicked kids left over from that process, throw them in a gym with similar kids from all 50 states, and call the first 10 kids picked All-Americans.

In which he wonders if Lloyd has brain damage:

When it came time for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein to testify, the banker hedged and stammered like a brain-addled boxer who couldn't quite follow the questions. When Levin asked how Blankfein felt about the fact that Goldman collected $13 billion from U.S. taxpayers through the AIG bailout, the CEO deflected over and over, insisting that Goldman would somehow have made that money anyway through its private insurance policies on AIG. When Levin pressed Blankfein, pointing out that he hadn't answered the question, Blankfein simply peered at Levin like he didn't understand.

Good luck topping this next time, Taibbi.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs [Rolling Stone]