Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Mr. B’s Dimon And Clooney Angst

Poor, poor Jaimie Dimon. My heart goes out to the man, Selig.

But Mr. B, he’s a competitor. He heads another Wall Street bank, JPMorgan Chase.

I know Selig. I know. But his company lost $2 billion on some trading deals. Lost money, Selig! It was terribly embarrassing for the poor man.

But don’t Wall Street banks often lose money on their trading?

Almost never, Selig. Goldman made money 25 days last month and only lost money one day — and that was a bad month. Sometimes we go whole quarters without a single losing day. The really strange thing at Jamie’s bank is not just that it actually lost money on trades, but that the losses involved simple stuff, credit default swaps.

Credit default swaps, sir?

You know, Selig, Synthetic derivatives.

Synthetic derivatives?

For heavens sakes, Selig. They’re just a kind of insurance. Like the insurance that little people like yourself buy to insure their cars, their houses, their lives, except this $10 trillion insurance market is free from socialist government regulation. That’s what gives banks the ability to innovate there so we rarely lose money on our trading.

Didn’t such innovation nearly destroy the world economy a few years back, Mr. B?

Yes, Selig. Mistakes were made. We mustn’t focus on the past, however. Got to keep innovating. Like one of Goldman’s own innovations — pair trading.

Pair trading, sir? You mean like putting clients in a deal, then betting the other side?

That was yesterday’s pair trading, Selig. A better pair trading strategy these days involves buying the Australian dollar and shorting the S&P 500 Index. Or vice-versa. Ever do that one at home?

I’ll ask my wife, sir. She handles the family money. But there’s something I don’t understand, Mr. B. Wall Street firms were bailed out by taxpayers a few years ago. Was this bailout so the banks could continue to make most of their money innovating with things like synthetic derivatives? With buying or shorting currencies and indexes?

Can you think of a better use for taxpayer money, Selig? I certainly can’t. But that’s not what I wanted to discuss with you this morning. I have a question. Am I as handsome as George Clooney?

Beg pardon, sir?

George Clooney. The actor. Speak up, man. And be honest. Do I or don’t I look as handsome as George Clooney?

Well, Mr. B., if the lighting were a certain way, or the bulb blew, or the person doing the viewing had cataracts, or was standing far enough away, or..

I think I’m catching your drift, Selig. Darn.

What’s the problem, Mr. B? Why do you care whether or not you’re as handsome as George Clooney? He only entertains people. Wall Street is making the world a better place with synthetic derivatives, and with currency and index plays.

The reason, Selig, is that Wall Street has decided to back Romney this time around, while Hollywood is backing Obama. And I thought if George Clooney and I were both viewed as equally handsome and sexy, Goldman Sachs being the face of Wall Street to much of the public, it might help Mitt at the polls.

Interesting notion, Mr B. Very innovative. Why is Wall Street backing Romney, though? Didn’t Obama dump the economic advisors he ran with in 2008 after he got elected, the ones who wanted to tame Wall Street, and replace them with Timmy Geithner, who used to call here all the time for advice? Timmy who kept The Street from getting really regulated after the 2008 crash. Timmy who beat back limiting Street compensation. Timmy who put the kibosh on a transaction tax that would have made The Street’s computer-generated mega-trading less profitable.

Yes, Selig. Obama, guided by Timmy, has been more than kind. But Mitt will be even kinder. He’s also the sort of fellow you could meet at a beach club in The Hamptons and not have to listen to whining about food stamp and Medicaid shortfalls.

Romney does look really comfortable in a blazer and tan slacks, sir. Bet he’d also be a good tipper.

He’d tip like a sailor, Selig. And people mock trickle down. Will it never end?

It will if Romney and a Republican congress get elected in November, sir. Guaranteed. Ready for another Stall #8 visit?

Yes. Just take out the GQs first, Selig. They might have some pictures of you-know-who inside.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien


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