What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us
Marketplace Scratch Pad

Frankly, my dear…

Paddy Hirsch Aug 6, 2009

Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn lets it all hang out in a New York Times story today.

“Our risk appetite continues to grow year on year, quarter on quarter, as our balance sheet and liquidity continue to grow,” Mr. Cohn said.

Felix Salmon says this kind of robust statement shows Cohn is tone-deaf, and that he went off message. But, as the story’s author Jenny Anderson points out, he’s not the only one.

Rarely has the view from inside a company been so at odds with the view outside it.

In other words, Cohn is just saying what most Goldman bankers think.

Goldman executives dispute suggestions that high-stakes market gambles are behind its big profits — $3.4 billion in the second quarter. And they are dumbfounded when people like Ms. [Elizabeth] Warren suggest companies like Goldman, which paid back its bailout money last month, now operate with an implicit taxpayer guarantee.

There is, of course, another explanation, that Goldman bankers don’t give a damn what you, or Elizabeth Warren, or anyone else says or thinks about them, or the way they run their business. As Anderson quotes Cohn:

“We just have to do what our clients want us to do.”

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.