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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.”

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