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Oh The Hypocracy: Goldman Sachs Seeks Cornell University (not a friend to small business) to assist in their PR Campaign

July 28, 2010

Goldman Sachs solicits the assistance of some of the most unfriendly and hostile to small business advisors to assist in their Small Business Initiative.

If Goldman Sachs was really serious about assisting small businesses, they would ask small business owners not sycophant-university administrators to assist them.

Cornell University President David Skorton will join Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling and Dean Thomas S. Robertson of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, on the advisory council for the initiative 10,000 Small Businesses. The program, Goldman Sachs’s $500 million initiative, hopes to promote growth among small businesses nationwide through “greater access to business eduction, mentors and networks and financial capital,” according to a Goldman Sachs executive summary of the new program.

Translation: The Program Goldman Sach’s $500 million initiative, hopes to buy back the public’s trust and sway public opinion on the heels of heavy criticism and perception toward their part in this economic disaster.

While Americans and small businesses are hurting and reeling from the economic disaster and criminal activities of government and private enterprise, Goldman has posted some of the highest earnings since the firm was established. According to The Washington Post (on whose board Warren Buffet sits no less), GS is about to unfold a bonus compensation plan, the likes of which none has seen. The company has set aside $16.7 billion to pay out to employees in only the first three quarters of this year. This figure is up from 2008 bonuses, which were around $11 billion.

No details of this “helping hand” plan have been revealed, but from a skeptics point of view, the effort is “too little too late”. Releasing news about some nebulous plan, which in the end will result in a huge tax deduction no doubt, should not suffice to reconcile Goldman Sachs’ unheard of profits during the worst economic downturn in 8 decades. Then only specifics of this plan point to a fraction of the funding going toward educational grants to small businesses and academia,. EXACTLY HOW DO EDUCATIONAL GRANTS HELP SMALL BUSINESSES? while the remainder is, of course, in the form of loans. Big surprise there huh? An investment bank making money from making money.

The biggest criticism for Sachs, Wells Fargo (which Buffet essentially owns), and others how apparently profited while everyone else lost, has come largely because of their asking and accepting Federal bail out monies. Even more interestingly, Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s chief executive, recently acknowledging the company’s role in the financial crisis. On Tuesday, he even apologized in a New York City speech.

“We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize.”

Translation: We’re sorry, but we have no intention of paying back or compensating anyone from our sins and criminal activity.

Also according to the news, Buffett, Blankfein, and Michael Porter (Harvard business strategy head) will serve as co-chairs on the advisory council (of course, its their money). It should also be noted that Buffett is Goldman Sachs’ largest investor. If these people intend to carry out the models proposed by Niccolo Machiavelli, they had better head back to the library, or perhaps consult professor Porter of Harvard (whose credibility and academic credentials they are robbing). Undoubtedly our financial and political leaders have adhered to the wisdom of “The Prince“, but at this time Sachs, Buffett and other captains of industry out there would be better served to read Machiavelli’s Discorsi, from which I take the following:

“…no prince is ever benefited by making himself hated.”

If the economy does not get better soon, should any more bad news come from Wall Street with regard to rip-offs and schemes some of these people perpetrated, and particularly if GS or Buffett are implicated further, hate is just what these little princes will glean from all this. In a world racked by economic disaster, GS and Buffett just want a cheap PR boost. $500 million they will likely earn back in short order, a cheap and honestly disgusting use of PR hype. If this were not the case, not one dime would be flowing from the coffers of these people – you can believe that.

Apparently however, the ivory towers of Cornell, Harvard and U. Pennsylvania have no trouble getting into bed with the Devil and having Goldman Sachs attach itself to their reputation when the 3 ivy league universities will be the major beneficiaries (not small businesses) of this “small business” initiative.

Skorton cited his ties to Cornell as the major factor to his appointment to the council.


“Cornell as a university has a lot to offer, including Cornell’s vast resources (paid for by government grants and entitlement programs aka taxpayer money and now Goldman Sachs),

“I have been chairing a task force for Governor Paterson on diversifying the N.Y. state economy. This experience has shown me how dependent the success of the economy is to the success of small business,” Skorton said.

Result of Skorton’s and Patterson’s work — more debt, hostile business environment and businesses and industry leaving NY by the droves. $9.2 billion deficit. If you asked a small business what would you do with people with this kind of a disaster of a record, the answer would be fire them.

If you ask NYS’s governor or Goldman Sachs, apparently you put them on an advisory committee and say that you found redemption.

This is just another pathetic PR attempt by Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffet to try and convince the public that the investment business isn’t rigged and that they are reputable people and companies when in reality they are the worst kind of criminals. Goldman Sachs has absolutely no desire to help small business which is evidenced by the fact that they are teaming up with some of the largest tax exempt businesses around — Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.

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