Wednesday, November 18, 2009 0 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

Opinion: Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffett start PR campaign to repair damaged reputation

You know things must be really getting out of control when Goldman Sachs, the bastion of capitalism according to some, starts being criticized by conservatives, who tend to be supportive of capitalists. One just needs to peruse the user comments at a news site like MarketWatch, which, like most business sites, is heavily represented by conservatives, to notice all the harsh comments and attacks.

Thus it should not be a surprise to see something that has probably not happened since the 1930's: a public apology by a powerful investment bank. Llyod Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, is said to have said "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret..." Such an apology from a leading investment bank would have been unthinkable as recently as two years ago.

Warren Buffett is also chipping in to repair the damage. Apparently, Goldman Sachs will provide $500 million to support up to 10,000 small businesses with financial support and business education, channelled through colleges, universities, and the like. Warren Buffett and Michael Porter will be playing an advisory role. The program appears to have been set up several years ago but Goldman Sachs is significantly increasing its contribution.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact this has on public opinion and government policy. It's probably not an understatement to suggest that Goldman Sachs is public enemy #1 for the typical American. Michael Moore may have attacked AIG but my feeling is that Americans are more disgruntled with Goldman Sachs. Rightly or wrongly, it has come to symbolize all that has gone wrong in the financial services industry in the last decade.

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