“How did Goldman Sachs take over the world?” Jon Stewart asked William Cohan, the author who is spilling all of Goldman Sachs’s secrets in a new book.”Spoiler alert,” Stewart said last night, “Goldman did it by going short on the world. They bet against the world and they won.”
“No matter what firm I worked for, they always wanted to be Goldman Sachs.”
“There is a collection of very smart people who are put on earth to make money.”
“Yes, I remember that biblical passage.”
Earlier, Cohan wasn’t so nice. He dashed the CEO’s dreams, if he ever had any, of aspiring to government power.
“Lloyd Blankfein will never be Treasury Secretary.”
But this time, he was all compliments.
Cohan: “One thing I discovered in this is that Henry Goldman, the son of the founder of the firm, was sitting at the table when they created the federal reserve system. And wrote the rules [of regulation] that, 100 years later, Goldman is benefiting from!”
“How’d he know?!”
“He’s a genius of some sort. This firm is out of control genius.”
Jon Stewart: “Out of control genius and yet when they leave Goldman, to run the Fed or the government, suddenly they’re not so smart. That’s what’s so amazing. There is something about the collective, borge-like wisdom, that allows them… but suddenly, why is it that when they go to work for the Treasury or what have you, suddenly, they don’t know what the hell is going on?”
Cohan: “Well, as you can imagine, they probably have a different view of that.”
Later on the show, Cohan explained how Goldman Sachs is genius.
Cohan: “Goldman Sachs didn’t tell its clients it thought the mortgage market was going to collapse, it didn’t tell Henry Paulson, it didn’t tell any body. It just kept doing both things at once. I think Fitzgerald said the ability to hold two thoughts in your head is genius. I don’t know if it’s genius, or unethical, or maybe illegal…”
“I mean, the CFO of the firm wrote in an email, ‘we have on the big short,’ what do you think that means? And then they go in front of the Senate and deny it.”