Conspiracies Confirmed

Let it not be said that authorities never accept conspiracy theories. At the Post Gary Weiss endorsed two:

Here’s a field guide to prevalent Wall Street conspiracy theories, with each one graded … on a sliding scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being “fugetaboutit” and 5 being “damn right.”

— Goldman Sachs as giant vampire squid

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi seemed to touch a raw nerve in the yammering classes with his July 2009 article on the breadth of Goldman Sachs’ influence in Washington, on Wall Street, and everywhere.

Goldman Sachs, as described by Taibbi, was a “giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” … the general thrust of his piece was correct. Goldman does have a way of coming out on top in every bad situation. Taibbi didn’t mention it, but Goldman was instrumental in ousting New York Stock Exchange chief executive Richard Grasso when he proved to be an embarrassment. … Goldman did have a key role in the mortgage-derivatives fiasco, and its tentacles have spread through government for eons. It’s a classic case of overconcentration of power. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Adam Storch, 29, the ex-Goldman executive who just became chief operating officer of the Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement division. …

Category: Alternate history, Scope: 5, Durability: 3, Crowd Appeal: 5, Plausibility: 4

— Tim Geithner is in the pocket of the big bankers

I debated whether to even include this in the list of conspiracy theories, because the evidence for it is so overwhelming. There’s no question that Tim Geithner likes to talk to people who run major financial institutions, and this was long before e-mails were released showing that as Treasury secretary his telephone buddies included all the major CEOs of the big banks. That was the case as well when Geithner was president of the New York Fed. No secret about it. The bankers freely admitted that they chat it up with Geithner.

One can argue that there’s nothing wrong with this, that it’s not at all surprising for a financial neophyte to lean on people at, for instance, the aforementioned Goldman Sachs — particularly when it employs one of Geithner’s predecessors, his confidant E. Gerald Corrigan. The price of getting all this terrific expertise is that it makes you seem beholden to the people from whom you’re getting all this terrific expertise, and so it is with Geithner. While it isn’t kind to say that Geithner is in the pocket of Wall Street, there’s a bit too much lint flying around to ignore.

Category: Hidden factors, Scope: 2, Durability: 5, Crowd Appeal: 3, Plausibility: 5

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