Matt Taibbi, a journalist for Rolling Stone, has built a reputation as the writer who best evokes the fury generated by the financial crisis of 2008. It was Taibbi, afterall, who gave us the phrase that will forever define Goldman Sachs: “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
So when a new outrage appears — as it did this week when the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute Goldman Sachs — we turn to Taibbi to put it in perspective. He didn’t disappoint us.
You know that look a dog gives you when you show it something confusing, like an electric razor or a lawn sprinkler? That’s the look federal prosecutors give when companies like Goldman wave their attorneys’ sanctifying opinions at them. They scratch their heads and say: “Oh, wow, well since this was signed in Australia by three millionaire lawyers wearing magic invisibility cloaks, it really isn’t fraud! They’re right!”
As one high-profile attorney currently working on a closely-watched case involving a Wall Street bank put it to me yesterday: “With these Justice guys, everything the Wall Street lawyers say makes perfect sense to them, no matter how dumb it is.”