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Secret Santa (Goldman Sachs desperately trying not to flaunt outrageous bonuses)


No Christmas parties for Goldman Sachs this year according to this insightful piece by Jessica Toonkel Marquez in Investment News.

In an attempt to keep a low profile, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has told its employees that it won’t be hosting a corporate Christmas party this year. The investment bank is also prohibiting employees from funding their own parties, an insider at the firm told InvestmentNews.

The Christmas party ban comes as Goldman has been under sharp public criticism for paying bigger bonuses this year while national unemployment hovers at 10.2% and many workers have taken pay cuts.

The take away? They have no shame about the radical redistribution of wealth from our economy into their own coffers ( from the article: “Last year, Goldman paid out $4.8 billion in bonuses, awarding 953 employees at least $1 million each and 78 employees at least $4 million. The rewards this year are expected to be greater.”). BUT they are increasingly sensitive to the fact that images of them flaunting this wealth make most Americans want to join an angry mob (including me … if you’re in D.C. on Monday at noon, come to the protest and rally at the Goldman Sachs headquarters on Capitol Hill).

Truly, appearances matter. But if Goldman Sachs was truly concerned about the fact that its bonus recipients will be wallowing in cash while the rest of us are still reeling from the crisis it helped create, George Goehl, director of National People’s Action, has a suggestion (from Huffington Post):

Word on the street is that Goldman is anticipating a $23 billion bonus pool in 2009. Yes, the same firm that we rescued with a $10 billion taxpayer bailout a year ago, is now preparing to hand out up to $23 billion in bonuses. If Goldman wanted to do their part to clean up a mess that they helped create (and clean up their image), a good place to start would be the creation of a foreclosure prevention program. A one billion dollar contribution from Goldman’s bonus pool would prevent 200,000 foreclosures. A few billion would go a long way toward helping stem the cresting tide of foreclosures.

What do you say, banksters? It would be a nice gesture. (But still not as nice as Congress imposing a windfall bonus tax on these guys to repair the damage they caused).

Flickr photo by tempo.