Goldmans role in the financialization of America was similar to that of other players, except for one thing: Goldman didnt believe its own hype. Other banks invested heavily in the same toxic waste they were selling to the public at large. Goldman, famously, made a lot of money selling securities backed by subprime mortgages then made a lot more money by selling mortgage-backed securities short, just before their value crashed. All of this was perfectly legal, but the net effect was that Goldman made profits by playing the rest of us for suckers.
The bottom line is that Goldmans blowout quarter is good news for Goldman and the people who work there. Its good news for financial superstars in general, whose paychecks are rapidly climbing back to precrisis levels. But its bad news for almost everyone else.
And here's Jon Stewart on Goldman Sachs.