Golden Apology?

Goldman's Peace Offering

Goldman Sachs announced the largest charitable initiative in its history when it said it would spend $500 million—about 3 percent of the $16.7 billion the investment bank set aside to for employee bonuses—to promote small businesses in the U.S. The program, dubbed "10,000 Small Businesses" will support local business ventures with capital, financing, education, training, and networking, provided by an advisory council chaired by Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Warren Buffett —Goldman's largest investor—and Harvard business guru Michael Porter. The new venture, combined with Goldman's recession apology, in which CEO Blankfein said, "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize," should sweeten public perception of the firm that Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi called a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money"—though Goldman insists its public-relations difficulties did not motivate its generosity. But is it coincidence that the news of Goldman's new venture broke the same day as a government report charging that the TARP bailout of AIG may have helped Goldman avert financial catastrophe, because contrary to what the bank claimed at the time, it is unclear whether Goldman was hedged against AIG?