Last Friday, we were impressed by Goldman's brazenness when the bank, whose alumni have populated virtually all prominent central banks, announced it had hired the former president of the EU Jose Manuel Barroso, as a non-executive chairman and advisor, in what was a clear move to lobby for even more clout within a Europe that is suddenly teetering on the edge of chaos, and where Goldman's proximity will come in very lucrative when the Eurozone finally tips over.
Needless to say, Barroso's decision to join Goldman was the peak of hyporcisy when one considers the following speech he had given just years earlier: "In the last three years, Member States - I should say taxpayers - have granted aid and provided guarantees of € 4.6 trillion to the financial sector. It is time for the financial sector to make a contribution back to society"
It appears that the Portuguese bureaucrat only had problem with the financial sector's taxpayer bailout if it was not his multi-million sallary that was the use of proceeds.
However, while outside criticism of Barroso's hypocrisy was is most certainly to be expected from outsiders, we were pleasantly surprised, and quite amused, when we saw that none other than French President Francois Hollande on Thursday became the most senior critic of former European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso's decision to take a job at the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Hollande noted that Barroso was running the European Union's executive arm at the time of the U.S. subprime home-loans crisis, which has been blamed for the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.
He said Goldman Sachs was "one of the main institutions" involved in selling subprime debt, and also noted the U.S. bank's role helping Greece establish credibility about its finances in the early 2000s. Understandably he did not bring up ECB head Mario Draghi who at the time was at Goldman himself, and was actively selling swap to Athens to help it mask its debt.
Earlier this week the French government called on Barroso to walk away from the job and the European Ombudsman called for the EU to tighten rules on commissioners taking appointments on leaving office.
"It's not about Europe, it's about morality," said Hollande in his annual interview to mark Bastille day, France's national day.
"Legally, it's possible, but morally, it's about the person, it's morally unacceptable."
For once we find outselves in total agreement with the French socialist.
Then again, we eagerly await Barroso's reponse now that it has been revealed that Hollande himself has been quite generous with taxpayer funds himself, spending $11k per month in taxpayer funds on his own personal hairdresser as we reported yesterday. We assume that the retort of Goldman's latest hire to yet another glaring instance of French presidential hypocrisy by the man whose own banks were bailed out in the crisis, and who singlehandedly defined "shampoo socialism" will be sufficient comic - and scathing - that it will need no help from us.