Ed. note: This is a weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline, wrapping up the week that was in law and finance. Elie is not a practicing attorney, and anything he says that you listen to can and will be used against you.
I dislike Goldman Sachs too. It smells of rich mahogany. It has things that I'd like more of (like money) and it makes things (like money) out of seemingly thin air and it all seems vaguely unfair to me, a lawyer. But a new poll puts Goldman right at the top of the list of America's most hated companies and... like, why? A pollster calls you up and asks you to list some "bad" companies and you blurt out GOLDMAN SACHS because it's an investment bank you've heard of, and "Wall Street, man"?
Goldman Sachs doesn't break any laws. Well, check that, Goldman Sachs doesn't break any laws that the average "What is Caller ID" poll respondent can possibly understand. Goldman's not NYPD, it doesn't kill anybody. It doesn't make you wait in line. It's not a puppy mill. It doesn't make cigarettes or abortions or James Franco movies. What percentage of respondents do you think has any clue what Goldman Sachs actually does? Wherever you set the line, I'm taking the under.
And I'd take the over on "number of Americans who would work for Goldman if they could."
Goldman is first on the list, while BP is 11th. BP DROWNED NATURE IN OIL and it's 11th? General Motors is 13th. General Motors engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to hide defects in its sh**ty product that resulted in the actual death of humans. Goldman just makes money. It might be the Alien Xenomorph of making money, but still.
Really, the only reason to "hate" Goldman Sachs is that it seems particularly uninterested by your hate. You can't even hurt its feelings. It's managed to become financially, politically, and emotionally unassailable.
In any event, here are the twenty most hated companies from Bloomberg Businessweek. I'm not going to list the 20 most loved companies because the only thing dumber than hating a company is loving one.
1) Goldman Sachs
3) Dish Network
6) Sears Holding
7) Koch Industries
9) Charter Communications
10) Bank of America
13) General Motors
14) JPMorgan Chase
15) United Airlines
16) Time Warner
By the way, America, the right answer is "Koch Industries."