The Trump administration's seemingly insatiable appetite for current or former Goldman Sachs employees has finally pulled the bank out of the post-crisis time-out box and back into to the corridors of power. Most recently the president-elect tapped his Dina Powell, the first Goldman woman to join Trump's stable of Goldman dudes: Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin, Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon.
This is all according to the cosmic plan, according to Lloyd Blankfein. “Most people leave by age 48 or 50. By then you’ve made enough money,” Blankfein told the New York Times. “The expectation was you’d turn to philanthropy or government service.”
A cynic might assume that the intended effect of sending a conveyor belt of former Goldman partners into the White House is to win friends and influence policy. Blankfein assures us that's wrong: “The perception that they’ll go to Washington and then favor us is false. The reverse is true.” As former CFTC chief Gary Gensler demonstrated, Goldman's reputations benefits when its veterans become effective public servants.
But the return of Government Sachs has had unintended effects as well – namely, making the world's most elite investment bank serve as a mere switchboard for the nation's corporate leaders. As the NYT reports:
High-profile government service by its alumni has largely burnished the firm’s reputation within the business community and, accurately or not, enhanced the perception that Goldman partners are just a phone call away from the executive branch. Already, chief executives have been calling Goldman partners seeking access to Mr. Cohn and Mr. Mnuchin.
You can't blame CEOs for using whatever means necessary to get to those hard-to-reach new administration nominees. But you have to feel bad for the Goldman partner now finding himself in the position of the less-popular partner in a failed relationship, answering calls from old friends who are really just looking for his his ex. It's a small price to pay for being a master of the universe.