Mr. SORKIN: A lot of the people who are still in business today think of themselves now as survivors, and they use the word survivors as if they're cancer survivors. And I'm not sure there's an appreciation that they were saved by the taxpayer and that they owe something back not only to the taxpayer, but to the community as a whole. And that's something that has been completely lost on these people. And, you know, there are not many heroes in this book.
You know, you could argue that some of them may, in fact, be villains. But it is something that bothers me to this day about how little self-awareness there still is about what they did to bring us to the brink and how they were saved and the responsibility they should have now.
GROSS: Let's give an example. I mean, Goldman just reported its earnings for the third quarter were $3.19 billion. And they…
Mr. SORKIN: Unbelievable, right?
GROSS: Yeah, and they're giving out huge bonuses.
Mr. SORKIN: Unbelievable.
GROSS: And so, you know, for we the taxpayers, it's like when you think of all the people who lost their jobs, who lost their retirement funds, and as a result of losing their jobs, lost their health insurance…
Mr. SORKIN: Right.
GROSS: …and their homes, to think, you know, that they're getting these huge bonuses at places like Goldman Sachs just seems outrageous. How does Goldman Sachs even try to justify that?
Mr. SORKIN: Well, let me just go back for one second, which is to say to me, the most gulling part about the bonuses is where the profits are coming from. The profits are not coming from lending. I think Americans would feel a lot better if banks were lending money to small business owners, to people who needed an auto loan, to people who needed a mortgage. If the banks were profiting doing that, I think we might actually all say maybe this is okay. The problem is that these profits are coming from trading, and that's what's got us in trouble the first time. That's what these banks were doing.
GROSS: Risky trading, you're talking about.
Mr. SORKIN: Risky trading.
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