The SEC is boasting that the $550 million settlement it agreed to with Goldman Sachs is the "largest-ever penalty paid by a Wall Street firm." That may be true, but that doesn't mean it's actually going to chasten Goldman. Top put things in perspective, Pro Publica notes that the fine is...
- ... less than Goldman gave away to small businesses as a PR move in November.
- ... less than one-tenth of the value Goldman stock gained yesterday on news of a settlement.
- ... about 2 weeks' worth of profit for the company, based on the first quarter of 2010.
- ... a sum Goldman could pay immediately, hundreds of times over, given its $162 billion in excess liquidity.
But, to be fair, it's also...
- ... eight times what Lloyd Blankfein makes in a year, and ...
- ... significantly more than Goldman made on the deal the SEC sued over, though the firm had dozens of similar deals not included in the lawsuit.