New York: Just while stocks reached record highs in the Great Recession, investigators revealed today they discovered the secret formula of Gold Man Sacks (GMS): 2+2=5. According to investigators, GMS trained its employees to turn two 2s into 5. GMS Financial Advisor Bo Whistle told investigators GMS's use of its secret formula explains the company's record profits, as well as its use of personal jets, luxury cruises, and meetings at deluxe resorts.
Investigators discovered that in July 2005, Little Guy Union (LGU) complained to company executives: "While you lounge on resort beaches, your workers are turning your 2s and 2s into 5s, and we can't pay our bills!" "Injustice!" cried LGU members. "We want job security! We want strong salaries! We want health care! We want more vacation and sick leave!" GMS was hesitant to pay its workers more, but LGU had a trump card: "We'll announce your secret formula: 2+2=5." Under such a threat, GMS signed contracts to avoid lay-offs, increase wages and leave benefits, and offer stronger health coverage. The workers were happy, but they wanted more. GMS was happy, but it wanted fewer workers. Many more 2s and 2s were turned into 5s, and both GMS and workers increased in wealth.
Whistle told investigators that in August, 2006, GMS executives met to develop a plan "to release excess employees and pay the remaining ones less." However, Whistle said their plan back-fired. Not only were they unsuccessful in negotiating with LGU, but the union announced GMS's plan to the nation, which led to a public relations debacle.
In November, 2007, Whistle said GMS's secret formula broke down. No longer could the company turn two 2s into 5. Within a year, the company had lost half its fortune and had laid-off thirty percent of its workforce. Meanwhile, Little Guy Union's hands were tied, as it could not argue against GMS's dismal balance sheet. Not only did GMS finally succeed in laying off workers, but it also increased the workloads of those who remained. In short order, the company reduced their salaries and diminished their benefits. LGU Leader Mia Turn told investigators the union knew if it tried to stop this trend, GMS would present its balance sheet and ask, "Would you prefer more lay-offs?"
Investors saw the balance sheets and sold mountains of GMS shares. Thankfully for the company, GMS was too big to fail, and the United States Treasury came to the rescue. In time, with the Treasury's money, production resumed and the balance sheet turned positive again. By now, GMS had discovered it could produce just as much at a much lower cost. It had released its excess employees, and it had demanded more for less of those who remained.
Meanwhile, the company had also re-invented its secret to the formula 2+2=5. In its Annual Report, GMS proclaimed "productivity" had "increased" and profits were on the rise. Stockholders rejoiced and rewarded GMS with more buys. Armed once again with its secret formula, top executives returned to their lavish lifestyle in personal jets, on luxury cruises, and at deluxe resorts.
Turn said the union wanted to complain, but it could do nothing. GMS was one of many corporate giants, and all had laid off workers. Workers wanted jobs and were willing to work for small salaries. GMS delighted in this new freedom to profit with ease. Investors agreed and rewarded GMS mightily. Together, the rich and the powerful regained their wealth.
While economic recovery arrived for large banks and corporations like GMS, the official unemployment rate was nearly 10% and the actual underemployment rate was nearly 20%. Whistle reported that by the third quarter of 2009, investors began to express concern the recovery was a façade, and they threatened to withdraw the profits they had earned. Whistle reported his company and its main competitors arranged a secret meeting in November in order to respond to the discrepancy between corporate profits and rising unemployment. The attendants at the meeting agreed to simultaneously send out official economic reports with the same announcement for the type of economy the United States was experiencing: "a jobless recovery."
The codeword succeeded for the nation's investors, and GMS and its corporate competitors all enjoyed record profits and soaring share prices. At the Annual Shareholder's Meeting in August of 2010, GMS CEO I. M. Rich is reported to have said, "We love record earnings at a low cost! What could be better than a jobless recovery?"