Consumer Confidential: Naughty Goldman, jobless Californians, happy banks
Here's your fine-how-do-you-do Friday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
--There's was always that nagging feeling throughout the taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street that these guys were more than victims of circumstance. And now we have federal authorities charging Goldman Sachs with fraud for having bet against -- and profited from -- the same mortgage products it was hawking to investors. If so, that was very naughty. But what gets me is that conservatives still oppose greater regulation of financial firms, saying the market should be allowed to do its thing. News flash: The market isn't always a reliable safeguard. And many on Wall Street have proven themselves unworthy of our trust.
--And while we're dwelling on the darker side of the economy, some more hard-to-swallow news: California's unemployment rate has climbed a smidge to 12.6%. Though jobs were added last month, more than 2.3 million Golden State residents are still looking for work. We've known for quite some time that this would be a "jobless recovery." But that doesn't make it any easier. The forecast? Storm clouds on the employment front for probably the rest of the year.
--But here's some happy news: Bank of America is making money again -- lots of it. The bank says it pocketed $3.2 billion in profit during the first three months of the year. Just a day earlier, our friends at JPMorgan Chase said they'd earned $3.3 billion in profit. Doesn't that make you feel good? I'm sure both banks will be returning the favor to customers for those multibillion-dollar bailouts and will offer attractive credit card terms and other customer-friendly products. You agree, right? Right?
-- David Lazarus