Goldman Sachs may find Uncle Sam isn't ready to cash out bailout


Goldman Sachs (GS) wants to try to repay the $10 billion it received from the Treasury Department's bank bailout fund ahead of schedule, ideally within a month. With all the strings attached to the money, it's no wonder that a bank would want to be rid of it and free to run its business as it sees fit.

Originally, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the goal was to return the money by the end of the year. Now, the New York Times reports insiders claim the new goal is to pay it back within a month. The reasons are probably numerous and likely include the criticism Goldman got after it received more money from American International Group (AIG) than any of the insurer's other counterparties, which strikes many as a back-door bailout. Add to that restrictions on executive pay imposed by the Treasury's bank rescue program, lawmakers' attempts to impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses, and a 5 percent interest payment on the government's capital infusion, and it's a wonder the healthiest of the major banks didn't try to return the money sooner. Judging from Goldman's balance sheet, it seems it could.