Goldman's near-death experience

Last September, Goldman Sachs Group (GS) came within days of going the way of Lehman Brothers. And were it not for the fact that a former Goldman CEO, Hank Paulson, was Treasury Secretary at the time and another former Goldman executive, Joshua Bolten, was the President's Chief of Staff, Goldman might not have gotten the injection of government-guaranteed debt that saved it from bankruptcy -- and fueled its $3.4 billion in second quarter profits.

On September 10, 2008, I was on CNBC's Power Lunch discussing whether Goldman would rescue Lehman Brothers from its perilous condition. Dennis Kneale thought that was a good idea. As for Goldman, not so much. What we didn't know then was that the same doom loop that caused Lehman to perish was working at Goldman as well -- so it was in no condition to do any rescuing.