Role in the Financial Crisis of 2008
Part of the business model of Goldman Sachs, along with countless other investment banks, has been to trade debt obligations for profit. As part of this strategy, Goldman Sachs purchased consolidated mortgage loan obligations from lenders and sold the repackaged obligations to other banks and financial institutions at a profit. As part of the repackaging, low expectations of loan repayment were hidden, encouraging Goldman Sachs' clients to purchase the loan obligations without fully understanding how unlikely it was that mortgage holders would actually pay those loans back. As more and more mortgage holders defaulted, the companies Goldman Sachs had sold loan obligations to began to lose money, and as these companies were clients of Goldman Sachs, so did Goldman Sachs.
Controversy and Antisemitism
There is no doubt that actions taken by Goldman Sachs employees had a part in causing the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Furthermore, actions taken by former Goldman Sachs employees, like Henry Paulson, likely worsened the recession.
Nevertheless, the media has given an inordinate amount of attention to Goldman Sachs, with strong accusations of economic tampering, criticism of their business practices, and outrage over bonuses paid to executives. While other companies, which were arguably at least as responsible for the recession as Goldman Sachs (AIG is a great example), have received some media scrutiny, no company has been as violently attacked as Goldman Sachs. This has led some to accuse those in the media of antisemitism against the company, due to its Jewish name.