If corporations are people, they're not stupid people. While the economic times we live in are difficult, they have found a convenient way to spend their cash without it ever leaving their pockets. It doesn't seem that it should be as alarming as the media has made it that Goldman Sachs has reported a loss.
A current trend for large corporations is buying back their shares. In doing so, they reduce the shares outstanding bringing increased value to those that remain in the market. They've also opened up the option to sell the stock back into the market at a higher price in the future. The scenario is a win, win.
For the average citizen who obtains money through illicit means and then converts that cash into stock, they may be looked at for money laundering. Many look at the large financial institutions as the culprits for the current mess. They see lenders with shady practices who appear to still be the ones who are profiting in the end. What else are they going to do with all that extra cash they've been holding onto?
In these uncertain times, hiring does not appear to be seen as an option. They have promised to dispose of a 1000 jobs by mid 2012 in order to cut their losses. It's interesting that a company can spend so much money buying back stock, then look to bonds to finance their future. The newest announcement is a debt sale of 50-year bonds totaling 500 million, more than enough to cover them third quarter losses.