The tension at the first hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was evident from the outset.We regret the consequence that your ass isn't in jail, Lloyd. But hey, the dog and pony show must go on, while in the back rooms the deals are cut and the rich get richer.
"People are angry," commission Chairman Phil Angelides said. Reports of "record profits and bonuses in the wake of receiving trillions of dollars in government assistance while so many families are struggling to stay afloat has only heightened the sense of confusion," he said.
Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, took the brunt of the questions, especially on his firm's practice of selling mortgage-backed securities and then betting against them.
"I'm just going to be blunt with you," Angelides told him. "It sounds to me a little bit like selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars."
Blankfein replied: "I do think the behavior is improper. We regret the consequence that people have lost money in it." Later, though, he defended the firm's actions as "exercises in risk management."
Do you think this administration is going to do anything to the banksters besides give them more of our money?
If you do, I've got some securitized financial instruments I'd like to sell you...