The main event in Washington today is a showdown
between Goldman Sachs and
Congress. It comes 10 days after the SEC accused Goldman of fraud and
members of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will do
their best to depict the bank as an "arch-villain
" of the financial
crisis. Now, as Goldman's prepared remarks circulate
, pundits anticipate a testy
stand off. Will honesty avail the despised bank? How will Goldman execs
confront the list of allegations?
- The Truth Will Bury Goldman Roger Martin at The Washington Post explains, "The better job Goldman Sachs does in explaining exactly what its
business is, the more outraged regulators and the public will be. The
only reason that Goldman has avoided negative publicity for so long is
that the public has had no idea how far its business model has changed
from one that the public could reasonably understand. Even the
regulators are largely flummoxed."
- Goldman Will Fudge the Truth and It
Will Work David Brooks at The New York Times writes: "The firm
can claim to be dumb but decent, like the rest of the establishment, and
emphasize the times it lost money. Or it can present itself as smart
and sleazy, and emphasize the times it made money at the expense of its
clients. Goldman seems to have chosen dumb but decent, which is probably
the smart narrative to get back in the establishment's good graces,
even if it is less accurate."
- They'll Take a Scolding
and Brush It Off, writes Alex Altman at Time: "If Blankfein
will attempt to navigate the tightrope between aggressively defending
the firm and acknowledging the public's concern, Tourre will likely cite
the SEC suit in declining to provide any substantive information."
Altman quotes a source saying, "It's a little bit like being yelled at
by a teacher... You take it, and the next day you move on."
Government's Fault—Not Goldman's Bethany McLean in The New York
Times writes, "There are no good guys here. It’s dishonest and ultimately
dangerous to pretend that Goldman is the only bad actor. And the worst
actor of all is the one leading the charge against Goldman: our
government." Though she blames the banks and credit rating agencies, she
comes down hardest on regulators and Congress: "In the end, it comes
down to this: Goldman Sachs, ACA Capital, IKB Deutsche Industriebank and
even the rating agencies never had any duty to protect us from their
greed. There was one entity that did — our government."
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