The Senate’s semi-spectacular Goldman Sachs hearings yesterday were a distinctly hard thing to write about.
In my case, the biggest challenge was that The Observer goes to the printer at 8 p.m., which means I had to file my story before the hearings had crawled to the finish line. And not only were there no breaks for writing, there were no breaks to eat: My colleague Reid Pillifant reported that I hadn’t eaten lunch by 3:13. But, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, the truth is that I didn’t have a bite or a sip of water between my pre-hearing bowl of Cheerios and relatively gross post-hearing takeout at Union Station.
The other issues are less amusing. Here’s one: Was it even useful to be worrying about one firm’s past when the future of finance reform was being shaped a few feet away? If, like most people, you think the answer is yes, then what kinds of worries about Goldman should we have?
Courtney Comstock at Business Insider has a really thoughtful list of ten of them. If she were a senator, she would have wanted to know exactly what it looks like when Goldman’s prop trading mixes with its client trading. It’s a gooey and great issue, but it didn’t come up much yesterday.
Her best question is the most wonderfully obvious: “Could you explain your personal role in the credit crisis?” The truth, though, is that they probably wouldn’t be able to answer. Very few important people on Wall Street have come up with the vocabulary for describing their roles in the crisis. Maybe that will change when it fades further into the past.
And here’s another quick question: Why didn’t any of Senator Levin’s colleagues stay to interrogate Mr. Blankfein?