From Crooks and Liars, here is video of Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Megan McArdle of The Atlantic discussing whether anyone from Goldman Sachs should be held accountable in the wake of the revelations in the 650-page report just released by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, Anatomy of a Financial Collapse.
McArdle, whose philosophy in pretty much every situation like this is “Afflict the Afflicted and Comfort the Comfortable,” trots out endless excuses for why no one involved should ever face trial, the funniest of which could be termed the Facebook defense: it’s complicated. As in, these gosh darned financial cases are soooooooooo complicated, who could even understand what they did (if they even did anything which they probably didn’t).
This leads to the following priceless exchange where Taibbi just shakes his head in wonder at McArdle’s endless mendacity:
MCARDLE: I think they probably aren’t, just like most vendors aren’t always — look to their own interests before the interests of their clients.
But here’s the thing. I think there is a real desire to have a sense of closure on this, a desire to track down a villain, figure out who did this to us.
And I think that really underweights the power of human stupidity and poor system design. It can produce terrible results even without anyone doing —
TAIBBI: How are you just not ashamed to do the job that you do? How you are not ashamed to apologize for these billionaires who ripped off ordinary people. I can’t believe that —
MCARDLE: There weren’t ordinary people. A hedge fund is not an ordinary —
TAIBBI: How about this? They ripped off a billion dollars from Morgan Stanley, which then in turn took a $10 billion bailout from the taxpayer ergo they ripped us off. How do you answer that?
MCARDLE: How do I answer that? I think that, you know, in fact, they do deals with big banks. There are questions about how we should have done those bailouts.
But the fact is it’s not Goldman Sachs’ responsibility to make sure that Morgan Stanley makes money. More than it’s the Atlantic’s responsibility to make sure that Rolling Stone makes money.
VELSHI: It’s a good point, yes. I think I’ll just leave it right there.
TAIBBI: I don’t know how that makes sense on any planet in any universe. That is just insane.