A quick interaction between members of the FCIC as they questioned their first panel of academics on derivatives this morning foreshadows the quagmire commissioners are delving into as they question AIG and Goldman Sachs executives this afternoon, concerning the derivatives deals that ultimately found AIG using taxpayer bailout funds to pay Goldman Sachs 100 cents on the dollar for credit default swaps gone bad.
I was only listening so I can't be sure of the speakers, but here's what it sounded like.
Peter Wallison (of the American Enterprise Institute) ran out of time in his questioning, and Commission Vice-Chair Bill Thomas asked if he wanted another 4 1/2 minutes to make his point.
Thomas: "How about five?"
Chairman Angelides: "Are you playing the AIG to his Goldman?"
Thomas: "I'm just trying to satisfy him."
Point being: We're outraged that AIG bent over backwards (apparently at the direction of the NY Fed, according to a report by SIG TARP Barofsky in January) to satisfy Goldman's demands with taxpayer cash. The real question is what new information the commission will garner that Congress hasn't already dug up. The first public appearance of Joseph Cassano - head of the infamous AIG FP unit - may provide the juice.