The heads of eight major banks are testifying before Congress today; they're reading their opening statement now.  A lot of these guys have a very difficult task, because what looks good to Congress is saying "I gave consumers a lot of credit", but that's not really the business Goldman Sachs or Bank of New York are in.  They're reduced to trying to explain their (very important!) role in the banking system in under a minute, then pleading that they pay a lot of taxes and fund housing projects.  But Lloyd Blankfein undoes all his good work by explaining that bonuses were cut by 65% this year--which probably sounds draconian to the folks at Goldman, but still sounds lavish to those of us whose salaries are a rounding error in a Goldman bonus check.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.