However, critics say the blame may not only lie with Wall Street, but with Congress and the government itself -- it was Washington that scaled back its oversight of Wall Street for decades and decades.
As McCaskill said to the Goldman executives, "You had less oversight than a pit boss in Las Vegas."
A handful of Code Pink protesters were on hand at the hearing this morning, with one holding up a sign that said "SHAME" as Josh Birnbaum, a former managing director in the mortgage department of Goldman Sachs, delivered his opening statement.
Experts said Blankfein will be walking a fine line: defending his firm's actions while acknowledging public anger over its actions.
"They're in crisis mode," William Cohan of Fortune Magazine and author of "House of Cards," told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today. "He's trying to be conciliatory. He's trying to finally tell the American people that he's grateful for what they did but, they're in a very difficult position."
Levin's committee has forced Goldman to turn over 2 million pages of documents that Levin said proves his case and shows that Goldman overall made $3.7 billion from the financial crisis.
Goldman Sachs isn't exactly used to the hot seat. It may be the most successful investment bank in history, and the most politically connected. Goldman executives have served on Capitol Hill and in the White House, and as treasury secretaries for Democrats and Republicans. They've also given massive amounts of political donations, much of it to Democrats.
"Goldman Sachs is a powerhouse on a level all together different from a vast majority of political players and they've given $31 million over the last 20 years," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics.
Goldman, Krumholz said, was the second-largest contributor to the Obama campaign last year, giving nearly $1 million.
"They're trying to make sure they have a foot in the door for the time when they need it, such as now," she added. "They're not going to waste this moment and pull back on their efforts in Washington. I expect that we'll see growth, if not a surge, in both contributions and lobbying once these numbers are available."
Today's hearing comes a little more than a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed itslawsuit against Tourre and Goldman, alleging that they defrauded investors.
The SEC's claim states that Goldman Sachs structured a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) -- an instrument tied to the performance of certain securities -- that was secretly designed to fail and that the firm failed to disclose that to its investors. Paulson & Co., the hedge fund that helped pick the investment's portfolio, later made $1 billion by betting against the deal.
With civil charges pending against him, it might be smart for Tourre to have kept his mouth shut or to plead the Fifth but legal experts believe they know why he didn't.
"It would be a public relations nightmare for Goldman for him to take the Fifth," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School who frequently testifies before Congress on securities law. "Their style is to come out fighting and say they did nothing wrong, and taking the Fifth is seen as admission of guilt by the public."