Friday, January 30, 2009

Back At The Trough Already?!?

Have you heard? The Wizards of Wall Street, that same bunch that mismanaged the wealth of the American nation to such an extent that they drove the country to the brink of a second depression (hey, somebody had to finally say it!) and dragged most of the rest of the world with it in the process, the same bunch that had to come begging to the U.S. taxpayer for over $700 billion in survival money, have just given themselves huge bonuses. Yes, that's right, the New York State Comptroller has reported that Wall Street brokers collected a total of about $US 8.5 billion in bonuses for 2008, and that's not counting stock options.

When asked to explain themselves, these self-entitled stuffed shirts had the nerve to sulk about the fact that this year's bonuses were, in fact, down 44% from what they received in 2007. It apparently hasn't occurred to them that this just underscores how obscenely overpaid they've been for the past several years.

What I can't figure out is exactly what these bonuses are for. Do these brokers get a percentage of the money that they lose? Or has the bar just been set really, really low? ("Well, Jenkins, your goal was not to lose more than $50 billion last year. I see that you only lost us $20 billion. Nice work, my boy!") It seems gross incompetence is richly rewarded these days.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that it's unclear whether any taxpayer money was used in paying these exorbitant bonuses. Well, it's pretty clear to me, Mr. DiNapoli. Of course taxpayer money was used! The purpose of the $700 billion bailout was to keep the banks and insurance companies for which these fat cats worked (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense) afloat. That means that, without that money, there would have been no financial organizations from which to collect these bonuses, and that money came directly from the American taxpayer. Wall Street has, in fact, taken the rescue money and stuffed it into its pockets.

Then there's this blog called "Dating A Banker Anonymous", in which some of the wives of these pompous pampered parasites cry about the many sacrifices they've had to make since their husbands flushed the economy down the crapper I do grant that this blog may, in fact, be the most delicious example of poker-faced sarcasm it has ever been my pleasure to read. I certainly hope it is. If these women are, in fact, serious, they make the Desperate Housewives look like June Cleaver.

Most galling of all is that some of the pigs at the financial trough apparently feel slighted by their reduced earnings this year. A poll of 900 financial industry employees reported that 46 percent of the respondents felt that they deserved more. What they deserve, in fact, is to be fired, the lot of them, immediately and without further compensation. They should be glad that nobody's making them personally financially responsible for the losses that they incurred.

To his credit, President Obama was reportedly as outraged as I at this news, calling it "shameful", and "the height of irresponsibility". Hopefully, what we are witnessing here is merely the washing away of the last remnants of the scum that has choked the life out of America these past many years.

1 comment:

Martin said...

A lot of the blame for the state of the world's economy (and this is a global issue, not just an American issue) lies with the massive amount of debt that we, as individuals, companies, and nations, have accumulated. Our good times have been borrowed. So I'm more than a little skeptical when governments talk about spending their way out of the problem and "stimulating" the economy. The root of the problem is not being addressed.