FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Wall Street Bonus Madness

by STANLEY HELLER

You created an economy that is so unstable that the bankruptcy of a few big firms would mean worldwide catastrophe.

Your policies lost the world $10 trillion on stock markets in the last month alone.

You’ve started a worldwide recession/depression that will go on for years.

So for a punishment we’re giving you $20 billion in bonuses.

No, this is not a Saturday Night Live gag. It’s what will happen this year in the good old U S of A. It’s all spelled out nicely on Bloomberg.com. The article by Christine Harper and Serena Saitto starts off by explaining that Merrill Lynch will hand out $6.7 billion in bonuses even though it has lost money for five straight quarters and saw its stock fall in value by 70%. (The company also sold itself off to the Bank of America.) $13 billion is being set aside at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Even some employees at Lehman Brothers will be given big fat end of the year envelopes even though the company has gone bankrupt.

Merrill Lynch is actually raising bonuses this year by a couple of thousands. They’ve laid off 3,000 people so even though the pot is smaller there’s more for the survivors to feast on. The average bonus will be well over 100K. The better off Wall St. companies will be giving twice that amount.

You see this is what is expected on Wall Street. If you want to keep your “talent” you have to reward them. Otherwise they will go to …..hmmm. The hedge funds are shedding jobs by the thousands. The investment banks are now bank holding companies and laying off like mad. Foreign companies can’t use them. Ah…if they don’t get the bonuses the talent will undoubtedly run off to big careers managing homeless shelters.

The article quotes Bill Coleman at the Massachusetts software firm Salaries.com as saying that Wall St. has created such an “obscene” standard of compensation that the big shots really believe “it’s hard to live on just a half million dollars a year.” This does not appear to be much of an exaggeration. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported securities-industry employees averaged $400,000 a year in salary alone last year.

But how can the banks pay out so much money? Oh, I forgot, the US treasury is sending $700 billion into the banks to prop them up and hundreds of billions more to keep them “liquid”. (as if bankers lived in deserts and were in constant danger of dehydration.)

This actually doesn’t have to happen. These flat world whiz kids have literally wrecked the world economy. We’re just at the beginning of the collapse. It’s funny how they are afraid to use the word “recession”. The word “recession” was invented so they wouldn’t have to use the word “depression”. Depression itself was in its day a non-threatening alternative for the older term for business bust, a “panic”. Heck, why not just call it a “reverse upwards boom”?

The idea of basing world business on trillion feet high mountains of sliced and swapped debt is horse manure. We need completely new thinking, ideas for government owned banks to lend out money to worker-community corporations that actually produce things. There’s hundreds of thousands of people out there with the technical and financial education to create such a system. They’ll be happy to do the work and you won’t have to pay them half a million apiece.

In the meantime, here’s a proposal. Some artist needs to come up with an angry vulgar graphic that can be emailed by the thousands to the Wall St. companies and to Congress along with a short sweet message in 50 size font:

“Not a cent of Wall Street bonuses this year. Not on my dime. Let those con artists feast on white bread and margarine. Use the billions to keep people in their homes.”

STANLEY HELLER has started a website with the grand goal over reaching the average person by talking about economics in plain everyday language. It’s www.EconomicUprising.8k.com Contribute ideas at Stanley.Heller@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 20, 2017
Sebastian Friedrich – Gabriel Kuhn
A New Class Politics
Patrick Cockburn
The Massacre of Mosul: More Than 40,000 Civilians Feared Dead
Paul Street
The Abandonment: Reflections on James Foreman’s “Locking Up Our Own”
Kim Codella
A Practical Education
Frank Scott
America’s Trump, Not Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Clancy Sigal Goes Away
Don Monkerud
The Real Treason in DC: Turning Our Lives Over to Corporations
Brian Dew – Dean Baker
Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
Ralph Nader
Detecting What Unravels Our Society – Bottom-up and Top-down
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Covering Islam, Post-Jack Shaheen
Binoy Kampmark
Uhlmann’s Trump Problem
Patrick Walker
In Defense of Caitlin Johnstone
Barry Lando
Those Secret Putin-Trump Talks
Sean Marquis
Thank You, Donald Trump
July 19, 2017
Adam Ziemkowski and Rebekah Liebermann
How Seattle Voted to Tax the Rich
Patrick Cockburn
Why ISIS Fighters are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
John W. Whitehead
Zombies R Us: the Walking Dead of the American Police State
Mateo Pimentel
Net Neutrality’s Missing Persons
Adil E. Shamoo - Bonnie Bricker
Yemen Policy is Creating More Terrorists
L. Ali Khan
U.S. Misreads Pakistan’s Antifragility
David Macaray
Fear and Trembling in the Workplace
Brian Trautman, Gerry Condon and Samantha Ferguson
Veterans Call on U.S. to Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuelan Opposition “Consultation”: Playing Alone and Losing
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Cold-Hearted Agenda is Immoral
Raul Castro
We will Continue to Advance Along the Path Freely Chosen by Our People
July 18, 2017
James Bovard
Obama’s AWOL Anti-War Protesters
Gary Leupp
CNN: “Russia is an Adversary, Ukraine is Not.”
Ryan Shah
Beware the Radical Center
John Carroll Md
Cold Hands Don’t Need Narcotics
Derrick Jensen
Endangered Species Don’t Need an Ark – They Need a Living Planet!
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Canadian Conjucture
Arturo Lopez-Levy
Trump’s Cuba Restrictions: a Detour, Not the Future
Russell Mokhiber
State Street Bentley University Business Ethics and Corporate Crime
Laura Finley
Being Too Much
Robert J. Gould
What is Our Experience of our Flawed Democracy?
Taju Tijani
The Burden of Indivisible Nigeria
Guillaume Pitron
China Now Leads in Renewables
Ted Rall
How I Learned Courts are Off-Limits to the 99 Percent
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
July 17, 2017
Gregory Wilpert
Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Embrace of the Saudi Crown Prince, and a Qatar Nightmare Scenario
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Liu Xiaobo: the West’s Model Chinese
Terry Simons
Why I Did Not Go to Vietnam
Jim Green
Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail