creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
19 Nov 2014
Amazon Is Crushing Main Street and Threatening the Vitality of Our Communities

It's that time of year — Thanksgiving holiday will be here soon, and we'll gorge ourselves on turkey. … Read More.

12 Nov 2014
Net Neutrality Stands in the Way of Larger Corporate Profits

When it comes to Internet Service Providers and high-speed Internet, the consumer marketplace has hardly been … Read More.

6 Nov 2014
Election 2014: The Rise of a Stealth Oligarchy

A stunning surprise coming out of this year's elections is that the most dominant contenders were not glad-… Read More.

Who Deserves Wall Street Bonuses?

Comment

Wall Street bankers are really mad these days — in both senses of that word!

You'd think these whizzes of speculative finance would be ecstatically happy and filled with gratitude, not anger. After all, having crashed our economy, they were allowed to keep their cushy jobs, get bailed out with trillions of our tax dollars, and permitted to go right back to playing the same old casino games that had previously enriched them at our expense.

Once again, such powerhouse outfits as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are raking-in tons of money — and, as in the gilded days before Wall Street plunged Main Street into deep recession, bankers have promptly reverted to the selfish ethic of lavishing multimillion-dollar bonuses on themselves. Goldman, for example, has already set aside more than $16 billion to dole out as end-of-year bonuses for its bankers. That's a pace of self-enrichment that will siphon off nearly half of all the money that Goldman takes in this year!

So, why are they mad? Because you and I are not showing them any love. Believe it or not, Wall Streeters actually expected that their return to grandiose banker bonuses would be greeted with huzzahs and "you the man" cheers from an admiring public, rather than another coast-to-coast explosion of anger.

Arrogance and avarice seems to be so hardwired into these people that they view outlandish paydays as proof of their business acumen, productivity and success. The richer you are, the more worthy you are, goes their thinking, so not only do they feel entitled to cash, but also to high-fives and hugs from the hoi polloi.

Excuse me, Your Royalnesses, but being mad at us for not cheering narcissism shows just how bull-goose mad you really are. In fact, if you get any goosier, you'll start flying south every winter.

Especially infuriating is the ridiculous assertion by Wall Street elites that our bailout money was more of a burden than a help. Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, declared last month that he never would have accepted $10 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program "if I had known it was pregnant with this kind of potential for backlash."

Blankfein's claim is that, while some TARP funds might have been of short-term use, they were not really crucial to the recovery of big banks like his, which quickly repaid the government to get rid of the "pregnancy."

Rather, he explains, it was the good-old financial genius of bankers like him that guided Goldman back into the deep waters of prosperity — and huge executive bonuses.

He and other Wall Streeters are now using this argument in Washington to fend off new banking regulations, assuring lawmakers that the free market of finance is self-correcting and in good hands.

Hold it right there, slick. TARP funds were the least of the bailout that you received and are still enjoying. First, $12.9 billion were quietly funneled to Goldman Sachs through last year's backroom bailout of insurance giant AIG — money you're keeping.

Second, by executive fiat, the Federal Reserve let Goldman magically metamorphose into a bank holding company so it could qualify for cheap funds from the central bank. Third, the FDIC (which exists to insure money that people deposit in banks) put its governmental guarantee behind billions of dollars in Goldman bonds, thus allowing the firm to raise even more capital very cheaply.

Fourth, bank competition was deliberately and drastically reduced as part of the government's rescue effort, leaving Goldman free to pull more of the investment market into its monopolistic maw. Fifth, and probably most important, the federal government has made clear to speculators everywhere that Goldman will never be allowed to fail — so take all the risks you want, for taxpayers will cover your losses. This is truly a priceless subsidy.

Honesty has long been a stranger in Wall Street circles — but even there, surely there's a tiny residue of honor that would compel them to admit that any bonus money should go to hard-pressed taxpayers, not to Wall Street's welfare kings.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

3



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Jim Hightower
Nov. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Newspaper ContributorsUpdated 24 Nov 2014
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 24 Nov 2014
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 23 Nov 2014

9 Nov 2011 Don't Just Salute Veterans, Rally With Them

17 Dec 2008 Bush Gives Lump of Coal to People of Appalachia

9 Apr 2008 Big-Spending George