Pigs at the Trough: Wall Street Takes a Bonus Anyway

Wall Street Pigs at the Trough

Wall Street Pigs at the Trough

In late December, ex-CEO John Thain snuck in $15 billion worth of Merrill Lynch bonus payments to executives and employees a month earlier than usual.  He did this while his merger partner to-be Bank of America was in Washington telling officials that a $20 billion rescue package was essential for survival.

The fact that anyone at Merrill Lynch, a firm that lost roughly $65 billion of it’s own and it’s shareholder’s money since 2008, even utters the word bonus is, in and of itself, appalling.  Are you complete sociopaths or do you simply not know what the word bonus even means?

Noun

bonus (plural bonuses)

  1. Something extra that is good
  2. An extra sum given as a premium, e.g. to an employee

Here’s the deal, vampires, bonus is from the Latin, meaning good.  What good have you done lately that you believe you are deserving of any kind of bonus?  Are you kidding?  Are we all just being “Punk’d“?  Is Ashton Kutcher about to pop out of The Federal Reserve building with a camera crew?

And before someone tries to argue that the bonus is a part of people’s pay that they rely on, I’ll just say too bad.  All of these bonuses over the past 5 years were paid based on the obscene leverage being used to artificially inflate profits at the Wall Street circus anyway.  The vast sums paid to executives and employees from all that leverage was undeserved then, so I sure hope they saved some of it for now.

While the swines drove up the price of everything from martinis to Manhattan apartments , no one stopped to ask how everyone else felt about it.  Well, the rest of us don’t really care about what perks and bonuses they were relying on.

As one of my clients, far-removed from The Street, remarked to me just yesterday:

“We all went along with the program and did what the government told us.  We put our money in 401k’s, even factory workers did.  Many of these people can never work long enough to replace what’s been lost over the last year.”

I read recently that over $2 trillion in 401k retirement savings has disappeared this year.  The fact that TARP money isn’t being used to work it’s way into the economy for the benefit of regular Americans who’ve been decimated is a disgrace.  To learn that it’s being distributed to the very bankers and traders that got us into this mess as a bonus?  Well, now we may be talking about the biggest crime ever committed, making Bernie Madoff look like a two-bit pool hustler.

Wall Street is and has always been filled with some of the hardest working and smartest people the world has to offer, so it’s unfortunate that for some, there was never enough money and the concept of risk aversion was tossed by the wayside.  The few ruined the market and the economy for the many.

So take your bonus, pig.  But know that the best revenge for a Type-A personality like yourself is coming soon:  The realization that you have peaked.  You will never be able to make that much money, with that little responsibility, ever again.

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