I have spent the day gathering the shards of our broken and disfunctional society and seeing if I can put anything together that actually tells us everything will turn out OK. The people who run things in NYC – Wall Street types – seem to think there will be no suspension of government. Whether they are overestimating the intelligence of the GOP is another question. It seems to come down to how much the GOP is willing to sacrifice to beat Obama. And, as I say that, I know that, if the GOP stonewalls to the point of a shut-down, they will be just as defeated as they appear to be now. The sad thing is that there seems to be no GOP percentage in being patriotic and decent. The only thing Obama can do from now on is play hardball and see what gives, if anything. You can read more of all this at the link below.
I suppose that every politician must suffer brickbats, but sometimes I wonder. Poor John Boehner may regret having sold hos soul to big oil and Wall Street.
The story is not about how many cheers the President should get or about a populist makeover. The measures the President advocates are merely part of a total package that had to include exactly what has already taken place. When history is written, Obama will prove to have been largely correct not only in substance but in timing. The commentary on his Presidency has not proceeded on this premise and has therefore had more the character of fish wrapping than sage analysis, whether from left or right
I am sure most of you saw the clip of Senator Claire McCaskill being the first major figure, save the President, to throw more than a modest challenge at the criminal excess that has dominated Wall Street. Now there is a bit of thinking being applied to this frontal attack.
When Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) Friday called Wall Street executives “idiots” for using taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses, then proposed that compensation for the employees of all bailout recipients be capped at $400,000 per year, it surely seemed to many Americans like an obvious limit to place on the Wall Street banks and executives now looking for handouts from the federal government. After all, how much hardship can it be to limit your senior executives to earning no more than the president of the United States, who’s now burdened with trying to get us all out of this dire economic situation that those reckless, voracious bankers got us into?
But why stop there? The shrinking economy has led to mass layoffs across the country in virtually all sectors, at such venerable companies as Caterpillar, Home Depot, Sprint, Microsoft, Nextel, Texas Instruments and Starbucks. There’s hardly a company or industry that isn’t embarking on large-scale layoffs these days.
So what about looking at what the executives in those companies make? How many of them are earning more than $400,000?
Well, the departing CEO of Sprint, for example, reportedly made more than $21 million in 2007, and that doesn’t count his severance package, which was apparently worth more than twice that much. The AFL-CIO has put together a terrific database on executive compensation that allows you to check the top 1500 companies in the United States, and compare your own salary to the chief executive’s.
I am not sure how long I will continue this series. But we should have some info on the depth and scope of the bonus issue. President Obama has deemed the Wall Street bonuses shameful.
How prevalent were they and who got them? Here from Forbes, the first installment.
Study Says 80% Of Wall Street Got 2008 Bonus
Maurna Desmond, 01.28.09, 06:40 PM EST
Merrill’s John Thain wasn’t the only one handing out the checks last year.
Recently axed Merrill Lynch chief John Thain is getting lynched for handing out some $3 to $4 billion in bonuses to employees just before the firm merged with Bank of America. But Thain wasn’t the only one handing our checks last year.
While 2008 was a devastating time for investors, 79% of Wall Street workers received bonuses, according to a study by employment Web site efinancialcareers.com.
“Following one of the most tumultuous years in financial history, smart people who did good work deserve to be recognized,” said John Benson, the site’s founder. “The future of the financial services industry may be opaque, but the industry has a vital role to play in the global economy–and that requires talent.”
Of the talented masters of the universe surveyed, a little less than half, or 46%, took home the same or more than the previous year. The jump in compensation most frequently rose less than 10% year-over-year, while those who made less than they did in 2007 usually took a hit between 31% and 50%. Keep in mind, the S&P index fell 38.5% under their watchful eye last year.
Last year’s bonuses only satisfied 26% of respondents, and 46% were “at a minimum dissatisfied with their bonus.” Of those expressing their great displeasure, nearly nine in 10 had been on Wall Street for five years or less.
It gets worse. More than half of respondents said they’d be job hunting this year; 20% said they are unhappy in their role and 10% say their jobs are likely to be eliminated altogether. Not surprisingly, 39% said they’d be “open to a better opportunity.”
Better than getting paid to lose other people’s money? Try spending it. The federal government is hiring.