Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Now, The Squalid Spectacle of MultiMillionaires Scrambling for End-of-Year Payouts

America’s super-rich look forward to a merry Christmas

By Rick Kelly
3 December 2004

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America’s corporate elite is preparing to reward itself with another round of massive end-of-year bonuses. For the ultra-wealthy, these multimillion-dollar payouts are considered an appropriate and well deserved reward for another profitable year of operations.

A report in the New York Times on Monday noted that the Christmas bonuses for Wall Street’s executives, bankers and traders are expected to be 10 to 15 percent higher than those of last year. These bonuses now typically constitute the bulk of a Wall Street professional’s earnings.

“In 2003, Lloyd S. Blankfein, the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs made $20.1 million; only $600,000 of that was salary,” the Times explained. “Similarly, E. Stanley O’Neal, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, made $500,000 in salary, but received a bonus of $13.5 million and restricted stock worth $11.2 million more.”

So-called “superstar” traders and investment bankers are also in line for lucrative bonuses. These are individuals who have generated revenue for their firms of more than $25 million this year, through the trading of stocks, commodities and bonds. Wall Street’s “superstars” can expect to receive bonuses of $5-15 million.

These payments underscore the extent to which the fortunes of the upper echelon of the corporate world have become divorced from the trajectory of the real economy. The process of determining bonuses, the Times noted, is “harrowingly subjective” and “highly political.” “It’s campaign season on Wall Street,” an unnamed top executive told the newspaper.

Bankers and traders are now engaged in furtive efforts to secure the largest possible bonuses. They tell their employers that other companies have been offering them huge salaries if they switch sides, and offer exaggerated accounts of the lucrative deals and trades they have cut for their companies over the past 12 months. (“When you add everyone’s numbers, you have more revenues than the entire investment bank,” a global head of trading at a major Wall Street firm declared.)

One cannot help but be disgusted by this squalid spectacle. For these individuals, already multimillionaires, the scramble to maximize their payout is largely driven by the concern for status and prestige within a milieu that exalts wealth and excess above all else.

Meanwhile, millions of ordinary American families will struggle to even afford a decent Christmas dinner. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs this year, and millions more live under the threat of unemployment. Even for those with jobs, rising fuel and food prices have made it increasingly difficult to get by.



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