Saturday, October 18, 2008

Feathering their own nests

We're in the middle of a financial crisis at the moment which has seen trillions of dollars of imaginary wealth evaporate, and the US government bailing out its banks to the tune of US$700 billion in an effort to prevent the whole financial house of cards from collapsing. So you'd think the wall Street fatcats who had driven those banks to (and sometimes past) the point of bankruptcy would at least be losing their bonuses, right?


Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup will pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted widespread criticism. The government cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay will be curbed.

Bonuses are up across the board, despite some of these institutions having halved in value. And they're paying for it with public money. At Citigroup, they received US$25 billion from the bailout - and are paying out US$25.9 billion in salaries and bonuses. The bailout is disappearing straight into the pockets of the greedy scumbags who caused this problem in the first place.

This is simply obscene, on a par with Marie Antoinette's apocryphal "qu'ils mangent de la brioche". Which begs the question: why are we letting them get away with it?