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Are You Outraged by $18 Billion in Wall Street Bonuses?

If you still manage to have a job on Wall Street, you might not realize that the good ol' days are over. Yesterday news broke that Wall Street bankers gave themselves $18.4 billion in bonuses last year — that's the same amount they received in 2004. President Obama angrily reacted, saying:

That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful, and part of what we’re going to need is for folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility. The American people understand that we’ve got a big hole that we’ve got to dig ourselves out of, but they don’t like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they’re being asked to fill it up.

Obama continued by complaining that his office shouldn't have had to pressure CitiBank against buying a $50 million private jet, because "they should know better."

The big bonuses shouldn't come as a surprise. In October, Time reported that thanks to the government's help, bankers and traders wouldn't face dismal cuts in bonuses. Without help, they could have seen bonus compensation drop 70 percent.


Join The Conversation
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Wow. I'm glad that I am losing my apartment because my hours have been cut so bad at work that I can no longer afford ANYTHING, and these people are still getting bonuses. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
jackiered jackiered 8 years
What about this whopper of a so-called stimulus package? The Wall Street fiasco dwarfts in comparison to the amount of pork the government now wants to spend that will NOT stimulate the economy...Hey, its the taxpayers money ya'll. Think the outrage should be aimed at that debacle before it gets passed. We need the money given back to us so we can use it which will build our economy- not the other way around!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
The whole thing is outrageous! I can't believe any of the situation. It's ridiculous. I highly believe that people should not be able to give themselves bonuses, obviously that is setting you up for problems.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I don't know. I wonder if the word bonus is misleading. Technically, about one third of what I get paid is bonus, but it;s like tips for a waitress or commissions for a salesman. it's an expected part of my income,
Katie-Kat398180 Katie-Kat398180 8 years
These corporations are about to go under, some actually have gone under, the economy as a whole is terrible, thousands are losing their jobs and they still give themselves HUGE bonuses?!? It makes no sense whatsoever. How do these people sleep at night?
jackiered jackiered 8 years
awful to hear about Wall Street but it pales in comparison to the pork in the so-called Stimulus package.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
If they're getting bonuses like that there shouldn't be a bailout
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yeah, that sounds about right.
stephley stephley 8 years
Well Jude, they were going to give them out for a job well done, but it was just impossible to find anyone that fit that standard so they lowered the bar a little, to bonuses for 'didn't rat the company out to Congress'.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
... Aren't bonuses supposed to be for a job well done?
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I'm with you until here 'this latest stimulus package is not going to help the economy since all the money we are spending is ultimately going toward other countries'. This stimulus is different, it invests in job creation and infrastructure and isn't a tax rebate (though there are some tax cuts for individuals and corporations). People are probably going to get sick of me quoting this guy, but I like Zandi's article ont he stimulus: 'The House Democratic plan proposed in mid-January includes both increases in government spending and tax cuts. The plan costs approximately $825 billion, equal to 5.5% of the nation's gross domestic product. This is not as costly as the public works projects of the 1930s, but it is costlier than the 3% of GDP spent to stimulate the economy during the tough downturn in the early 1980s. The cost of the current package would thus be consistent with expectations regarding the severity of this downturn. At 5.5% of GDP, the stimulus would also be about enough to ensure the economy stops contracting by the end of 2009 and that GDP returns to its prerecession peak by the end of 2010—reasonable goals. The mix of tax cuts and spending increases in the stimulus package is designed to provide both quick relief and a substantial boost to the struggling economy. The tax cuts will not pack a big economic punch, as some of the money will be saved and some used to repay debt, but they can be implemented quickly. Aid to state and local governments will not lift the economy, but it will forestall cuts in programs and payrolls that many governments would be forced to make to meet their states' constitutional obligations to balance their budgets. Infrastructure spending will not help the economy quickly, as it will take time to get even "shovel-ready" projects going, but it will provide a significant economic boost.' Here is the whole article -
gooniette gooniette 8 years
It's toward the end of the article: "In order to finance the last $168 billion stimulus package in February 2008, Congress actually had to borrow money from abroad. That's right: the package did not come from the vaults of the Treasury, but rather from foreign savers from Japan, China, Russia, and the Middle East. Politicians took out a loan that has to be repaid by taxpayers — with interest. Upon receiving their rebate checks in the mail, many Americans dutifully spent the money as told — shopping at places such as Walmart. Walmart in turn sent a large portion of the monies back to the original manufacturers in places like China. And the Chinese in turn used the money to buy more US Treasury debt." What I got out the article is that we are in debt far beyond our imaginations that even our grandchildren will not be able to pay for and this latest stimulus package is not going to help the economy since all the money we are spending is ultimately going toward other countries.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I just like many am upset with corporate waste & over zealous greed, it is a huge problem. Unfortunately it is the nature of the beast, what we cherish and protect as capitalism becomes it's own reward and poison. In addition to corporate waste I often think about general every day waste and the billions upon billions of $$$ we collaboratively waste as every day citizens each day. When you think about it the amount is staggering and literally dwarfs the puny 18 Billion dollars mentioned above. I think along with our frustration towards corporate over indulgence we need to also learn to be introspective in this area and learn to curb our own waste because collaboratively the savings would be out of this world.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
gooniette, do you want to let me know what you got out of this article and how it relates to the current stimulus? I'm curious.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Like Stephley said... this "talent" helped to create this financial disaster. If the lack of bonuses means that the "talent" leaves, so be it.
gooniette gooniette 8 years
mydiadem, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not by saying that we have to spend ourselves out the depression we're in. But if you are serious, please read this article: All the money that we are borrowing to "stimulate" our economy is going back to the countries that manufacture the products we're buying.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
right outrage, you stimulate and create jobs by spending. The tax cuts will do little. I feel like I'm going to cirlces here and have been posting about this over and over and over. Groundhog day.
stephley stephley 8 years
Sorry Mydiadem - just duplicated your effort!
stephley stephley 8 years
From August, 2008, Reuters News: "The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005. More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said. During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study...The GAO said corporations escaped paying federal income taxes for a variety of reasons including operating losses, tax credits and an ability to use transactions within the company to shift income to low tax countries. With the U.S. budget deficit this year running close to the record $413 billion that was set in 2004 and projected to hit a record $486 billion next year, lawmakers are looking to plug holes in the U.S. tax code and generate more revenues. The study showed about 28 percent of large foreign corporations, those with more than $250 million in assets, doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes in 2005 despite $372 billion in gross receipts, the senators said. About 25 percent of the largest U.S. companies paid no federal income taxes in 2005 despite $1.1 trillion in gross sales that year, they said.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I think this is great. When you get the government in bed with corporations, nothing good will come of it.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I only bring this up because I had a few discussions about the stimulus bill with friends and relatives. Some say that lowering the corporate tax rate will stimulate the economy, and I'm dubious.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I just did a quick search and here is what I found, its not the same thing I read though.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
"Yet people still think we need more tax breaks for corporations and it will trickle down in our economy. 25% of big corporations pay no taxes right now." The vast majority of corporations that don't pay taxes have net losses and thus no income to tax.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
I've *never* heard that, even when I worked doing taxes and read the CPA journal and the other publications which were always being sent to the partners, which is why I ask.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Ah crap, I don't remember chaton. I read it somewhere a couple months ago.
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