RICH EXECUTIVES: STILL GREEDY, ARROGANT SCUM WHO THINK WE DON'T HAVE A SUFFICIENT APPRECIATION OF THEIR BRILLIANCE
The real affront to decent people everywhere in this New York Times article isn't the lede:
By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street -- except, that is, when the bonuses arrived.
Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.
That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the New York State comptroller....
It's that, while Wall Street bonuses fell 44% last year (why not 100%? why not givebacks, fer crissake?), elsewhere in Execustan they actually rose:
Outside the financial industry, many corporate executives received fatter bonuses in 2008, even as the economy lost 2.6 million jobs. According to data from Equilar, a compensation research firm, the average performance-based bonuses for top executives, other than the chief executive, at 132 companies with revenues of more than $1 billion increased by 14 percent, to $265,594, in the 2008 fiscal year.
Are you a recently laid-off non-CEO? Or are you a survivor of a round of layoffs who's now doing more work for no more pay because of a companywide wage freeze? Well, suck on that, peasant!
Oh, and the Wall Streeters want to know why they're looking at a compensation down arrow at all:
On Wall Street, where money is the ultimate measure, some employees apparently feel slighted by their diminished bonuses. A poll of 900 financial industry employees released on Wednesday by eFinancialCareers.com, a job search Web site, found that while nearly eight out of 10 got bonuses, 46 percent thought they deserved more.
Yes, I know: elsewhere in the Times there's this article about a decline in sales of corporate jets. But even in that story there's a catch:
... Mr. Nisbet of JSA Research said that the makers of smaller corporate jets were hurting more than companies selling bigger jets.
Indeed, General Dynamics, the parent company of Gulfstream, reported higher fourth-quarter profits Wednesday at Gulfstream as a result of strong 2008 sales.
The plane maker's fourth-quarter profits rose 25 percent, to $264 million. It expects to deliver 124 planes in 2009, down from 156. But this drop will be offset by the fact that more of them will be bigger, high-end models. The company has a backlog of 246 orders for the next two and a half years.
These bigger jets, Mr. Nisbet said, "are often bought by billionaires who can dole out $55 million for a plane and fly it off."
How should the rest of us respond? Confiscatory taxation? 100% clawbacks of bonuses paid to executives of banks that got TARP money? Consumer and large-pension-fund boycotts of companies that lavish cash on executives as millions of non-execs lose jobs?
All of the above, I'd say. And while we're at it, it probably wouldn't hurt to gather together a few torch-wielding mobs.
UPDATE: Wow, Rupert Murdoch's New York Post really knows how to lie with statistics. Here's a Post headline:
WALL STREET BONUSES DROP TO LOWEST IN 30 YEARS
Here's part of the text that follows (emphasis mine):
...Bonuses paid by financial firms to their New York City employees tumbled a record 44 percent in the last year....
The drop reflects the largest decline in the local bonus pool in more than 30 years....
If bonuses had their largest decline in thirty years, that doesn't mean they're the lowest in thirty years. Far from it. As the Times story on bonuses notes:
... employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.
That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the New York State comptroller.
While the payouts paled next to the riches of recent years, Wall Street workers still took home about as much as they did in 2004, when the Dow Jones industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high.
Slick work, Rupe.