The same day that the comptroller’s office assured the public that Wall Street was on track for its second-best year ever, Bloomberg reports that Lloyd Blankfein and his top deputies are preparing to collect bonuses worth $111.3 million in stock. Mr. Happy Face will receive about $24.3 million, and Goldman president Gary Cohn will get about $24 million. But before you rev up your engines, these behemoth bonuses aren’t from this year, when employment has yet to bounce back from Wall Street’s financial tangle. These bonuses are delayed payoff from last year and 2007. You remember 2007, right? That was the year Goldman settled with the SEC for $550 million over mortgage-security fraud charges. Come to think of it, 2007 was also just before Goldman took $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury, which must have helped because last year it posted a record $13.4 billion in profit. As for Wall Street at large, overall bonus payments are likely to be smaller than last year, with Morgan Stanley warning some employees of a 10 percent to 30 percent drop in the size of their bonus checks. But since the financial sector has yet to replace all the jobs it shedded, the comptroller’s report predicted that average bonuses will probably be higher. Not that they can throw themselves a party or anything.
To protest the findings from another bonuses report released today, local community leaders gathered in front of the New York Stock Exchange to stage a mock crime scene. The report, from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), says that the country’s six largest banks are on track to pay out $143 billion in bonuses, benefits, and compensation, with Bank of America at the top of the list with $35 billion in bonuses and compensation. On the heels of a Bloomberg poll showing that more than 70 percent of Americans think Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts should ban bonuses, the protesters sang carols like “Oh Stockbroker, Oh Stockbroker, Why Are You So Greedy?” A Christmas classic! Loretta Manning from Community Voices Heard, who joined the protest, said, “After crashing our economy and getting bailed out by taxpayers, Wall Street bankers are rewarding themselves and celebrating like nothing ever happened.”
The SEIU’s report points out that $143 billion would be “more than enough to fill the $130 billion total budget gap for all 50 states.” That’s a swell thought, but they know that’s not how that works, right? If they don’t get their bonuses, it’s not like we can divvy them up amongst ourselves.
Goldman Execs to Get $111 Million in 2007, 2009 Bonuses [Bloomberg]
Don’t Worry About Wall Street: Profit and Pay Outlook Still Rosy [WSJ]
$143 Billion in Bonuses Is A Crime! [Showdown in America]