Bing Blog

How Green Are Our Bankers

Green Suit

An analysis by the Wall Street Journal today reveals that the pay received by bankers for the horrible year of 2009 -- the year of bailouts and foreclosures and bankruptcies -- will be up 18% to $145 billion. This factoid will be a double thumb in the eye for the gang in Washington now trying to figure out how to re-regulate the greedy little mothers and fathers of our economy.

President Obama didn't parse his words on this one: "I'd urge you to cover the costs of the rescue," he said yesterday, "not by sticking it to your shareholders or your customers or fellow citizens with the bill, but by rolling back bonuses for the top earners."

To which Wall Street will reply with a resounding "Pffffffffffffft."

Now, it's easy to be critical of the Men in Gray, the hairless ones, the guys in the $1,200 shoes. But if somebody offered YOU a check for $25,000,000, wouldn't you figure out a way to accept it without regret? People are like that. You give them a little bit of money and they say, "I should be getting more." You give them a whole bale of green, and they say to themselves, quite seriously, "Why should I be the only one not to be receiving fair value for my significant contributions around here? I produced value for... somebody. If I don't take this, Krumholtz will." Because there's always a Krumholtz.

Some kind of regulatory reform is certainly necessary, not only having to do with compensation but with the whole way that the culture operates -- including the way we invest, borrow, and save. There are just a few of them, really, dividing that $145 billion. There are a lot of us. We create the need for them. They're happy to oblige, of course, but they couldn't exist without our fatuous and outlandish dreams of wealth and acquisition.

So like I said. It's easy to be all red in the face about the situation. It's easy to give them what for. It's easy to rail at Congress and the Fed and the President and all the bozos past, present, and future who don't foresee the bubbles or simply drink too much of them. But what would you do?

I'm asking seriously. What regulations and controls would you now institute that we don't already have? I'm sure there are some. I, for instance, would re-institute the concepts in the Glass-Steagall Act. I'm not sure what they were, even, but their elimination by Bill Clinton seems to have been a bad idea. I would do something about the SEC, too. They're generally after companies who don't punctuate their 10Ks correctly, while Bernie Madoff drops by for a little chat about standards and practices. That's ridiculous.

Beyond that? Would controlling compensation really do anything to protect the public? Or would it just punish the obnoxious super-rich we despise? Yes, it would feel very good to say, "You! Fatso! Gimme back that bonus!" So maybe that's something we should do. Feeling good is important, too.

Then what should we do? Huh?

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Real simple. If your bank took any federal money (regardless of whether it paid it back or not) cut the bonuses. The only reason these fat cats even have a job that can pay these obscene bonuses is because of the misquided "to bog to fail" federal policy and the resulting ill concieved and totally unthoughtout bailout without even minimal rules in place to avoid the abuse.

Congress needed to find the stones to say "no" a second time. They didn't, but that still doesn't change the fact that taxpayers saved these greedy (and exceedingly stupid) bankers butts. They haven't "created value" or anything else meriting those bonuses. Perhaps they should wake up and realize that before we find a few of them hanging from tree limbs.

Since banking is so easy, why don't more taxpayers become investment bankers to reclaim the money that was supposedly stolen from them? It's an honest question. Some people might feign moral superiority and say they would never stoop to that profession, and some might say the real prerequisites for entering the industry have nothing to do with competence and everything to do with social connections and good breeding. I think the former objection is dishonest for the vast majority of people, and looking around my office right now, I can tell you that the latter is not true.

Most regulations are to either limit the relative amount of debt or prevent deceptive contracts. Detailed, reactive regulations on these principles are circumvented by clever people. Which is why we need simple regulations enforced by clever people. Instead we keep doing the opposite.

I for one, am a true believer that compensation should be regulated by shareholders as owners of the company. The shareholders should be realizing the gain, not the employee. Shareholders are taking profitability risks, the employee does not. The job description should have a salary cap and performance bonus cap assigned to it. If all investment companies and banks had these salary and bonus caps any new applicant would find it standardized within their industry and it would no longer be an issue of "dangling carrots" to attract the best talent. All talent would find their salary within the same range from firm to firm, thus resolving the problem. Greed has become an excuse for obtaining performance, it need not be so. If a bonus is paid at all, it should be paid equally to all employees of the company from the president down to the floor sweeper instead of just to the "golden boys".

Red Russia and Red China tried to control the greed of their bankers by shooting them in the back if their heads. That did not produce the desired result. The bankers simply died out in these counties. With banking system destroyed, both China and Russia slid to the bottom of the economic hill. The economy needs efficient circulation of money, as provided by Wall street in the US. One possible way to properly control behavior of financial company management is to force them to keep significant (over 75%) of their assets invested in the common stock of that company, and limiting severely vesting rights for the first 10 years after their resignation or retirement.
...One afterthought - these Wall street guys are VERY smart sharks, and will find the way around this and any other barrier between them and wealth. Perhaps, the government should toss into the waters a hook baited with bloody hunk of cash now and then, and pull out a few sharks to be put on a show trial. I think it is called "culling".

how about the american auto industry which has received governement protection and subsidies for years and to this day proves to still be unstable and unsound? People are just upset with banks but they forget they are service providers who do so for PROFIT. TARP was not controlled well by our government and had a lack of fore thought in its creation and distribution. Dont drink the evil empire cool aid. Banks have their best interest at hand and should as they are publicly held companies. WE as a society allowed this behavior and continue to do business in this manner by CHOICE. Have some self accountability.

I'd make it so all those bonuses would be in company stock and take 5 years to 'vest' (that is, they'd take 5 years to become salable and spendable.)

This would do two things:

1) It would make the bonusees much more concerned about the health of the institution long term. I mean, for these trade-a-billion-a- minute guys next quarter is the far future, and next year is forever. Let's expand their horizons a bit!

2) It would encourage the old codgers to move on. If you won't get your goodies for 5 years -- heck, you could be dead by then. Pull in your winnings and enjoy them while you can still breathe on your own!

I am glad that you so willfully assume that everyone that works at a NY based financial institution and who gets a "bonus" (which is really most of our compensation) is super rich and obnoxious.

Its this kind of biased, opinion based reporting that panders to public opinion vs. taking the time to really understand how 99.9% of the people are compensated in the industry. Sure maybe 20-30 execs. are compensated at ridiculous levels at some firms. But please explain how this mgt. comp. compares to other industries first.

The truth is 99% of the employees at these firms are just working their asses off just like every other American and are not rich and need their annual "bonus" (READ - deferred compensation), just to meet the bills. But hey why present the facts when we can lump everyone together and create public backlash?

You know what, Bob CT? You're right. I would also bet that the $145 billion is parsed out rather inequitably, with the top 50 executives receiving the lion's share. I think if you read the posting a little more carefully, like all the way to the end, you'll see that I think the focus on compensation is a shallow and easy way for people to feel like somebody is doing something. On a personal note, if I didn't get my bonus I couldn't live. So in essence I'm only suspicious of bonuses that are way bigger than mine.

How about no caps on compensation and no gov't bailouts AND possible BAN from working in an industry if you bring down your company.

10,000 bank employees and thousands of shareholders should be looking at upper level management and the traders, not the US Gov't.

Stop the madness of privatizing profits and socializing losses.

I believe that the French had an adequate solution to a very similar problem they had in 1789.

It's pretty obvious that CEOs' have some type of training school, don't they?

Perhaps General McCrystal can intervene with some suggestions about the basic diciplines of survival; their current training is inadequate at the moment, and the prognosis really looks bad for them; it's like they shot themselves in the foot trying to evade disclosures. They need some help quickly to stop the bleeding; we wouldn't want to see them get anemic, would we?

They just don't realize how pale they look: especially, to the bloodhounds in the current mini Nuremburg tribunal taking place at the moment.

Nobody panics to save the victims pushed out on that ice flow heading "South" do they?

Government should reveals all families photos, address and assets to the public, if they won't give up bonus for next five years. If they lend such money to small business or companies or homeowners, how many jobs can we create and how many houses can we save? People lost or are losing houses or jobs because of such greedy guys.

They earned it, they deserve it. Gee, I wonder if a "green" business who receives huge government subsidies and tax credits will be allowed to pay bonuses. I'm sure there would be no questions asked!!

Bing, you and Bob are on the right track. You need your bonus, but why should the top guys get so much more? If the CEO of a major company dropped dead today, the company would keep running just fine.

Why not spread the compensation farther down the line to the people who actually do some work? If they all dropped dead, that CEO would be 'up the creek' big time.

There are very few “independent” directors in this nation. The CEO, who is usually Chairman of the Board, selects the slate of directors who will be voted on by shareholders and they are almost always elected. Then when that group is assembled, it establishes its own pay levels based upon “compensation surveys” and other purportedly objective criteria (unless they really don’t even care about appearances, like some companies). This process of establishing board compensation is led by the head of the directors’ compensation committee (again, usually nominated by the Chairman/CEO). Then when the Chairman/CEO has all his director buddies richly compensated and fully satisfied, that group of directors then establishes the compensation for the CEO (again based upon compensation surveys). Of course, banker CEOs recommend vast sums for their lieutenants and down the line. These compensation surveys are really a hoax in that everyone is always compared to the highest compensated example they can find –so it is an ever-increasing upward spiral of $comparables. It is a mutual back scratching contest of extreme proportions. Anyone who thinks the compensation of the directors and CEO of a corporation is a matter of free market competition really doesn’t understand how the system works. It really is a matter of how much you can grab without shocking the conscience –which these days is pretty much a non-existent standard. There is no longer any sense of shame. In private companies all this is fine –but in public companies and particularly Wall Street banks that touch our financial system, this is not fine. I really don’t know what the alternative is to this broken system. An extreme 90% tax on Wall Street bonuses this year would be just fine with me. I also kind of the like the idea of show trials . . . .

The Stockholders own the company and decide the bonus.If you do not like the fat cats do not invest. Put your money under the mattress.
If I own stock in a company I want a fat cat running it just like I want a star on my ballcub. Thats how you win. Be careful if you want to change how the game is played and make sure it is still competive. Remember what is good for the goose is good for the gander. How much do we want Washington to run our lives.

I disagree with the comment made by SE of New York. I have been in the investment banking industry for over twenty five years and it is a fact that it is who you know, what connections, what ivy league schools you went to and relationships you have that get you the job!!!! I watch on a daily basis our salespeople make their ten calls in the morning and sit around most of the afternoon doing nothing but personal phone calls or business. Yet the really hard workers are the staff people not the line people who sometimes received nothing in bonuses. When highly connected people lose their jobs they are go from one job to another without skipping a paycheck,regardless of their skills. They just happen to know the right people. Yet other less connected but hard working,highly skilled people are still looking for a position in the industry! The people in this industry are well over-compensated for what they do and I hope that President Obama imposes salary and bonus caps for Wall Street. However, I know these bankers will find a way to circumvent any caps that the government imposes. Look at the Banks new fees on consumers!!


I pay more, by percentage, for my labor in taxes than their money earning money.. is that fair? I'll never be able to afford a Bentley, I've never even bought a NEW car before. I 'll probably never have a second home.. keeping my first one is my priority right now! Why should you be concerned that a person who's money is making money, but not really producing anything tangible like my labor, be taxed at the same rate than me?

About the only way to get them back is by not doing business with them (your fired), but who else is out there that isn't greedy. Based on what I see now is maybe they should have let them least we would not be getting pissed seeing them get super bonuses after we...the people...bailed their buts out.

We have to look at what we can control, or we'll just go insane worrying about stuff we can't do anything about. Since the only thing that matters to the big bankers is how much money they can personally drain from the system, I simply refuse to let them anywhere near my money. That's truly the only language they understand. I bank where I know the CEO.

On a national basis, what would that mean for how the government deals with banks? First off, there would be no more of this "too big to fail" crap. If they fail, then they fail. But first, we have to get a majority of politicians to grow cajones large enough to reject the campaign contributions of the filthy rich. So, focusing only on what we can control, start asking some real pointed questions of your elected representatives, and find out why they fail to endorse aggressive regulation and maximum penalties.

If bankers want to be treated like honest businessmen (i.e., with minimum regulation), then they need to first start acting like honest businessmen. Until then, don't trust them any further than you can throw them.

Money? They can EARN all the money they want. I don't care. But lately, they've just been stealing it.

Any fees or charges will simply be passed on to the borrower and the bankers' profits will keep ballooning. Regulations are about preventing yesterday's crimes; the bankers and their shysters will just conspire with the politicos on the take to get around any regulations. Short of throwing the bums in jail (not Club Fed but general prison population) there is not much we can do. The game is rigged against us.


The stockholders have no say at all in the bonuses. They have little to no say in the makeup of the board. The only time a stockholder gets any say is if they are a large investor like Ichan. Everyone else gets to suck eggs.

If you don't beleive me, buy a stock an participate in the joke meetings. Oh, you get to vote for a board member ? Joy ! There is one open seat, and EXACTLY one name to vote for, decided by the CEO and the existing board. Don't expect the newcomer to make any waves, as they have been pre-vetted, and owe their position to exactly the people they are supposed to keep an eye on.

Shareholders have little if any say in any part of a large company. This is a sham, and it is also a sham when someone justifies the bullshit by saying the shareholders want this. Bull crap. As a shareholder, I want this money either paid as a dividend, or re-invested into the productive part of the company. Gigantic bonuses are not productive. Once Mr. Fatcat has $100 million, the extra million in bonus money is a very tiny incentive indeed. Indeed, with their recent record, the large bonuses paid out are entirely unjustified, and are leading to less productivity. Failure is cheap.

Sucking on government teat should not be the mostly highly rewarded behavior.

Isn't the basic theory of economics high risk = high rewards. If a bankers job is so easy and anyone can do it (hence they should be paid equally), why isn't everyone doing it.

It takes talent. Just like the NFA football players so the NBA basketball players, it takes talent and very few can do it.

There is a reason why they're issuing a big bonus. They have talented people who worked extremely hard in 2009. If they didn't have their employees, they would be in the same boat as Bear Stearns, Lehman or Merrill Lynch.

If anyone should say no to the bonus, it should be the board of directors.

The public should quit complaining and move on!

The first rule of governing in a free society is the consent of the governed.

My understanding is that investment banking has a cornucopia of rules and regulations. So the problem is not with the law, it is with the adherence to law.

For all the veneer of civilization, it is as its always been, let's go get us some of that.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, will never change.

Wall Street is merely the Lesser Angels of our Nature, on steroids.

I think there is too much focus on compensation here. People wouldn't care what these bankers got paid if when they made mistakes their institutions were allowed to go out of business. The problem is these institutions were not allowed to go out of business, which has made many upset, and that is the problem that needs fixing.
To fix that problem I think we need to re-separate commercial and investment banks as well as limit the size of these institutions. There are certainly downsides to this approach, but bubbles and systemic risk are not detected until it's too late, so I don't see another way.
One other change I would make is to make all investment banks private. People will generally act in their own best interest, and I have a feeling that bankers' risk appetite as well as their pay structure would be very different if it was truly their own money that was being used and not that of a bunch of shareholders that they don't know.
That being said, there is one thing that I do find hard to understand about bankers’ compensation and that is that it doesn’t seem to take into account outside forces that have large impacts on a bank’s ability to make money. A good banker can work equally as hard and smart in two different years, but will inevitably make more money in a year that has a steep yield curve and easy access to capital. I’m not sure why the banker’s salary should change between these two years if their work is the same. The difference in their results has nothing to do with them at all.

The thing that seesm to be missing is this. There has to be something inside these guys that says "Come on, people are hurting and I caused part of that. I made a bonus from the low rates and loans from the AMERICAN people. How could i take a HUGE bonus for that?" Then again, as Sorkin said in the TIMES, these guys think they are survivors of an assult not of their own making. Guess the bonuses are combat pay. It's why I could never go into that business. There really is NO HUMANITY on Wall Street. They have the "If I could sell my daughter as a hooker to get leverage on a deal, I would" kind of attitude.

@ C. Illinois: Unless "Illinois" is your last name, you're not an investment banker.

Of course, the question the article raises presupposes that Scrooge McDuck would be in need of TARP money!


Scrooge never took hand-outs!

He made his money the honest way: by being smarter than the smarties and sharper than the sharpies!

Find it interesting that I post a comment that is offensive because I dare to say that the Wall Street CEO's have little to no self accountability and it gets removed. Oh well.....

I don't know, Bob. I don't remember what you said. But I only remove comments that are flagrantly profane or overly hateful. As you can see from those that are published, my tolerance level is pretty high.

Borrow $100 Billion (with a B) from the discount window at almost 0%. Make a 10B down payment using mark to model toxic assets.

Loan it out on credit cards at 30% interest.

Collect far less than the average fees, say 10% of revenue.

Expect that with 10% unemployment, fully 10% of your loans will never be paid back, even with careful underwriting standards.

(from 10B down :)
100B from discount window
-10B bad loans
+27B interest collected
+2.7B fees collected
roll over fed loans as needed
19.7B collected is divided into
7.88B compensation pool
7.88B other expenses
3.94B "profit" which is a 39% return on the initial 10B down for your investors.

Tell everyone how smart you are and that you deserve a $50 million paycheck. Justify it by talking about risk, even though you personally didn't risk a single thing. Talk about the free market, despite borrowing money below market rates from the Fed using mark-to-model prices for you down payment.

Wait for July 14th.

Excuse me, but where are the financial institution shareholders in this whole mess. As owner's shouldn't they exercise a bit of oversight on compensation? If the employees get it, it doesn't go to the shareholders. I know there is a crappy thing called the board of directors in between, but VOTE THE BUMS OUT if they go along with these comp packages. If the bankers getting the money are partners (ie. owners) then more power to em.

When annual bonuses become the major part of one's compensation then conditions are ripe for shortsighted and self-serving CEO decision do indeed attract the kind of individual that would pimp out their own daughter if the price is right.

I'd like to see some extensive criminalization of such corporate behavior, and it ought to extend to the boards of directors. These scumbags deserve to suffer some serious consequences, and the only ones you'll see defending these turds are snotty little bootlickers that envision themselves one day gorging at the same trough.

I guess a better question to ask is (to paraphrase one of the former president's 'Bushisms'...."Is our bankers learning?"....I think the answer is quite obvious. They've learned that we think they're too big to let fail, we'll always bail them out with taxpayer money, and they'll always be incensed that the money comes with a few strings which time they'll miraculously return said funds.

When this happens again, and it will, we really need to let the chips fall where they may.....because the creative destruction of these institutions failing (and the generation of sustained popular rage) when the entire ponzi scheme falls will generate true shifts in how we allow corporations to function.

Will it kill the 'golden goose' that has produced so much for America? I've got news for you.....for a great many people the 'golden goose' stopped laying eggs decades ago. Let havoc reign....

Why do people always complain about others? Jealousy.

There is really no other reason to hate on someone who makes a lot of money. People in America scream on about 'freedom' and 'capitalism'. But what they really want is infinite freedom and money for themselves. When someone else has more, there is a moral outcry for justice.

Money is the only good thing about America at this point. Everything else that we have here can be obtained in some other country through bribery or extortion.

If I were a rich banker, I would never feel guilty about taking a ton of money. Making the most money is what makes this country great.

Why else do people from all over come to America? They come to make as much money as possible. Why don't Americans understand this?

The American taxpayers would really like to see this oversight committee rupture the conformance attitude of Wall Street (silence); then instigate a transformance into a great performance that the American taxpayers deserve.

Our leaders are performing very poorly at the moment. People don't care about their personal lives, but they do care and demand a grand performance!

If the common man don't get no respect; then why should the self proclaimed prima donnas get any respect?

Performance talks and "bullshit" walks!


sorry if I missed your point. I am just so tired of reading articles that lumps everyone one in NY and the financial sector into one group and assumes we are all overpaid rich crooks. So maybe I misread your point. I agree that the top 1% get way too much. But those of us who live in NY and need our deferred compensation to pay the bills are getting really tired of being called the bad guys all over the country because the media uses the term "bonus" and because no one bothers to explain how the system works. Everyone also fails to explain cost of living differentials and the huge effective taxes we pay already when considering city, state and federal on top of huge sales tax percentages.

My solution would be to increase the tax rates on very high earners say above $1.5MM to a much higher rate because the current proposed caps of $250k are way too low and do not properly account for the huge cost of living differentials around the country.

That's okay, Bob CT. Believe me, I'm a big fan of middle management getting a nice bonus.

Yadgyu, money isn't the sole reason people come to America. Most Americans don't have a problem with people making vast amounts of money if it doesn't entail others, in aggregate, losing vast amounts of money. It's not necessarily a 'zero-sum' is quite possible to do well for one's self at the same time allowing others to do well.

For some reason, America has a tradition that it aspires to fulfill.....a concern for fairness. When individual or corporate greed imperils the general good it's offensive, and the rage that it generates is quite likely to produce unintended consequences.

Now if your premise is that one should 'never give a sucker an even break' (and I can easily demonstrate that we're all suckers about something important in one's life)...then you don't (and apparently a lot of business types don't) really understand much about America.

Bing, I trust that your concern for compensatory fairness extends below middle management and into the ranks (and I should add that having read your blog for some time, I'm sure it does).

Sure it does, Mike. Bonuses for all!

To say that all banks should be forced to cut bonuses because they took the TARP money is moronic. The banks are private businesses and the government should have no say as to what the banks do (assuming they paid bank their TARP obligations).

Just to remind everybody, the Fed mandated that all banks had to take TARP money regardless if they needed it or not because the Fed did not want the public to differentiate between weak and strong banks (and cause a subsequent run on the relatively weaker ones). Moreover, "main street" is so eager to dump on Wall Street, but how about some accountability on the part of the over-leveraged homeowners that took out loans that they couldn't afford.

Finally, many people are quick to point out that they banks benefitted from the TARP money and should now continue to pay fines/penalties/taxes even if they've paid off their obligations and then some. What people fail to realize is the fact that had the banks gone under, every major industrial segment would be much worse off too. Credit is the grease that runs the economy, and as evidenced by the events of last year, without credit the industrial engine of America will come to a screeching halt. Now while the credit markets could be better they are drastically better than they were during the downturn, and that is why things are not as bad as they were when the economic meltdown happened.

80% of bonuses seem to be going to 20% of the top execs. Only the leftovers go to the really hardworking and talented group of professionals who deserve it. The banking industry is no different than most other industries in that often times, the top idiots land in the responsible layers of management. If you were to put all these people on a remote island, they will still try to run stupid meetings about how to share the nuts and berries, while retaining the lion's share for themselves. They cannot produce or create ANY value by themselves. If these are the people companies are afraid of losing to the competition, I say, send them out the door as fast as you can. After all, who fights to keep an idiot?

Most at fault in the economic debacle was the government, who enabled the whole thing. Next in line of fault were the big bankers. I hope that we as a nation can "throw the bums (all incumbents)" out of office, but what of the rest? As guilty as the bankers were/are, we don't want to go down the road of penalizing a single industry. It would seem to me that any new laws/restrictions should apply equally. Compensation is a deductible expense. It seems a no brainer to pass a law where anything above say $500K (in total comp, stock, warrants, etc)/yr would be the maximum deductible for each individual in a firm. Then, each firm could pay what they wished, but as a non deductible item overly generous compensation would be curbed. But of course, this would be too simple a solution for our tax code....or government!

"Then what should we do? Huh?"

Do Nothing: This issue falls under the Golden Rule catagory,,,them with the gold makes the rules,,

Best bet is to send your children to Banker school and hope they can gather at the trough in the future.

Collectively the people in America could elect honest officials to serve the public good,,,,but being a betting man I give low odd's on that,,cause in previous years they elected a moron to run the country not once but twice in a row.

When I was young I used to dream about being rich,,,nowadays I dream about being a banker.

Your focus here is too narrow. Why not regulate everybody's pay and tax away all bonuses? Some preliminary thoughts:

1. Limit doctors to $100K a year in total comp, regardless of their specialty. That will reduce the urge to become plastic surgeons and spawn a bumper crop of awesome GPs, right? And it will lower the cost of healthcare for everyone!

2. Limit the pay of teachers to $75K per year. They don't have to spend as much time in school as doctors so it's fair that their pay should be less. And give them 401Ks instead of pensions.

3. Tax the "excess profits" of movie producers. The only reason they can make big money is due to the tax breaks the states hand out. Those profits belong to the people, not the greedy movie producers!

4. Reduce the pay of all politicians. Or at least take away the killer pension benefits that Senators and Reps enjoy.

The real principle underlying most of the comments here (as well as your average bar room argument) remains the same: people think that anyone who earns more than them is paid to much.

To summarize one camp: Bring out the guillotine!
To summarize the other camp: Vive le Banquier!
To summarize my opinion: We all like to eat, and we all try to push our way to the feeding trough...Oink!

I stand corrected :Vive la Banquier!

A formula for executive pay should be mandated. Executive pay should not be allowed to be more than a times b. Where a is a realistic specified number and b is the average hourly workers wage. This would force corporations to actually pay their lower level workers a fair wage. The gap between these two pay scales has become absurd.

Sorry Bing, my post wasn't deleted as I thought. I am so red int eh face now :(.

I really do think that capitalism is the best system and afford's people a chance to move upward if they have the right attitude and the talent to deliver. Bob CT seems like the kind of person I am talking about. And that is the person that is NOT rewarded as they should be. I have seen first hand at MANY companies massive layoffs that have left the company (forget the employees for a moment) unable to cover their bases. BUT, the managment got HUGE bonues for making the "tough" choices. The company was left weaker, those managers left for another company and it starts all over again. I know a young man currently attending an elite business school and over the Christmas break, told me (with a very hangdog look on his face) that a well known person who was a guest lecturer from the finance world told these future SVP's "think of any company as your personal piggie bank. Cut, slash and burn to make your numbers. Get your yearly bonues and then repeat. After 5 years move on. THAT is the only way to get truly rich!" And if I named this person, people would hang their mouths open to the floor. This young man said "that is NOT what I want to get into business for!" I told him "I understand. But like it or not, that is what it has become. Every man for himself. So what if I screw the company up and people are out of the words of a great comedian.."I don't care if i screw up, I got MY check!"

How green are our bankers? Well, try "green-ling", from Webster's dictionary, (any of a genus of large flesh-eating fishes of the North Pacific, with long dorsal fins).

How green is the U.S. Treasury? Good question! Pale, at the very least; but perhaps more likely, colorless, anorexic, and

Pity us, the borrower, for we've legally impounded our souls to the "mortgage banker".

No wonder we, the borrowers', skip reading the caveats and disclosures
when dealing with banks! Whew!

That's ok, it has always been like that, the problem right now is that those who earn between $250k and $55k are the ones who have been hit the hardest because the socialization of the losses, like Brad from Atlanta put it rightly. This year those in that bracket we have been hit the hardest by high credit card interests, loss of value on our homes, gas increases, health care costs, no salary increases for the lucky ones, just to name a few. We are getting no break from nobody, I do not care if the bankers are making billion dollar bonuses if at the end of the day i'm able to bring food and somethin' extra home, right now I can barely bring bread..I was able to bring home "Milton's" but since four months ago I can only bring home "Wonder" bread from the outlet shop.....uncle Sam: gives a break! just one little small break!!!

Investment banking was seperated from retail and commercial banking after the Depression for good reasons.

Some good things came out of Grahmm-Leach-Bliley, but allowing retail banking and commercial banking to be mixed in with investment banking was certainly not one of them. (By the way, Bing, Clinton may have signed the bill, but the three sponsors were Republicans ... let's spread the blame around a bit, yes?)

Investment bankers have been allowed to gamble with "house money." Take a risky bet, collect a bonus if it pays off ... and stick it to the taxpayer if it does not. That should be criminal.

The FDIC should be there to protect depositors. It should not have to be there to back the long-shot bets of idiots.

Separate investment banking from the rest, set up a fund separate from the FDIC for bailouts, and charge member investment banks progressively more to fund this as their leverage increases.

1) Life isn't fair. Deal with it..or go back to school.

2) Let these companies fail. Stop bailing them out.

3) Vote for politicians that have at least a close approximation of your set of values (Now I grant you this is a toughie because basing these decisions on campaign propoganda is akin to climbing Mt. Everest blindfolded)

4) If you're upset...stop doing business with the companies that piss you off. It's a free market (theoretically). Go somewhere else.

5)PLEASE....stop whining.


You know I'll always be here for you.

the 'banking' sectore should have never been allowed to be publically traded. the federal gov't , unfortunately, is, in my opinion, the only entity able to reverse the sectors course and reign in this quasi governmental group. god help us all!