Bing Blog

Maybe all this misery is just payback

Bummed Broker

God forgive me for the thoughts I'm having this morning.

I'm just wondering how they feel today, all the analysts and brokers from the financial institutions who are now being punished for the profligacy, stupidity, greed and wishful thinking of their masters. How they feel as they dust off their resumes and try to put the pieces back together in a world flooded with needy drifters just like them.

Do they feel like all my friends in years past who were downsized as a direct result of the kind of advice the Street gave to a variety of senior managers facing the issue of forced, quarter-to-quarter growth?

Do they feel like my pals at our former cable division, which was divested, in an act of completely moronic short-sightedness, when people like them decided that businesses who throw off cash flow but lower earnings per share were not worth keeping?

Do they feel sort of like the folks subsequently laid off from the corporation when, without that cash flow, it could no longer make the payroll it had once been able to support?

Do they feel like the employees of all the little firms that were reorganized, consolidated, de-consolidated or re-consolidated, given the whims and abstruse calculations of the geniuses who analyzed these things for the firms that are now sinking?

Do they feel like my buddies, Brewster and Armstrong and Molina and Frankovitch and all the others, who had to take early retirement when their business units were merged with other business units that were then spun off to juice the stock for a couple days, just to impress these guys?

Do they feel like the homeowners who are looking for short term rentals now, after the banks that are melting down could no longer carry their freight?

When I think of the just plain dumb stuff that Wall Street and its assorted salesmen, analysts, enabling bankers and callow spin-meisters have visited upon working companies over the years, it makes me want to choke. The arrogance. The willingness to see hundreds, thousands, lose their jobs as a result of their pronouncements and manipulations. Masters of Business all, they have been taught to see corporations not as places that employ people and provide a product or service, but as numbers on a balance sheet, a balance sheet that serves only one group: Investors.

Well, now the investors are taking it on the chin. A bunch of companies are feeling it too. And of course all those poor Street people are now reaping the payback from what their entire economic world-view has wrought.

They'll be back, of course. God forgive me if until then I succumb to occasional grim smile at the current proceedings.

180 Comments Add Comment

Hopefully all the hotshot shitheads at Lehman are now penniless. Hope to see them with squeegees on the offramp soon, so I can throw a few pennies at their feet.

Oh yes!!! Let them see the void!!! In the mean time I am short on the market and take grim pleasure with each Wall Street failure and every Wall Street layoff. My friends jobs have been outsourced to India -- lets theirs be also.

Thank you! These arrogant, greedy, self loving fools have gotten us into possibly the worst financial crisis of our lifetime. The focus for the past 5 years has been completely in the short term. These MBA graduates should have considered what happens when you give someone a loan they can't afford in the first place and expect nothing to happen when their payment doubles in 3 years. Did they think our families would be able to stay in their homes? It was all about the big money in the short term and now we are all paying the price for their greed and dishonesty.

I simply cannot believe the unilateral thinking of seemingly every suit to jump on the latest bandwagon. Did they not learn from the .com frenzy? Maybe they weren’t listening when the idea to profit off the heart of the American Dream, our homes, failed. They are not investment vehicles, they are homes! So what’s the latest thing to suck dry; our commodities, our food and our fuel? Is there anyone in a decision making position who has the guts to make their own decisions and not follow the trend, maybe even think with common sense? I am newly out of college and am nowhere close to a decision maker status. I have unreasonable student loans to pay off. I can’t even find an employer that cares that I went to school enough to compensate me in just wages to pay for that. I’m sure it’s all ok though because all that money we pay for college prepares us for the real world. Right???? My grandparent’s generation worked like the boomers will never know to reestablish the balance the last time corporate greed got out of control. They never saw the fruits of their labor. Enter nursing homes. Obviously our elders are too much of a burden to these busy hogs once called their children. Here we go again, another generation has to clean up the mess of their predecessors. We will not see the fruits either. But maybe the simple act of hard work and witnessing its positive, although slow effect is the real American Dream. Let’s hope. To my peers, let’s not spoil our children in attempts to avoid the continuation of this cycle.

What if your retirement money, your 401K grows 0% in one year? Their manager tells you they have to support their employees and it's expensive, what do you think? Can you take another year of 0% growth? Talk about greed.

This is so true brilliant, the greedy must now fall karma has payback time

Certainly a lot of heated people voicing their opinion on this blog and rightfully so. I would say that I agree with many of the postings already made on this site. The real question is where do we go from here?

Let's face it, Wall Street is the ultimate sign of greed in a capitalistic society. That isn't inherently bad however it is clear that it is time to protect this country by making sound business decisions that first and foremost protect Americans. Look at the number of companies in the S&P 500 that have outsourced 50 - 70% of their labor force over the last 10 years. Is there any wonder why unemployment and foreclosure rates are rising? We are all consumers and ultimately companies that do not listen to their customers will be driven out of business. Analyst recommendations from Wall Street are like publicity puppets in today's media. Look at the stock values and fluctuations. Are Americans really aware of PE ratios and earnings or has eTrade and other online sources simply enabled uninformed stockholders to put their financial futures in companies they like. The technology sector is a prime example of ovrstated values even today.

it's time to stop pointing fingers and start making progress. It isn't the governments job to intercede in a free market. Greenspan had to pay back his banking partners by raising the Fed Funds rate 17 times before he retired. Bernanke is faced with some tough decisions since he wasn't able to correct this in time before the economy stalled out, credit markets tanked and the housing and financial markets imploded. The result is a very bleak future in the short term.

Let's not forget, this is America and we have the ability to remain a great Nation when we put our faith in God over our faith in Wall Street. One of the fundamental differences between the generation of Americans that grew up during the Great Depression was their regard for others, their faith in God and their moral values. Consider how much America has changed over the past 75+ years? No wonder we are faced with this type of crisis.

Where in this country can we find anyone like Franklin Delano Roosevelt today? No matter who becomes President, he's gonna need to channel the smarts of FDR to find a way out of this mess we're in.

What losers are. Why are we shedding tears and ink over the fate of Wall St. people. Hewlett-Packard, a tech company, that actually makes things and employs people just laid of 25,000 employees. That's more than ALL the employees that work for Lehman. And no mention of those poor HP tech workers. Why are we so pitying Lehman employees. They deserve nothing.

When I was a young boy I remember asking my grandmother about
the great depression and what had caused it. Bringing back not so pleasant
memories for her, she said:

Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.

Greed and Risk go hand in hand. Now risk is coming to bite their b*tts.

How many times in the past has manufacturing, my industry, taken it on the chin with short term 3 month decision making to boost a senior finance executive's bonus so they can get one more yacht.
I have many freinds in finance and I'm sorry for the troubles our brothers in the mid level and low level are having, but I hope this has an impact on the lofty offices so far removed from long term strategic thinking about what is best for the country and economy and not thinking of short term lining their pockets.

Well written article. I fear that the true leaders of this financial mindset of ruin will walk away scott free, but hopefully the executives of tomorrow will go back to the days of doing what is best for the country and economy and not for the quick buck.

Reap the whirlwind.

yeah I think this is a bit too easy cause the people responsible for this are the ones who are financially independent. they cashed in a long time ago. I think the US government is the real problem here. How could they have allowed this bubble to be created? They are there to intervene when things go wrong, but they didn't. They, of all, should now that wall street will never learn from their mistakes. the playing field just got a little smaller, so more cash for the others! In my opinion they could have avoided this entire situation. If there are strict rules to what a person with a certain income can borrow....fairly simple i'd say...this would have never happened.

When did the leaders of so called 'icons' of global business become more concerned with making money than running a business. it's sad when Joe taxpayer has to foot the bill for the stupidity of so few. my guess, based on personal experience, is that those at (insert co. here)are probably more concerned that the stock hasn't reacted positively to today's news rather than just being thankful that they still have a job.

This in response to Fox Piscante, and I hopeee you read this:

How in the world could you say WE GOT YOU INTO THIS. Did we bundle all the mortages into high risk investments? Did we ignore all the glaring signs of a bubble and eventual bust? Did we write loans designed to fail? Did we play around with your life, or did YOU play around with ours?

Maybe you are unemployed because your the moron who doesn't understand your own job. Let me explain just a piece, the bust has been caused by scares in the market, which lowered prices and raised interest rates to a level that was no longer affordable, even though it was promised that that wouldn't happen. PLain and simple YOU saw how much money you could make quickly and ignored that YOU were betting on adjustable loans that could collapse at any time. THe entire economy must suffer now because of Wall Steet's ignorance, not mine. Maybe you should think about a new career, how about ethics, where their are more important things than MONEYYY.

Taxpayers are getting hit even without privatizing Social Security!

How will all these fallen dynasties impact Social Security??????????

the pot of gold for our senior years is our national debt!

Unfortunately, the greed and avarice that started this mess was perpetrated by decisions made at the very top. They took the multi million dollar bonuses and ran. I hope there is a special place in h*ll for what they are putting your country, economy and taxpayers through.

just a silly little symptom of a wasteful consumer society with an entertainment mentality....

The good thing is - if any good is there - that the people laid-off have been earning their dough by working, so they will do it again and again. Unlike these some of these "investors" that only know how to profit from the work of others.


I don't know what to feel right now. I'm one of the peons that works in a financial services industry backoffice and am keeping my fingers crossed that we don't start layoffs at my company. This impacts much more that just the uppers, mbas, and stockholders.

Long time Fortune reader:

Just an FYI--the last 3 years has seen the largest mass EXODUS of financial institution CEO's and Executives than anytime in the past 25 year history. This may be largely in part because most industry executives were well aware that the mortgage crisis was looming on the horizon. There was plenty of bad-debt stacking up with the onset of regulatory changes prior to new rules governing personal bankruptcy filings.

Shortly thereafter, financial institutions had an over abundance of bad dept. on the books i.e… (Houses, Boats, Cars, SUV’S, Planes, R.V’’s and more). Instead of clearing this mess off the books early on, it was held onto for years with hopes that the economy would heal thy-self by means of a Fed-Fund rate reduction and strong rebounding robust economy. In that event, all would be status-quo and the debt could slowly be written off as usual, while recovering part of those loses via other profit incentive means, which did not quite happen according to plan. Thus the bad debt stayed on the shelf, year after year, until some CEO’s saw the hand writing on the wall and decided to jump out of the ship with the golden chute and leave their fledgling underlings pulling the strings and doing a free-fall to an uncertain demise.

In 2004 the S.E.C. and Justice Dept. were informed of and fully aware that this type of activity was in the works. Through the efforts of financial lobbyists and campaign contributions, the regulatory changes on the financial sector were underway for the worst abusers but still minimal to most because it was everywhere. This was mostly done to calm the tirades of Congressman Schumer and other legislative oversight leaders. Federal hands were somewhat tied in red-tape to actually having any substantial teeth in legislative oversight. The gears moved too slowly.

There were attempts at some regulatory and oversight changes within the FDIC and NCUA to help deter greedy “Golden Parachute” executives, which was and still is undermining our U.S. economy and the impending disaster unfolding on international television. Obviously, from a regulatory standpoint this message was not strong enough for the financial sector and other GREED-FACTOR executives looking for the fast and furious 5-30 plan. (5 years of service - makes 30 years worth of money)

You may want recap the AIG previous RULER, I mean CEO and his Sons internal fiasco, which exemplifies how this kind of mess was started to begin with.

God save the 401-K.

Karma is a bunch of gibberish.

The rich are still getting rich. The poor are getting poorer. The middle class are stuck in an endless cycle of mediocrity and stagnation.

I know that it feels good for small people to see these huge corporations falter. But the guys at the top really aren't suffering. They pulled out their money a long time ago and have it reinvested in other things. A few of the top guys are suffering. But this is only because they were not smart enough to put their cash in other places.

I see no problem with what is happening in the financial world. The weak corporations will crumble, and new titans will take their places. All of the meanwhile, the small fries that are groveling, complaining, lamenting, and shaking their fists will still be poor and will pass that poverty down to the next generation.

Laugh if you want. You will still be nobody tomorrow. All of you who are complaining are simply losers who did not know how to manipulate the markets and gain financial independence.

Get a life.

Whatever you do, don't be foolish enough to go pour (poor) all your investments in Google stock.

After all how many times can they continue to peddle 'I hate my yellow teeth' ads before advertisers realise they are throwing their money down the drain.

wow. what a reaction. did this get the most replies for any post you've done? Clearly you tapped a vein here, Bing. Just don't trip on that smile.

This in response to Yadgyu:

Ignorance must be bliss for you. Maybe your rich, or always have been, but for the middle class we are watching our 401K's disinegrate, vanish, dissapear. Companies can't afford to pay retirement plans anymore either. So maybe you don't realize how it works, but without us losers, you would never have made any money, nor would have any of the other ceo ***holes. I don't understand your lack of compassion for people who are struggling to feed their families, I just don't get it.

I'm sure karma will give you yours soon enough, your from Texas, you should beleive in the Bible, see you in hell...

I wish they would have let Texas cecede all them years ago, then we would have never had to meet good 'ol Georgie Boy.

There is more complexity in the US economy for 99.999999999% of Americans or anyone else to understand everything in play here. Please allow me to increase my percentage to 100%. So offer your opinions freely, but keep in mind that you do not know the facts. (And the media does not know them either, but that won't nor will it ever slow the reporting.)

Some dude thinks Google is a toothpaste! Now THAT is pretty funny. Ha Ha

The ignorance of this article is simply astounding. Firstly, do you think the suffering of the people in finance that you're grimly smiling about are the ones that made the decisions? The true losers are those low to middle level employees who worked hard in school and work to develop their skill set and get to where they were, and who lost their jobs in an industry that will be over-supplied with skilled workers. This situation is obviously not unique to finance professionals, it happens all the time, it's business. But to point and laugh? To smile at their misery? That's low. The people who made decisions have already made their money, and though less rich now, will be fine regardless of the fate of their firms.

Secondly, it's very easy to blame this whole economic meltdown on Wall Street, but the blame needs to be shared by everyone. People talk about the banks adding too much debt to squeeze profits? How about all the Americans who have been irresponsibly using their credit cards and spending money that they don't have? People talk about the banks dicing and distributing exotic securities that they didn't really understand? How about all the Americans who greedily bought homes with 0% cash using those securities, trying to get something for nothing? And how about the federal government, watching all of this happen, happily collecting the fat taxes from both consumers and corporations and enjoying the goodwill given to the government during all financial booms.

Do you see the trend here? We're all guilty of the same sin - greed. And you would do well to try to calm the masses with your articles instead of inciting more anger, which only hurts the markets. If you think the fallout resulting from the failing of the rest of the American investment banks is going to be limited to the financial sector, you need to get a clue.

This is not an isolated economic problem. Investment banks DO contribute to this economy and in the coming economic storm you'd better hope we have more of them rather than less.

Wake up from your ignorance and try to solve this problem instead of being part of it.

RE: "The ignorance of this article is simply astounding. Firstly, do you think the suffering of the people in finance that you’re grimly smiling about are the ones that made the decisions?"

You *do* realize that The Bingster gets paid per response, n'est pas?

How can our country survive with both legal and illegal immigration is growning in record numbers when surviving in a recession/depression grows worse and worse wih each day. We the people must support our own first. Our the land of freedom and/or opportunity may be gone forever. We must support our own to survive!