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It Takes A Pillage

Topics: Politics | 1 CommentBy admin | October 26, 2009

The public has been slow to react to investment banks’ plundering of the economy, but some protests are finally taking shape in Chicago.

If you’re amongst the nation’s 14 million unemployed, maybe you should see if you can get a job delivering the plasma screen TV’s and cases of champagne that bailed out bankers will be buying to celebrate another year of million-dollar bonuses. Finally, even people like billionaire investor George Soros say you should be angry¬† about the obscene bonuses received by Wall Street. In spite of the fact that the White House “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg is imposing restrictions on certain companies’ compensation, it’s largely agreed that this is pointless, because what bank executives don’t get in salary and cash bonuses, they get through stock options and other benefits. So while New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo releases a study (see No Rhyme or Reason: The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture) that looks in detail at how bailout recipients Merrill and Citigroup both lost more than $27 billion in 2008 but still somehow justified paying nearly $9 billion in bonuses, and while Treasury Department watchdog Neil Barofsky continually points out the appalling misuse of bailout funds, 2009 bonuses at companies like Goldman Sachs will be double what they were in 2008. Call me naiive, but I remain astounded at the idea that one can run global economy into the ground and get a bonus for it. I was originally going to use the analogy of a man with gambling problem for today’s little rant, and thought it a little corny. But Nomi Prins – author of It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street – did just that in The Nation piece Meet the Hazzards. I’ve been prattling on about bailout injustice and public apathy for months, but it seems there’s finally some organized unrest in Chicago; it’ll be interesting to see if The Showdown in Chicago or the SEIU party crashers will get any attention.

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