Bailed Out Banks Gave Million$ Bonuses, 6.5 Million Unemployed
I continue to hear from certain political circles that the U.S. "free market system" must be preserved and that President Obama and the Democrats are destroying America's "capitalist system".You know to whom I refer: it's the same political circle that decries social welfare and is now going ballistic over government sponsored health care reform. And it's the same circle that thinks that corporate execs (any corporate exec) and American businessmen, in general, are America's true patriotic heroes and that "corporate welfare" is just peachy keen. Hey! I'm all for a "free market" along with capitalism just as long as the economic playing field remains "free". But I haven't seen any evidence of a "free market" yet.
The seeds of the economic mess, that America continues to be mired in, started sprouting long before President Obama took the presidential oath in January, 2009. But you'd never know it by listening to the "free marketeers".
The U.S. unemployment rate is now about 9.5%. Since the beginning of the current "recession", roughly 6.5 million Americans have lost their jobs. Out of those 6.5 million, about 45% of them will never work in the same field again, let alone re-establish their careers and/or jobs, and virtually all of them will never realize anywhere near the income that they've previously earned.
The U.S. has experienced twelve recessions since the end of World War II ranging from eight to sixteen months in duration. During the 1982 recession, the peak unemployment rate was 10.8%. and that recession lasted sixteen months. At this point, no one is certain when the present recession will end and what the unemployment rate will rise to.
The median annual income of American worker's is about $50 thousand. That may sound like a lot to many throughout the world, however that's barely enough for an American family to live on today. I venture to say that most American workers were lucky if they received a frozen turkey as their "holiday bonus" last December. Meanwhile, "too big to fail" banking and financial industry personnel ( it's not only the execs) who contributed, in a great degree, to America's economic and unemployment mess, remain sitting pretty, well-fed, and looking down their noses at the average American, because they've gotten away with the biggest financial scam that has ever been perpetuated on the American people and, indeed, the world.
NEW YORK — Nine Wall Street banks doled out a combined $33 billion in 2008 bonuses to employees despite losing billions of dollars and receiving an unprecedented government bailout, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
In a report, Cuomo said that his nine-month investigation found that even though banks tout the importance of tying pay to performance, compensation has become "unmoored from the banks' financial performance."
When the banks did well, their employees were paid well," the report said. "And when the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers, and their employees were still paid well."
The report comes as the House considers a bill this week to give shareholders a say on pay for top executives. The findings could add momentum, experts say, to ongoing efforts to reform executive compensation. Lawmakers have blamed Wall Street's pay structure for helping precipitate the financial meltdown by encouraging traders to take excessive risks.
Cuomo's report said that Citigroup (C)and Merrill Lynch, which is now owned by Bank of America, (BAC) received combined government bailouts of $55 billion and lost $54 billion last year, but still paid out $9 billion in 2008 bonuses.
Thousands of top traders and bankers on Wall Street were awarded huge bonuses and pay packages last year, even as their employers were battered by the financial crisis.
Nine of the financial firms that were among the largest recipients of federal bailout money paid about 5,000 of their traders and bankers bonuses of more than $1 million apiece for 2008, according to a report released Thursday by Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general.
At Goldman Sachs, for example, bonuses of more than $1 million went to 953 traders and bankers, and Morgan Stanley awarded seven-figure bonuses to 428 employees. Even at weaker banks like Citigroup and Bank of America million-dollar awards were distributed to hundreds of workers.
All the banks named in the report declined to comment.