Wall Street On Track To Award Record Pay
Major U.S. banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their employees about $140 billion this year — a record high that shows compensation is rebounding despite regulatory scrutiny of Wall Street's pay culture.
Workers at 23 top investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers and stock and commodities exchanges can expect to earn even more than they did the peak year of 2007, according to an analysis of securities filings for the first half of 2009 and revenue estimates through year-end by The Wall Street Journal.
Total compensation and benefits at the publicly traded firms analyzed by the Journal are on track to increase 20% from last year’s $117 billion—and to top 2007’s $130 billion payout. This year, employees at the companies will earn an estimated $143,400 on average, up almost $2,000 from 2007 levels.
I have no comment.
That's because I'm speechless. We're facing double digit unemployment because of these bastards, the deficits are huge because we bailed out these bastards, and now they're increasing their own compensation?
UPDATE: Thankfully, Kevin Drum, while as dumbfounded as me, can eke out a few thoughts:
There's an insanity here that's almost beyond analysis. Wall Street can spark an economic slowdown that misses destroying the planet and causing a second Great Depression only by a hair's breadth — said hair being an 11th hour emergency infusion of trillions of taxpayer dollars — and then turn around and use those trillions to return to bubble levels of profitability within 12 months. And they can do it even though the rest of the economy is still suffering through the worst recession since World War II. It's mind boggling.
Is there any silver lining here? Probably not, but I'll try: If Wall Street can shrug off the worst recession of our lifetimes as if it's a minor fender bender and get the party rolling all over again in less than 12 months, it means the next bubble is already in the works and its collapse will be every bit as bad as this one. That in turn means it will almost certainly happen while today's politicians are still in office. So maybe news like this will finally spur lawmakers to realize once and for all that the financial industry needs to be cut down to size. Half measures won't do it. Self-regulation won't do it. Compensation limits won't do it. Byzantine, watered-down rules won't do it. Something like a Morgenthau Plan for Wall Street is the only thing that has even half a chance of working.
Will Congress finally get this? Probably not. The financial lobby is just too strong. But we can hope.
RELATED: The Dow surpassed 10,000 today. Republicans are downplaying the significance of that. And while I tend to agree with them (10,000 is just a number), recall that Republicans weren't singing that tune a few months ago. The Wall Street Journal ran an entire editorial on this in early March. The drop in the Dow, the WSJ insisted, was a direct result of investors evaluating "Mr. Obama's agenda and his approach to governance." Karl Rove and Lou Dobbs made the same case. So did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fred Barnes. It was one of Mitt Romney's favorite talking points for a while, too.
To Republicans, Obama was to blame for the continuing fall of the Dow last spring. But now that it keeps going up and up? Well, the Dow doesn't mean anything.
But since when has logical, or even rhetorical, consistency been a characteristic of today's Republican party?
UPDATE TO RELATED: OMG! Fox News is pitching that the surge in the Dow is an example of the "Bush recovery"!!