The fury over the fact that Wall Street paid out $18.4 billion in bonuses in 2008, the “sixth largest” amount in history, is about words and nothing else.
The bonus varies in size from year to year, but it’s not actually a “bonus” in the way most people think of the word. It’s an expected part of your salary, delivered in a lump- sum near Christmastime. Historically, for many people on Wall Street, the base salary is much less than they could be earning elsewhere, but because they know they’re getting a sizable “bonus,” it makes sense for them to stay at their jobs.
So a bonus isn’t a bonus.
But since the vast majority of people don’t know that, the public gets angry. And when the public gets angry, Democratic politicians who probably know better have to demagogue the issue. That’s how you get the President saying, “there will be a time for profits and bonuses. Now is not that time.”
If you’re a waiter or a bartender, “There will be a time for tips. Now is not that time.”
The bright-eyed accountants graduating from years of schooling to enter into the prestigious and hectic financial sector in New York are proud of themselves and their accomplishments… they are on top of the world, and worked really hard to get a great paying job. All of them were considered to be the top of their class… these are people that really knew how to work within the system.
…and we want to punish them for making money that they think they deserve? Why not go after the governing boards and CEOs that instill the spirit of competition in their workforce through manipulating incentives… stringing the carrots along, getting people so wrapped up in material things that they will start doing things that aren’t necessarily legal… because they believe in their company, they believe in the cause, all the while they feel COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED in their actions.
Let’s continue to breed economic hitmen who can perform atrocities because it’s just spreadsheets and statistics.