America’s titans of finance have caused the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and what is their reaction? Party time!
“Break out the champagne/ We’re feeling no pain/ Let the bonuses rain/ It’s all to our gain!”
Obtuse? Self-indulgent? Narcissistic? What’s with these people? Let’s review just three examples of their insanity:
While Merrill Lynch was collapsing last year, requiring a $25 billion salvage job from us taxpayers, its CEO was merrily redecorating his office, picking out such necessities as $28,000 worth of curtains, a $35,000 antique commode, and a $1,400 wastebasket. Then he magnanimously doled out $4 billion in executive bonuses.
Citigroup, which lost $28 billion in the past 15 months, has now been given a $345 billion bailout from Washington and is presently holding a fire sale of its corporate parts in a desperate effort to survive. But this didn’t stop top executives from trying to buy a new, $50 million, Dassault Falcon corporate jet for themselves. Never mind that the bank already had five executive jets.
Despite losing billions of dollars last year, then going hat in hand to the government for multibillion-dollar bailouts, Wall Street investment bankers paid themselves $18 billion in bonuses at the end of the year. In a poll of these bankers, 46 percent felt they deserved bigger bonuses.
We have to have some new words. “Greed” doesn’t say it. “Outrageous” falls way short. “Shameful” has no effect on bankers. Help me out here: How shall we describe their abominable sense of self-entitlement? Channel your fury into creativity, and send me your ideas for new words that nail these bankers. The top three winners get an autographed copy of my book, “Thieves In High Places.” Send your creations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Jim Hightower’s work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, visit www.jimhightower.com