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Are you feeling sorry for Wall Street bankers yet?
Poor babies, everyone is down on them. First, We the People are steamed that these bailed-out barons of finance are again putting billions of dollars of bonus pay into their pockets; second, a special national commission is publicly grilling top bankers about the damage their greed has done to our real economy; and, third, President Obama is proposing to slap a greed tax on the biggest of the giants.
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Wow. Three strikes and you’re out, right? In baseball, yes; in bankerball, never.
Such human traits as modesty, shame, and personal responsibility are not in the genetic make-up of Wall Streeters, so they have an answer for everything that’s being thrown at them.
Start with those bonuses. Yes, say the bankers, we’re stuffing ourselves with money that we should be loaning out to help Main Street recover from the crash we caused, but – hey – we’ve also started a few charities to help, you know, the little people. So buzz off, killjoy.
As for that commission digging into who caused Wall Street’s financial meltdown, the bankers’ answer is unanimous: no one. The jefe of JPMorgan Chase, for example, explained to the commission that a financial hickie “happens every five to seven years. We shouldn’t be surprised.” Uh, sir, this is the worst crash since the Depression – and, yes, we are surprised. And angry.
Then there’s Obama’s tax. Unfair, screech the Wall Street flock, apparently clueless that their own greed caused the crash, which led to the bailout, which let them grab bonus cash for themselves. That’s the very definition of unfair.
Not only should these sorry greedheads have their banks taxed to recover all of our bailout money, but we should also tax all of the bonus pay they’re ripping off.
“Bankers Without A Clue,” The New York Times,” January 15, 2010.
“Wall St. Weighs a Constitutional Challenge to a Proposed Tax,” The New York Times, January 18, 2010.