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Excellent news, people! After three years of financial doldrums and depression, money is on the move again, the economy is beginning to hum, and blue birds of happiness are twittering with delight.
“People are starting to shake off what happened,” trilled one of those bluebirds. “The mood is absolutely better,” exclaimed another. “There is a definite buzz on the Street,” chirped yet another happy songster.
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Of course, none of these merry optimists are talking about your street or mine. Instead, the new surge of economic exuberance is being felt exclusively by those fortunate ones on Wall Street and in the executive suites of giant corporations. For example, the big five Wall Street firms (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase) have set aside $90 billion this year to lavish huge bonuses on their big shot bankers. Ninety billion! Also, major corporations are hauling in total profits this year of $1.7 trillion – the highest level ever recorded. Ever!
Thus, reports the New York Times, the moneyed elites are walking with renewed swagger and indulging themselves once again with extravagances that we commoners cannot imagine. One insurance executive, for example, has doubled her annual cosmetic surgery budget this year! Then there’s the Goldman Sachs executive who celebrated Halloween with a posh party of 1,000 of his best friends in a hip Manhattan night club. His bash featured an open bar and a performance by hip-hop star Lil’ Kim, who appeared in a black cat costume.
Trick or treat, y’all! As these privileged pranksters play, the majority of Americans remain mired in a miserable, jobless economy, with incomes falling, the middle class sinking, and poverty rising. As one Wall Street economist starkly says, “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”
“3rd Quarter Was Record For Profits In U.S. Profits in U.S. Firms,” The New York Times, November 24, 2010.
“Signs of Swagger, Wallets Out, Wall Street Dares to Celebrate,” The New York Times, November 24, 2010.