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The bonus-boys of Wall Street have finally shown that they “get it” – and I’m sure you appreciate their new-found modesty as much as I do.
After much speculation on the size of the bonuses that avaricious top banking executives would grab for themselves this year, they have demonstrated remarkable restraint, joining millions of hard-hit Americans in belt-tightening solidarity. For example, Lloyd Blankfein (who was so high on his inherent worthiness last year that he proclaimed himself to be “doing God’s work”) has now shown his mortality by accepting bonus pay of only $9 million. Yes, he tightened his belt down to the nine-million notch.
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It makes you want to weep with gratitude, doesn’t it?
In fact, one Wall Street expert on executive pay practically did sob, declaring that Blankfein’s bonus “takes a lot of oxygen out of the argument that Goldman’s top of the house is overpaid,” adding that, “nine million is not a lot of money.”
Really? The great majority of Americans, who actually do productive work, cannot imagine being paid $9 million over their entire lifetimes on the job.
Nonetheless, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs positioned the boss’s bonus as a major sacrifice and a gesture of “respect” for the mood of a public that’s been infuriated by Wall Street’s greed and recklessness. Lest you worry, however, that poor Blankfein might be forced to sell off some of his Tupperwear to make ends meet, note that he pocketed a $68 million bonus in 2007 and has received more than $180 million in pay during the last decade – so, I’m guessing he’s going to be alright. Also, he still gets a chauffeur and limousine from the bank, so if he does have to go on food stamps, he can go in style.
For Wall Street’s barons, even “sacrifice” is luxurious.
“Goldman Chief’s $9 Million Bonus Seen by some as show of Restraint,” The New York Times, February 5, 2010.