Isn’t that rich? …

On Saturday, July 24th, OpEdNews carried a great piece by Dave Lefcourt. It’s a “must” read.

“When It Comes To Greed, There Is No Shame”, is how Dave begins. “That’s the reaction from this end when reading about a government report released Friday regarding Wall Street bonuses of $ 1.6 billion paid by companies to their CEOs and other executives who were bailed out by the government ‘at the height of the financial crisis.’

“Not that this was a new revelation, but seeing the names of some of the 17 companies listed – particularly American International Group (that rescued a failing Merrill Lynch from going under), Citigroup (known to hold billions in toxic securities of CDOs [collateralized debt obligations] and derivatives), Goldman Sachs (the company that just paid $ 550,000,000 to settle a fraud case brought by the SEC) – renewed the disgust one felt when these revelations were first made public many months ago.

“AIG, the recipient of the largest ever government bailout of a corporation ($ 180 billion) handing out huge bonuses and other compensation, stood out as the most egregious. Followed by Goldman Sachs which AIG paid out $ 13.2 billion (out of their $ 180 billion government handout) as part of the derivatives deal with Goldman that became popularly known as ‘toxic assets’ (precipitated by the sub prime mortgage collapse), but obviously not toxic for Goldman which got paid full value (by AIG).

“The report ‘sparked outrage’ by some in Congress renewing calls for ‘reining in Wall Street compensation’, but this is merely grandstanding and posturing by the same pompous lawmakers who enacted the deregulation legislation that unmoored the financial industry to engage in the casino style risk-taking using other peoples money that brought the financial collapse and the subsequent recession.

“Though we read these stories (and the issues they focus on) as if they are separate and isolated, it doesn’t take conspiracy theory to realize the interconnectedness of deregulation creating an unfettered laissez-faire atmosphere that encourages wild west type risk taking that feeds greed and countenances fraud with responsibility and accountability so dispersed that when the proverbial **** hits the fan nobody takes the fall.

“Then to top it off the government is there to bail out these ‘welfare capitalists’ because of the generalized fear this unholy enterprise would collapse (if these behemoths were allowed to fail) and we’d be in for a 1930s style depression.

“The old saying, ‘There’s something rotten in Denmark’ applies many times fold in this country. Outrageous bonuses paid to the unscrupulous while feeding at the public trough may get our attention and make our blood boil. But they are just some of the more visible parts of a culture that exalted greed as a virtue.” –

Some of these “executives” oughtta go to jail. We dug up a New York Times story, dated February 12, 2009, that began like this: “Nearly 700 at Merrill in Million-Dollar Club”. Here’s most of it.

“For nearly 700 lucky Merrill Lynch employees, 2008 was a million-dollar year, even though the brokerage firm lost $ 27 billion.

“On the day the chief executives of eight large banks were questioned about their industry’s excesses on Capitol Hill, Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general of New York State, raised hackles by disclosing how Merrill Lynch distributed its $ 3.6 billion 2008 bonus pool. The payments, made just before Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America in December, have already stirred anger for being paid earlier than usual…

“‘Merrill chose to make millionaires out of a select group of 700 employees,’ Mr. Cuomo wrote in the letter, which was sent to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday night.

“The disclosure again puts Wall Street’s compensation program system, which has long rewarded select individuals with handsome bonuses, under the microscope.

“Many of the questions at Wednesday’s hearing in Washington centered on whether banking chiefs would take bonuses, and Mr. Cuomo has homed in on the payments made to executives by banks that have received more than $ 350 billion from the federal government. That banks have collectively lost hundreds of billions of dollars has only fueled public scorn …

“If that $ 3.6 billion had been evenly disbursed among Merrill’s work force each person would have received about $ 91,000. Instead, the top four bonus recipients received a total of $ 121 million, Mr. Cuomo wrote. One of them was Thomas K. Montag, who now runs global markets at Bank of America, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Montag was given a contract worth $ 39 million when he moved to Merrill from Goldman Sachs last year …

“Mr. Cuomo also wrote that 20 people were paid more than $ 8 million and 53 people were paid more than $ 5 million …” –

” … it doesn’t take conspiracy theory to realize the interconnectedness of deregulation …”, was the astute observation made by Dave Lefcourt on Saturday. He’s right, because not a darn thing has been done about the financial hanky-panky being committed by Wall Street gangsters and the banksters of those “eight large banks” who manipulate our money and credit.

If you’ll recall, all that “compensation” came from the one-and-a-half trillion dollars in bail out money that the Bush and Obama administrations handed over to those greedy capitalists. Is it any wonder that the pols in Washington – though feigning “outrage” – have been ignoring our pleas to bail out the millions of unemployed peons in this country? Why invest funds in a job-creating shipbuilding industry as long as it’s still possible for the elite to abscond with that money on a regular basis? It might be years before the **** hits the fan. And besides, “we’re too big too fail.”

That’s what Al Capone said, too.