Have They No Shame?

October 15, 2009

handing out CEO bonusesBy Angie Moreschi:

Here we are, one year after our entire financial system teetered on the brink of collapse. The good news is most banks, with a strong assist from taxpayers, are now back on steady ground. The bad news, they’re right back to the same slippery slope of executive compensation.

JP Morgan Chase had the good fortune of announcing a second consecutive quarter of surprisingly strong earnings. Chase’s hefty $3.6 billion in profit for the 3rd quarter helped send a wave of euphoria onto Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average back up over 10,000, for the first time in a year.

It all sounded so positive and reassuring, that maybe the economy really is beginning to rebound.  Then came word that Wall Street would also pay out a record $140 billion in executive bonuses, this year.  That news landed with a thud and left consumers wondering, “Have they no shame?”

When all of their 2009 profits have a lot to do with being propped up by taxpayer dollars and the drastically cut prime rate, which makes it very cheap for banks to borrow money, it just doesn’t feel right for executives to excessively pad their pockets. It’s down right sleazy when you consider just how much consumers are still hurting, with unemployment approaching 10%. Here we go again.  Wall Street celebrates, while Main Street suffers.

Instead of raking in big bonuses for profits made on the backs of citizens, how about sharing some of the wealth? Loosen up credit for small businesses, so they can get a fair shot at staying afloat and keeping people employed.  Give that homeowner struggling  to pay his mortgage, a real offer on a loan modification.

But no, on Wall Street, we see that greed does not release its grip quite so easily. Mine. Mine. Mine. Maybe if angry consumers continue to protest, we can shame these CEO’s into taking fair compensation, based on the circumstances.

Then again, maybe they’ll just take their millions and get away for a nice vacation in the south of France.