By Henry McRandall
Wall Street’s annual executive bonus season has arrived and, once again, the geniuses who brought the global economy to its needs two years ago are in a mood for self-congratulation.
In fact, they are congratulating themselves to the tune of $144 billion U.S. in executive bonuses, all of the million-dollar-plus variety.
That of course is a new record, four percent higher than last year’s previous record executive-bonus payout. One would be drawn toward the conclusion that they must have saved the world.
But that is not the case. Profits were down a staggering 23 percent from the past year.
But why quibble over a few percentage points?
The simple reality is that the world has not yet imploded and we’re all supposed to be down on our knees in grateful worship of our shooting financial stars.
And while the four percent increase in their self-allotted bonuses may not sound like that much, it is a four percent increase on a previous record that came at the height of the global economic meltdown that they caused!
Now if only the rest of us could get at least a four percent increase on our depressed incomes of last year.
Clearly, however, that is not happening.
Despite “official” denials, the U.S. and Canada – like much of the rest of the world – are still mired deep in a recession that may yet become a depression.
Unemployment and underemployment in both North American countries still remain near post-Depression highs.
The high-quality jobs that were lost have been replaced mostly with temporary, part-time or contract McJobs.
But the rich are doing alright, thanks. So the rest of us should be grateful for them.
Whatever happened to the highly-touted probes into the miscreants who caused the global economic meltdown through their unbridled greed, incompetence, corruption and criminality?
Why has no one yet been charged for the heinous crimes that crippled the world’s economy, much less imprisoned?
Or are we to believe that all those shiny new maximum-security prisons either under construction or in the planning stages meant to house the tens of thousands of corporate and financial executives who plundered the global economy?
As unlikely as it may seem, one or two of those felons might actually see the inside the inside of a vacation resort posing as a minimum-security prison for white-collar criminals. But don’t bet on it!
The biggest swindle in the 500-year history of capitalism – the transfer of more than $25 TRILLION from the masses (the poor, the working class and the middle class) in the advanced western economies to the corporate socioeconomic elite – continues apace.
Santa Claus has distributed his goodies to the top two percent and now the piper is preparing to come a-callin’ on the bottom 80 percent to pay the freight.
Meanwhile Wall Street whistles all the way to the bank.
Wall St. executive bonus season opens
By Henry McRandall