Bailouts and Bonuses

Posted: January 30, 2009 in Employment, Government, Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Money, Morality, Poverty

Already, some of the headlines I’ve been seeing regarding the numerous "Point In Time" counts taking place across the nation are not bearing good news. To be sure the preliminary data is sketchy, but thus far everything seems to point to an overall increase in homelessness. Although, due to the recession, it’s hard to expect that there would have been a decrease.  

Already, some of the headlines I’ve been seeing regarding the numerous "Point In Time" counts taking place across the nation are not bearing good news. To be sure the preliminary data is sketchy, but thus far everything seems to point to an overall increase in homelessness. Although, due to the recession, it’s hard to expect that there would have been a decrease.  

Let’s face it: this nation is facing hard economic times.

2.6 million folks lost their jobs last year. Tens of thousands of Americans have been evicted or have had their homes foreclosed on. And, it’s highly unlikely that there will be an economic turn around anytime in the near future.

In the latter part of last year, the federal government put together a financial package to bailout Wall Street. The cost to taxpayers: $700 billion. Half of that amount has already been given/lent to those banks and other financial institutions. The remaining amount will probably be doled out soon. In addition to that, it looks as though our national leaders will be increasing the amount – by quite a bit – in an attempt to jump start the economy.

When it comes to how the American taxpayer feels about the bailout, one headline on the CNN Money website says it all: Taxpayers still hate the bank bailout.

There’s actually a very good reason why the average taxpayer isn’t all too happy giving money to very companies which have – at the very least – been partially responsible for the nation’s current economic meltdown. As it turns out, while most of middle class America has been struggling just to keep their heads above water, the same Wall Street corporations who have been receiving bailout money have been handing out bonuses as if they were sugar pills.

This past Wednesday, the New York State Comptrollers Office issued a press release.

Although, the Wall Street bonuses were down 44% from the previous year, they still managed to dole out in excess of $18 billion. On average, each of the bonuses handed out was worth $112,000. That’s double – and in some instances triple – what most Americans earn annually.

Of course, Wall Street bigwigs didn’t seen anything wrong with handing out large bonuses.

An article, Obama Blasts Wall Street Bonuses, on the Business Week website provided a glimpse of the lack of moral character of some of Wall Street’s CEO’s. One prime example was that of former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, who actually had the arrogance to defend and attempt to justify the company’s paying out of over $4 billion in bonuses. All this despite the fact that the company was about to announce a forth quarter $15 billion loss AND were seeking additional bailout money.

There are a number of things which infuriate me about all of this.

First, there are the numbers of Americans who have found themselves homeless due to corporate greed on Wall Street.

These are folks who were breaking their backs to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Now, because of irresponsible scoundrels like Mr. Thain, entire families have been forced out onto the streets of our nation’s cities.

Additionally, because of Wall Street’s money grubbing tactics, the federal government is focusing hard on trying to revive the economy. This means that attempts to remedy homelessness will have to take a back seat. Consequently, those agencies and organizations which provide services to the homeless, will find their already thread bare budgets being strained even further.

In fact, over the last few weeks I’ve seen a number of news articles about homeless shelters which have had to close their doors. They can no longer afford to provide services to their local area homeless.

All of which brings me back to the $18 billion in bonuses.

I’ll admit I’m doing a bit of speculating. But, if the average amount of those bonuses came out to $112,000, then surely the annual salaries of those folks must have been higher. After all, I don’t know anyone who receives a year end bonus which is larger than their yearly earnings. And, if their salaries were larger than their bonuses, it seems to me that they could have gone without a bonus. All the more so, since for many Americans, their year end "bonus" was simply having a job.

Is it any wonder that the American taxpayer isn’t keen on the bailing out Wall Street?

Perhaps Wall Street should focus on bailing out the American taxpayer – especially those who have found themselves unemployed and homeless because of corporate greed.

Advertisements

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s