The news that Merrill Lynch paid out $15 billion in bonuses is sure to ignite new questions about the wisdom of bailing out Wall Street. Merrill Lynch took $10 billion from the TARP, allegedly to fill holes in its balance sheet. But instead of using that to repair its financial health, it simply put the money into the pockets of its employees. There is no way to defend this disgusting payout.
...when you pay yourself a bonus with taxpayer money you are simply taking money from someone who earned it and giving it to someone who didn't. If the government hadn’t supplied the means for redistributing that money, you’d just be a mugger.
More insight in the threads.
I came from the industry... One thing I never came to terms with was how many of my colleagues actually thought they deserved their big paydays. Yes, they put in a lot of hours, but I did the same and often more in the industry I had left. What so many never seemed to understand was that their bonuses were more a factor of being able to dip their hands in the river of money that flowed through the firm, rather than any value creation greater than in other industries. Could any one of them honestly say the value he or she created was more than that of a teacher in a third-grade classroom? Their compensation was a result of a structural imbalance in our economy that rewarded oligopolistic behavior in the name of an illusory market transparency derisorily (un)enforced by the SEC and the self-regulatory organizations.
Oh, how true this is:
When I started in the business in risk management a veteran trader drew me a picture of the money river to tell me how everyone got paid.
He drew the river and then in a prime spot, a dam. That's where management was. Then you had sales and trading rank and file down the river a bit, but on the bank dipping their pans in the river. Middle office was behind the river bank dipping in the occasional spill over.
Then he drew a spot miles away from the river. "I used to be a chemical engineer and this is where I used to be."
Revolutionize your heart out. We'll still have this country by the balls.