Monday, February 01, 2010

658 Bonus Time

658 Bonus Time

You have to feel sorry for all those Wall Street types whose bonuses have been cut. You have to shed a tear that these men and women (women?) who have worked so hard to screw the rest of us can't get along on a few million a year and even with the recession and some minor cuts in indirect comp can't make it.

In Davos, where the bankers meet, they're saying Lloyd Blankfein is going to going to get an extra 100 million because "his" Goldman Sachs had such a yummie year.

Never believe what a competing bank says about a competing bank. So maybe Lloyd will only get, say, 97 million extra. This is going to make Obama unhappy, but there ain't much he can do about it. And there ain't much we can, either.

But a guy's gotta make a living, right?

If Goldman doesn't pay him the big bucks, he might quit, right? And we couldn't have THAT, right?

It's not just Blanky. The CEO of American Express is due for a 60 percent raise as of today. Could you do with something like that? How about a SIX percent raise? Yes, that would be just fine, thanks. For Amex and for the rest of us.

What's most galling about all this is the poor folk who are getting all this dough believe in their hearts they have earned it. And they come out with statements like "The American people understand how hard we worked to dig the company out of the deep hole..." Anyone ask how they got into that hole in the first place?

Guy down the street digs sewers for a living. Now THAT's digging out of a hole. Think he got a 60% raise today? No. Nor six. Nor three. And he's not complaining. He's too busy paying the rent and the electric bill and his taxes and the groceries.

He doesn't need a 100 million dollar bonus; probably wouldn't know what to do with it if he got it. But a little bit more for each of us wouldn't hurt. If some prices go up as a result, shop smarter. Or less often.


--Foster's Beer plays the super-Aussie game pretty well. But when they got to be a hit here in the states, they started making "our" version in Canada. Now they make it in Texas which just doesn't seem right -- like making Lone Star in Sydney.

--Anyone will tell you that New York area beer ain't what it used to be. It's the water in Newark where most of it is (or was) made. Since they cleaned it up the rivers, nothing from there tastes as good as previously... and it's not just beer. It's also pizza, bagels and rye bread.

--It's February, already. January has come and gone. And it's time for the annual second-month diatribe: Feb RU ary, not Feb U ary, despite what Walter Cronkite used to say.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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