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Bonuses Return as Political Issue

By Ben Pershing
Remember those innocent days of spring -- before the health-care reform debate heated up and Afghanistan deteriorated so much -- when the political world was preoccupied by executive bonuses on Wall Street?

That issue is back, but now with two twists: the economy has shown signs of recovery, and Wall Street firms are actually making a profit. With financial firms, most of which benefitted from a government bailout, planning to pay out billions of dollars in bonuses, top White House officials fanned out to the Sunday shows to get the message out that these companies need to show some restraint. David Axelrod called the bonuses "offensive" and Rahm Emanuel chastised the firms for fighting new regulations and said the bonuses were "frustrating." The Wall Street Journal notes that "the administration's tone appeared muted compared with attacks made earlier in this year, as Democrats -- with an eye toward the 2010 midterm elections -- seek to put a positive spin on recent economic developments." The Journal also points out that neither Axelrod nor Emanuel "suggested any new, concrete measures to clamp down on compensation packages."

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  October 19, 2009; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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It is my firm belief that with the help of Phil Gramm, congress and the senate beginning in 2000 the rights and security of average Americans took a back seat to the capitalist and lobbying special interests that control our country. When they recognized that John McCain had a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding after he announced Sara Palin as his Hail Mary pass to oblivion they decided to storm the coffers of our biggest financial institutions and gamble away every Americans equity and security.
This is nothing short of a bloodless coup in which the capitalists took over the country with no gun violence, no visible blood spilled, and the general public simply lost 4 Trillion dollars in equities to offset their earnings and no one went to jail that did it legally.

Posted by: forleasing | October 20, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Addendum tho previous post:
Keep a 20:1. That way everyone benefits when workers are truly productive. Hard work should be rewarded, trickery not so much.

Posted by: rooster54 | October 19, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

In 50 years average wages have tripled, while the cost of living has increased by a factor of more than ten, so that one hour of work buys 1/3rd of what used to. In the same period of time executive salaries have increased by a factor of 60. Excess executive income from profits was invested in credit to workers, instead of paying them relative to their productivity, further enriching executives, and further impoverishing workers with usury and forclosures.

Executive profit is generated at the bottom by real workers. Investments only work when they motivate somebody to pick up a shovel. We workers outnumber the entitled rich, and they would starve to death if they had to depend on their own real productivity.

Yeah, tax the first $250,000 at a reasonable rate, then bump up the rates incrementally and substantially as incomes increase beyond that generous amount.

Those who benefit most are most indebted to the system from which they prosper.

Keep a

Our economy will thrive under these conditions.

Posted by: rooster54 | October 19, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

While mainstream media obsesses over fat-cat bonuses, the balloon boy, legacy wars and the health care reform...


Is THIS how the extreme right seeks to retake political and social control of America -- via a "Grassroots Gestapo" enabled by powerful reactionary forces in federal and local government agencies and commands...

...deploying silent, mind- and body-degrading microwave/laser directed energy weapons systems against perceived political enemies and other Americans...

...who have been systemically and unjustly targeted by a secretive executive branch multi-agency coordinated action program...

...sold to naive Obama administration officials as necessary components of the "war on terror"?

OR (if link is corrupted): RE: "GESTAPO USA" (see "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 19, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It is now time for Barack to begin his necessary corollary to all the expensive programs he is finding himself committed to.

He has to find more money somewhere, and while in the general scheme of things the money isn't much, taxing those outrageous bonuses as excess income does get some more income, and only aggravates the people who seem utterly dedicated to making dealing with the recession all the harder for him.

It is really simple as tax legislation goes. Gross incomes, "from whatever source derived" greater than 100 times the full time annual minimum wage are declared to be excessive. They are taxed progressively; That portion of an individual's income from 100 times the minimum wage to 200 times the minimum wage is taxed at 50%. That portion from 200 times to 300 times is taxed at 55%, etc. The maximum total INCOME tax rate, for all taxing authorities, (City, county, state, federal,) is set at 95%. No income exclusions, offsets, rebates, or tax credits apply.

Now they can get any bonus their hearts desire. Uncle Fed just gets about 90% of the bonus.

It is amazing that people do business with financial advice groups that so obviously take a big bite in fees and commissions out of the money they manage and give it to themselves in public. Don't any of those investors who see their piddling accounts do poorly and their advisers do so much better on their dime recognize that fact?

Tax them till the pips squeak.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 19, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

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