Wall St. Pay Reached Obscene New High in 2010

WSJ: Executives pocketed $135bn

If you are reading this, chances are good you are not among the elite executives on Wall Street who collected $135 billion in bonus money last year.  More likely is that you are among the vast majority of American workers who are being asked to sacrifice their jobs, their pensions, their health care, their public services – sacrifices that make such obscene payouts possible.

For example, from the Wall Street Journal:

Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan got a 67% bump in his total compensation for 2010, the company said Monday. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. tripled the salary of Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and increased his stock-based bonus 40% to $12.6 million.

Instead of being a land of opportunity, the United States is becoming a land of sacrifices. But clearly that’s not the case for everyone, says AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka:

Today’s Wall Street bonuses are just one more example of how shared sacrifice only applies to the middle class, not corporate CEOs.  While executives on Wall Street fret over the size of their bonuses, the rest of the country is worried about how they will put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. As 14 million unemployed Americans desperately search for work, the Wall Street Journal estimates that banks and securities firms paid out a record $135 billion in total compensation for 2010. And in state after state, public employees are being asked to pay for deficits that the Wall Street financial crisis created.

What’s just as shameful is that those at the very top are getting tax breaks at a time of such vast need for everyday Americans.  And what are these billionaires doing with that money? Using their political muscle to destroy workers’ freedom to bargain collectively for a middle class life.  They are attacking public service employees based on the falsehood that firefighters, teachers and nurses are overpaid.

Rebuilding our economy requires addressing the growing income gap so clearly illustrated by Wall Street’s bonuses. America cannot retain its greatness with two different worlds – one for working people and another for those at the top. These bonuses show why Wall Street must be regulated.  Yet members of Congress are trying to repeal the types of protections put in place to ensure Wall Street can’t cause another economic crisis, including targeting the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  We have to hold fast to these Wall Street reforms and demand that the billionaires pay their fair share.