Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bailed-Out Bank CEO: Public Criticism of Wall St. Bonuses is Just Like Lynchings

If you need a cure for low blood pressure, read the whole article!

September 25, 2013
by Joshua Holland

In an interview published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, AIG chief executive Robert Benmosche compared the American public’s outrage at bailed-out Wall Street execs grabbing bloated bonuses to African-Americans being lynched in the Old South.

No, really. Here’s the quote (brackets are in the original):

The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.

In 2008, AIG received $85 billion from American taxpayers on top of the funds made available from the TARP program. Less than a week later, a bunch of AIG executives went on a “retreat” to the luxurious St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., where they ran up a bill of almost a half-million dollars, including $150,000 for meals and $23,000 in spa charges.

Now, with Wall Street employees pocketing average cash bonuses of $121,900 — while most families’ incomes stagnate — Benmosche thinks the public should have more sympathy for the plight of these good people. “They’re all scared,” he told the Journal. “They [had made] good livings. They probably lived beyond their means. We wouldn’t be here today had they not stayed and accepted … dramatically reduced pay…It is a shame we put them through that.” One can almost hear the sad strains of a violin playing softly in the background.

This is not the first time a Wall Street titan has unintentionally revealed a mind-boggling degree of entitlement. Apparently, it’s not enough that high-level bankers have all avoided jail for crashing the economy through widespread fraud. It’s not enough that they are enjoying record profits once again, that they have effectively captured the regulatory agencies that are supposed to police them or that the “too big to fail” firms have only grown larger since the bailouts. When politicians call them “fat cats,” or the public expresses outrage at their insatiable appetite for material wealth, they respond like a powerless minority facing the cruelest oppression.


A study by UC-Berkeley social psychologist Paul Piff found that people with high socio-economic status are more likely to harbor a sense of entitlement and display narcissistic personality traits than are those of lesser means. And powerful Wall Street executives continually substantiate his research every time they decide to share their hurt feelings with the media.

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