I definitely picked the wrong career path. Even though I really had no interest in finance when I was in high school or college, in hindsight, Wall Street was definitely the way to go. Where else can you completely fuck up an entire nation’s economy and be rewarded for it?
According to Gawker, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are paying out $3 billion in bonuses despite receiving $60 billion in bailout funds from the federal government and being required to cut $1.1 billion from their budgets so the two companies can merge.
Oh, pardon me: I apparently got my terminology wrong. They’re not bonuses: They’re awards.
This from Morgan Stanley co-president James Gorgman, according to the Huffington Post via Gawker: “There will be a retention award. Please do not call it a bonus. It is not a bonus. It is an award. And it recognizes the importance of keeping our team in place as we go through this integration.”
Not angry enough? Gorgman continued, “I think I can hear you clapping from here in New York. You should be clapping because frankly that is a very generous and thoughtful decision that we have made. We spent a lot of time kicking this around. We could easily have done it from the point of closing, which is obviously going to be somewhere in the latter half of this year or around the middle of the year. But we just decided … that it was right thing to do, to give you that certainty that it would be based off ’08. ’09 is a very difficult year … So that degree of anxiety, which many, many of you have e-mailed me about … is now off the table.”
If this is some kind of sick joke, I’m not laughing.
The common excuse for these payouts is that financial firms have to retain their top talent. Well, considering the current situation — which is rapidly approaching the point of bodies flying out of office-building windows and former CEOs selling apples near train stations, a la 1929 — exactly how talented can this top talent be?
I never took a finance course during my college career, and how much worse could I have screwed things up? I’m seriously considering scouting out vacant lots that would be good sites for Hoovervilles.
As someone who has been unemployed since October, I am enraged. The money from one of these bonuses — oh, excuse me, awards — would likely pay my salary for a year, and then some. Did I ever make my old company millions of dollars? I have a pretty high opinion of my contributions, but I’d have to say no. However, did I ever cost my old company millions of dollars? Not even remotely close.
Bailout funds should be used to keep a company afloat, NOT to pay out bonuses, awards or whatever other creative terms people like James Gorgman come up with.
People who worked hard and did their jobs the right way, like myself and my fellow unemployed former co-workers, should not be out of work and scrambling while people who destroyed an economy go shopping for cars, boats and summer houses. If there’s anything the federal government can do to cut off these awards, it should be done immediately.
James Gorgman: That sound you hear is not clapping from New York: It’s a head slamming into a monitor in Hoboken.