Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
wow...i don't know what to say. quick calculation.18 billion dollars (nine zeros!) can give 360,000 people $50,000 each, which is average annual salary for a junior architect like me. i don't have a degree in economics, but that's probably enough to save all the jobless architects in New York. and there are a lot of them these days, much thanks to these wall street types.
I couldn’t help but get a little irked with Greg David from Crain’s New York Business about the bleeding at Wall St.
What irked me the most is when he clearly implied that $150,000-$175,000 isn’t very much money. Boo hoo!
How many individual New York City residents – much less Americans in general – pull a $150,000 a year? I lived in NYC for years somewhat comfortably on much less than that, try $50,000 with health coverage. I may not have the lifestyle of a typical Wall St. trader, but I would like to underscore that even in a city like New York, $150,000 is not peanuts -- especially for workers in a tanking industry. I certainly think it's fair to compensate performers -- but when I hear people like Mr. David sniff their noses at $150,000-$175,000 a year it's just aggravating. These people are not neuro-surgeons.
It’s become a cliché to accused people of making a pariah out of Wall St. The fact is Wall St. isn’t a pariah. It’s being rescued because it created financial scams out of derivatives in a climate of de-regulation. The industry behaved badly and it's costing Americans not a loss of some huge bonuses, but their jobs.
If Wall Sr. wants to redeem itself, it can begin by paying back the public welfare it has received. And the workers in this industry (and Mr. David) need to come back to earth. They should be paid on the positive performance of their industry (no just their individual performance) just like the rest of us.
I would like to share these comments made by a friend: a) The argument that the bonus is the salary of the bankers is bogus. Their base salaries are puny, it is true compared to even the average lawyer or doctor but that is a choice they made as a group around 20 years ago. Their argument was that they would work harder if they received asymptotically high rewards in up years in exchange for getting asymptotically low rewards in down years. This is a down year. A very down year--the market dropped almost 40%. Their bonuses should go down 40%. b) The argument that a salary in excess of 5x or 10x what the best lawyers or doctors make is necessary to keep the best people is a new one, and untested. Let's see who is interested in banking next year if the original deal described in (a) is preserved. If the only people left are too cautious, then they can have the banking jobs under a new deal (e.g. one that abandons the bonus).
Mr. David argues that NYC needs the $18 billion in bonuses because that money translates into taxes, spending, and donations to charities and therefore is vital to the city.
Mr. David also notes that "Wall Street is hurting too," because 50,000 financial sector jobs have been lost.
I'm no great mathematician, but 50,000 x 36,000 = 18 billion.
So that money (provided by the TARP) could go to saving *all* those jobs at a salary of $36,000, or 36,000 jobs at a more respectable middle-class salary of $50,000. I'm assuming even Mr. David would agree that such employees would also buy food and transit, pay taxes, and otherwise contribute to the city's finances. And they would not be on the state's unemployment rolls. Even if we accept the dubious argument that bonuses are not really bonuses, but expected salary payouts, it's hard to see how the TARP money is better spent on doubling the already high salaries of surviving employees, rather than maintaining as much employment as possible. On no level is Mr. David's argument persuasive.
I am still gasping for air!
As a former Investment Banker I would like to lend some clarity to the basic Wall Street quid pro quo that seems to be forgotten. Wall Street is a risky job, the likelihood of getting laid off once every ten years is extremely high relative to other sectors. When times are good the bonuses are ridiculous and when times are bad the bonuses reflect that. So my question is: Why do the masters of the universe whose Friedmanian creed that unfettered free markets will save the world think they're bonus compensation structure is a right much the same as a French Bus drivers right to strike every third Tuesday? Should the tax payers help what's left of Wall Street retain the 'talent' that created this mess? If they were intellectually honest, it would be better for our economy as a whole for them to find other more tangible and productive ways to make a living.
Apparently I'm not the only one who recognized that Greg David is not an expert on anything he was talking about. Next time let him speak with Andrea Mitchell. That would be funny.
Unfortunately I listen to the show inm my car, so this is the first opportunity I have to respond.
I was incensed to read and hear about the bonuses., coming at the same time these institutions are seeking taxpayer money AND laying off so many employees. What should have been done was to use the moneys that went into the bonuses to retain other employees who were or will be laid off. There have been several recent polls which show that most employees would give up raises to save jobs of co-workers. Such a course would accomplish several things:
-- fewer unemployment claims, with their attendant costs to the government; --no loss of revenue to the City, State and Federal govt.; the taxes lost from the bonuses would be recovered from the payroll taxes from more employees; and --increased revenues to Social Security, due to the cap on income that is taxed.
This country is probably filled with people who deserved to keep their damn jobs. This country is filled with people who should be able to work and pay their bills, keeping their families cared for and fed.
This country is really filled with bankers who took $7,000 per capita from the citizens of this country, from people who could have quite merrily kept that money to solve their own problems, and yet these bankers still felt entitled to remodel their executive washrooms and pay themselves billions.
Have we got the tumbrels ready yet? You say riot. I say social justice.
My pet peeve is the number of express buses that go by half empty (off rush hour) while I'm standung at a local stop.
is there anything that could be done about pigeons in pretty much all above ground stations?it is absolutely disgusting sometimes to walk through them
i won't make a negative comment (about mr david,) i think it's interesting to hear the POV of these people who drove the economy in to the groundbut we should also remember everyone who voted twice for bush, everyone who owns a SUV and burns gas inefficiently, everyone living in the sprawl, everyone buying cheap chinese goods everyone who spends before they save YOU'RE ALL AT FAULT!stop picking on the wall street guys they are just as greedy as you were.enjoy the ride down!
Quite frankly . . I put the blame for this whole fiasco, squarely on Congress (including Obama)! They rushed into voting for this bailout bill and didn't think to specify very carefully and with much detail how the money was to be used by these banks and investment firms? Come on now . . . the greed and avarice of Wall Street is widely known, our legislators should have made sure clear language was included in the bill to ensure it couldn't be used so shamefully. What upsets me the most about this whole thing is that Congress (including our new President) apparently does not have the balls to immediately get our money back and/or make these companies pay some kind of penalty for such a despicable act.
Oh . . . and I agree with every one else . . . this guest IS a total joke.
Kate: Well, they did take a risk, in that they made all their money trading home loans that they extended to people whom they knew couldn't pay them off... [you didn't say it had to be smart! ...just kidding.]
And another thing: There is such a giant lie underwriting all of this: the idea that wealth is "being created" by these traders. It's not. Wealth simply CANNOT be created. It can be filtered up to the ruling class, which does constitute "creation" for elitists like Mr. David. But these traders really never did anything good for anyone. Let's not pretend they did.
#132 - re: "200k is not wealthy" idea
Perhaps it's difficult for WNYC to call guests on the "200K salary is not wealthy", when its top executive Laura Walker, pulls down in excess of $300,000 annually.
This is something to consider when hearing fund-raising appeals, and evaluating the rhetoric about WNYC being "all New Yorkers'" radio station.
Hmm, I don't really recall that much content focused on the problems faced by many low-income New Yorkers, and, is there any multi-lingual content?
Also, classical economic theory justifies high compensation in 2 ways:1. talent/ performance/ profitability (everyone above has covered this)2. risk - if you take a large risk, you get a large reward. i have no problem with a capitalist system creating billionaires out of entrepreneurs and innovators (eBay, Facebook, Microsoft)who have taken risks. there has been no true risk on wall street or for ceos either. at the same time, the brain drain to the outrageous salaries offered has hurt every other segment of our economy.
Is anybody still on this board? Can we reach 200 negative comments, people? That segment deserved some kind of show website record.
Greg David was a horrible guest. He didn't make his own points well, and clearly has little idea what he is talking about.
Example #1: When trying to explain that not everyone on Wall Street makes insane amounts of money, he pointed to a $400,000 average. But it wasn't clear if that was salary or total comp. More importantly, he should have pointed to the median, to show that half of all of them make less than whatever that number is. look at the chart on the following web page (4 years old). This is what he should have been talking about, but he's too out of touch to realize that.
Example #2: He was doing funny things with numbers. He began by saying that bonuses were 50-75% of salary, but then changed to bonuses were 50-75% of total compensation. What is the difference? Well, based on a $100k salary, its the difference between a $75k bonus and and a $300k bonus. have things got to the point where bonuses get close to doubling salary, or tripling? That's a big difference, and I would think that a business expert would know the difference.
Example #3: Universities do not have teachers. They have instructors and professors. Is it is stupid difference? Perhaps. But if he's been clamoring for them for so long, and if he going to be so condescending to those who were against the eminent domain land grab, he might want to get it right.
When our government leaders are talking about cutting 15,000 teachers, it is a scare tactic. It began as 15,000 school-level personnel, but that wasn't scary enough. The fact is that education spending covers a hell of a lot more than teachers. Cuts in education spending never comes entirely in cutting the certified faculty. Did he really not know that?
I could go on an on. But I'll stop here. He didn't make his own points well, he didn't know what he was talking about when the conversation shifted and expanded. Don't have him back.
We are all victims of the bonus culture on Wall Street.
1)Individuals and companies motivated by bonuses and unrestrained in unregulated markets, helped turn all of Capitalism into to one massive Ponzi Scheme. That is the current crisis in a nutshell.
2)I find it appalling that the guest uses scare tactics to make us feel dependent on Wall Street." Without bonuses we wouldn't have shrinking class sizes in public schools or 'The Brian Leher Show'! "This is the rational of the relationship between an abuser (Wall Street) and an abused partner (the people of New York). My Brother Brian: Don't let him pimp you, or us, like that.
Capitalist markets did not create WNYC or Public Schools, and their survival does not depend on the markets. Both were created and have been improved by social movements, which were empowered by working classes and working through GOVERNMENT. We will have good schools and public radio and more, if we have political will and organization, to maintain and improve them.
Rich : Thanks for doing the research on that; for a minute, I was thinking it would be fun to go and grill this jerk during Q&A (if there is a Q&A; I suppose there probably won't be). But...I earn less than 100,000K per year, hence I am A.) poor by his math; B.) not willing to spend a day's pay to listen to these incompetents justify their continued existence.
I wrote this in late Sept,08 after being last members of our family to leave Manhattan after four generations. " The Brazen Bull of Wall street bellows forth with muffled horrific screams of your childrens dreams, incinerated on the pyre of greed fueled with your monies. The tears of the innocence’s can not satiate algorithms or derivatives of financial programs; gluttony is nauseated by your humanity. The brunt offering of your being waft up the spire rimmed canyons of Manhattan passed ground zero to circumnavigate the world, the four horsemen await to ride. Sulfur burns your lungs and blurs your mind as you cast your vote for democracy".
Pres. Obama’s snarky criticism of how thousands of men and women earned their incomes on Wall Street hardly sets a new tone of civility in Washington. By the same short-sighted "performance-based" logic, Obama should give back some of his cushy $400k salary if his “stimulus” plans fail to work or he mires us in Afghanistan.
I agree with the caller 'Sunshine'. Let's think outside the box. If as Greg David states, the payment structure on Wall Street is 'just the way things have been for 30 years', LET'S CHANGE IT - it so obviously doesn't work! The 'Times they are a-changing', Mr.David. It's absurd that this man is an example of the severe lack of creative thought and imagination that exists in the Wall Street and Financial sector in general. His lack of innovation is astounding! Makes me wonder how we ever put a man on the moon!
Wall Street has been loosing it's clout for years. The new financial center of the World is now London. And look how well they're doing. I think these hi-falootin "financial instruments" that no-one can make sense of are the biggest fraud ever perpetrated. NYC will be much healthier with a scaled back Wall Street. Housing will be affordable and the working class with fill the void with real productivity.
Pres. Obama’s snarky criticism of how thousands of men and women earned their incomes on Wall Street hardly sets a new tone of civility in Washington.
By the same short-sighted "performance-based" logic, Obama should give back some of his cushy $400k salary if his “stimulus” plans fail to work or he mires us in Afghanistan.
I hope you and the management at WNYC reconsider inviting Greg David back. Having known a lot of people who work on Wall Street, I have some understanding of how Wall Street's compensation system works. Many of the other listeners do, too, judging from others' comments but, apparently, not your guest. What a sorry apologist Mr. David is and not even a knowledgeable one at that. Let me just point out that what most people are outraged by, is not the secretaries getting their $25k bonus but the MILLIONS the executives, who are the supposed 'talents' and who made the atrocious decisions, are getting. Everyone understands pay for performance, except, perhaps, Mr. David.
He mentioned that there are still 50 tickets for the event. He didn't mention that one ticket is $249. Wonder if attendees are paying out of there own funds. I presume these tickets are paid/sponsored by the various companies of the attendees
This guy is was a terrible guest - and he ends with an advertisement for his stupid conference, great.
Others have noted his out-of-touchness. He basically spun the issue just enough to confuse things, and Brian didn't really push him on this. If secretaries get bonuses, maybe the bonuses aren't that bad? Typical conservative discourse.
One example of how he sucked was his tangent on the West Harlem Columbia expansion. He framed the opposition to the expansion as anti-education, when in fact they are pro-community and supportive of a marginalized population. They would probably love an influx of money supporting education that poor people could afford and had access to. But I doubt the guest knows what a marginalized population really is.
Finally, $200,000 is not rich? He really should have been called on that.
Your guest Greg sounds like W.C. Fields sitting at a bar saying he was wanting to get money to give to the poor, when asked "What poor?" he replied "Us poor".. No sympathy here for him and those for whom he apologizes.
Obviously Greg David of Crain's is tone deaf to the times. But the biggest frustration I have with his unvarnished defense of the importance of Wall Street to New York is that it completely ignores how concentrated wealth has become in the hands of the few here. As Wall Street lived high on the hog - admittedly, yes, providing some tax revenue (though I also think hardly as much as when NYC had a broad manufacturing base) - the middle class has been shut out and moving out. The wealth that Wall Street has created is paper wealth, illusory derivative products that have contributed little the the standard of living for the vast rest of us, and in fact has made it near impossible to raise a family in New York on $100,000 and less.
Sadly it took Greg David and Brian almost the entire conversation to get to anything resembling reality: i.e., that New York City has been living beyond its means.
The bonuses paid on wall street have been based, for years, on largely specious profits. How do we know this, because the Billions of losses reported by Citi, Lehmann, Bear Strearns, Merrill, etc. etc. are "writing off" previously reported profits -- which were based on dubious assumptions, and we know they were wrong because they finally came home to roost.
In short, wall street, in its core, is scarily close to a ponzi scheme. And new york city, like Ruth Madoff, has been spending money from alleged profits, not real profits.
Where we go from here I don't know. But I know it will be rough.
I think the bonuses are really hush money. Brokers have to follow the house's orders and not their CLIENTS' and so they not only dis their training (MBAs) their intelligence and their integrity, they betray their clients! Remember the stock exchange used to be non profit! Now it's publicly traded.
I usually like your show but you really lay down and let him steamroll you with his delusional nonsense pretty good there, my friend.
Please, for all our sake, get a backbone the next time you talk to him or go on the air?
so you say the party's over. since i was not invited i don't care
The proper way to handle the bonus "problem" is to re-structure the base pay of most Investment Banking employees up to reflect the fact that they (obviously) will get some nominal bonus even in the worst of times.Firms should pick this worst case bonus level and increase base pay accordingly (and decrease actual bonuses accordingly). THIS way, future bonuses are NOT outrageous and NYC employee's base pay (and therefore the income to the city) does not drop as drastically.
this is exactly the kind of guy who plants the seeds for communist revolution. The gall of this man to come on public radio, peoples radio and tell us how bad his milllionaire friends have it. Oh poor babies. I smell a conflict of interest and it seems the audience has as well.
Darren #22 - you are correct. The city needs to diversify it's economy. There were serious discussions about this after 9/11 because there was fear that many financial companies would move most of their operations to the suburbs. Unfortunately Mr. Bloomberg (Our boy genious, our savior) decided to promote Wall Street and real estate speculation as the only industries in the City. We are totally dependent on this as we don't want to encourage any new technology jobs or clean industries or research because these are not as glamurous as overpriced cheap 'luxury' glass condos.
Time to adjust. The World is Flat - Jobs Die. The End.
What planet is this guy on? Wall Street jobs make teachers salaries increase? We should be justly compensating workers who actually contribute to New York; you know teachers, nurses, ect, rather than justifying handing over billions to the greedy assholes that created this crisis.
Well, now we know we need to get rid of all these elitist criminals and their laughably out-of-touch ideas if our system is ever going to function properly again. Great segment, in a "know your enemies" way.
Greg's outrageous, conflating the validity of paying Wall Street employees with their own earned money with the theft of spending relief dollars donated by US taxpayers. $18 billion is a huge amount of money, which could have been used to provide health care, education, or technological innovation for millions. The same people claming these Wall Street guys deserve the big bonuses with our money represent the same political forces who complain about government as pernicious or unnecessary and to their best to dismantle government programs that halep people who actually need it.
This man is making me lose my breakfast.
IF THIS WAS ANY OTHER TIME AND PLACE THE GUYS ON WALL STREET WOULDN'T RECEIVE BONUSE.
THEY WOULD BE:
PS- Please forward ALL these e-mails to him and make him come back on to defend against them!!
Why must there be an us vs. them set up between the neighborhood around Columbia and the educational future? How many students/profs come in from out of town, as compared to the jobs created for the mostly lower-income people living in the established home communities of the area surrounding it? If Mr. David lived around there, would he quietly leave?
His acceptance of lower incomes for everyone is appalling. This is the point of having a "wealth" i.e., fair, tax system. The disparity between taxes on the wealthy and the rest of us is absurd and the shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the bonuses of wall street--on income vs. wealth--has been subtle but profound.
Also, encouragement and training for unionization and working-class and blue-collar jobs--plumbers, electricians that cannot move overseas--is an extremely viable alternative, and compel upper income incomes.
This guy is soooooooo out of touch. Worst guest ever!
Why is it that when times get tough, it's considered reasonable to throw school teachers, little old ladies, kids' daycare, etc etc all under the bus, before ANYTHING that has to do with rich people gets cut?
And, when your guest keeps using the phrase "WEALTHY CITY" - wealthy for WHO? Wow, doesn't "class warfare" suddenly seem not just a quaint notion? It seems like in fact we've been being "shot at" for years...
Perhaps he should say "expensive"...
The point about the dependency of NYC on the financial sector is real, but if ever there was a time that demonstrates that we need to get away from that - THIS IS IT!
Hmmm, maybe if we spend less money propping up Wall Street and put it directly into education and social programs, then we won't be depending on feeding off the scraps of Wall Street to fund those programs.
And now my heart is supposed to go out to those people who "only make $200,000"? This is really trying on me.
Your guest's defense of bonuses at any cost is very misleading. It's offensive to try and justify outrageous bonus payments by pointing to how important bonuses are to "little people." If we're going to argue by anecodote, what about AIG's decision AFTER IT WAS BAILED OUT to pay billions to the entire 400 person team response for committing AIG to buying the CDOs that bankrupted the company. That's the piece he totally covers over. It reminds me of Nixon's famous Checkers speech.
Please Brian, better guests next time.
is assume mr David doesn't live on the UWS! or near union square (NYU city)
This guy even whines like Bloomie!!!
Financial industry hs chased everything good abøut the creativity of NYC - no more mom and pops, just duane reades (slated to go bankrupt) no more artists - bubble - my a---!!! bubble based on fake money!!!1 WAKE UP!!!
So let's think about this, Mr. David.Maybe that Wall Street bailout money should have gone DIRECTLY to state and local governments to shore up education and healthcare. Not to your fat cats.
bonuses = teachers?that is a bold assumption.
While your guest says that even lower level employees at wall street firms rely on bonuses as a large percentage of their income, what he doesn't say is that their base salaries exclusive of bonus, can be already much higher than that of people in similar positions in other fields. So while it's easier to feel sorry for them relative to the bankers who have to sell one of their 5 vacation homes, it's hard to feel sorry for them relative to the average NYer.
The problem with Craig David isn't as much his politics and his pro Wall Street bonus attitude. It's his smugness. He's just too holier than thou.
A layoff is a bad thing regardless of where the laid off comes from, but those I know who are laid off from Wall Street have severance that floated them 6 months or even a year while they figured things out.
I had three weeks.
That was in October.
And I still haven't figured things out.
I love how he couches his reactionary rhetoric as progressivism. As if Columbia University is a public trust. It's not; it's a company that saw what great money NYU was making on real estate deals and wanted in. There's nothing progressing about throwing people out of their homes and destroying a neighborhood.
former banker, HR Consultant, Bonuses are a poor way to reward based on what I saw. Highly discretionary, based on favoritism, not performance. This is a continuation of the "gravy train" mentality which is endemic in our business paradigm. Time to realign pay to a realistic scale. Time to understand physical location is not required to do business, it,s a "wired world". Tell the guest that industries will not locate a workforce or hire a workforce where salaries are so inflated and COL is ridiculous. the shift is on
It's funny higher education came up. Higher education shouldn't come at the cost of surrounding neighborhoods. I don't think that issue and Wall St. are all that dissimilar.
The question for the moment, (to quote the speaker),is NOT do we continue to pay bonuses for wall street, but if so much of NYC wealth is tied into Wall Street, do we really want to take that risk, are we really comfortable with that? Haven't we learned anything? And WHY is so much of NYC income tied into Wall Street?
The speaker, and I agree the previous caller is SO out of touch with the rest of NYC workers pay. How about we supplement the greater weight of NYC economy dependency on better jobs and other sectors to balance out the over dependence on Wall Street.
The other thing is that, these people actually have real money and assets at the end of the day, even if they don't get their bonuses. I am sure their kids have bank accounts and compared to the housing crises, high rents, and people without health insurance, people who never get bonuses, THE REAL NYC workers, WALL STREET WORKERS HAVE ALREADY BENEFITED ENOUGH!
CAN WE PLEASE SPREAD THE WEALTH!
SUNSHINE, you are RIGHT ON!!
Brian, please do not rephrase her question. Her question is WHY SHOULD GOVERNMENT BUILD IT"S Fiscal policy and economy on gambling - which is on bonuses that come at the end of the year.
The City's finances should be structured based on the real economy, NOT on whether one industry issues bonuses or not at the end of the year
I’m all for the people in the middle office and back office receiving bonuses. However, executive and top management should not have received a penny. They failed miserably, their company’s would have collapsed had the government not stepped in.
get rid off this elitist jerk he is fouling up the air we breath. I think instead of checking idling buses we should get rid of this air bag...
Bonuses are the drive for a 60-80 hours a week woekload. WS backoffice workers are the people who really makes the machine work.
Change the Wall Street salary structure. No more bonuses as normal. Have straight salaries for everyone, bonuses only if there are profits.
The sense of entitlement here is truly ugly. So many people are going without bonuses this year, what's so special about these people? How about being grateful for having a job AT ALL and making do with less, like everyone else?
They say they pay bonuses to keep the best and brightest? Why do they think they deserve extra when so many people aren't working at all? AND THE MONEY IS COMING FROM THE TAXES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED. So unbalanced. Such a waste.
the figures greg david is tossing around as "not that much for new york city" (200,000) or that some people "only make 75,000 per year" are ludicrous. people from the highest and lowest echelons are scrambling for jobs which pay half that. this dialogue is disgusting and the guest seems out of touch with reality.
re: callers question about why bonuses:
Isn't it an effort to mitigate against what economists call the "agent-owner" problem? I don't have a problem with bonuses as an idea. i do have a problem with the astronomically high bonuses.
What is this spin about higher ed now?
This fellow reminds me of a Cheney talking point
I would simply like to know if bonuses had been limited to $1million, how much total bonus money would have been paid out. It's not the low end workers anyone is concerned with. It's on the hi, obscene bonus end.
i'm an architect in chelsea and after 3 yrs of grad school i still get paid peanuts. many of these wall st. folks make 5-10 times my salary, and my only bonus was that i get to keep my job. perhaps the wall st. firms should reinvest their money rather than pay out, and perhaps enable themselves to retain employees with their savings, in the future.
Manhattan will be fine as it is the bastion of the rich and international tourists and investors because starting with Mayor Koch, most working class people have had to move to the boroughs not being able to afford the incredible escalation of real estate. The rot will be most toxic in the boroughs which are not given the service or resources that manhattan gets. We will probably need passes to cross the bridges to manhattan.
NY supports other stateshttp://www.taxfoundation.org/UserFiles/Image/Blog/ftsbs-large.jpg
NYC supports NY state
Madoff isn't the biggest Ponzi scheme- the bailout is!
TARP= The world's biggest SLUSH FUND!
Hearing your guest say that $250K "is not exactly wealthy" was a shock. By his reasoning my five figure social worker's salary puts my family and I in the poor house. forgive me for not having too much sympathy.
Listening to Greg David try to defend Wall Street bonuses is like listening to Rob Blagojevich try to defend himself - it has no relationship to reality!
I think it's outrageous that this man thinks that $250,000 salary is not wealthy. That is a wealthy salary and points out a basic problem. The people with money cannot see how much they have. It's all about greed.
this guy, reminds me of my first wife.
This guy is clearly out of touch. He thinks the average wage in New York City is $80,000? He thinks that people in the middle office who make $200,000 a year aren't exactly wealthy? News flash: Most people in New York don't make anything near $80,000 a year, let alone $200,000.
His comment that there is more pain on Wall Street than anywhere else in New York shows his lack of perspective. I teach at BMCC, and I see pain there every day, even during good times, that is vastly greater than anything that any of these people on Wall Street are experiencing now. If you go from getting $2 million to $1 million, that's a decline of 50 percent, but you're still a lot better off than someone on food stamps despite having a full-time job.
Also, there's no discussion of equity here from the outset. People should not receive salaries in the millions of dollars, as a simple matter of equity. The fact that the bonuses this time around are fraudulent is really a separate issue.
who cares if these people depend on their bonuses? most people depend on their actual JOB that is now gone because of the geniuses who created this bubble. you work in an industry that went too far and you profited from it (even if you were a back office IT guy/gal).i have NO job. i actually MADE things.they should feel lucky to have the base salary they still have (which is certainly not minimum wage). this guest's attempt to defend this is disgusting.
These bonuses are to Wall Street what the corporate jets were to the car execs: a visible sign of their disconnect from the reality of what the rest of us are experiencing.
This guy is unbelievable. Can you send him back to his Hamptons home and not have him leave. EVER! He's despicable and mirrors the Wall Street arrogance that he is so proudly defending.
Wall Street pay is some analagous to a salesman's commission. The base pay is really just a "draw" on your total compensation which comes at the end of the year and is based on your personal performance, your department's performance and the firm's performance.
200K in NYC isn't exactly wealthy? I suppose it's relative. This guy hasn't been below 57th Street since 1973.
Let's find out in terms of DOLLARS what he's calling *not large* bonuses. What does he think is average or small in terms of money?
Go ahead Brian, backoff, that seems to be the new standard for journalists these days.
I think this is outrageous. Any responsible adult earning the salaries that Wall Street employees have been should be saving to cushion themselves in the bad times. I have sympathy for support staff in these offices but the fact is, tax payer money (my money) should not be spent compensating people who have been reckless financial stewards of the global economy and irresponsible in managing their own personal savings. How about spending the $18 billion compensating low-income seniors who saw half of their 401K savings dissappear through no fault of their own?
I spent most of my professional years in sales where my pay was based on performance, and I now consult to companies on the same. When business was REALLY bad, we NEVER got big commissions, and do to so was just wrong.
Wall Street: you are well paid overall. Stop whining about reduced bonuses. If you look for work in the rest America, you'll find a lot less money out there.
Brian, tell this man that we are fine with the "consequences". It's time to change the bonus "structure".
I care far more for the service people who rely on Wall Street bonus spending. But Wall Street? Those rich guys who are being laid-off? DO NOT CARE. Not one bit.
My concern re bonuses is their role as incentive for not-my-problem lending practices that encouraged creation of the riskiest loans. How this applies to the particular bonuses discussed in this segment is in the culture that rewarded short-term ostensible gains to big earnings for individuals, without their having to assume any of the risks they helped create.
To those on the outside watching the collapse of the financial system it appears that the system has been built on a goal of growth (profit) for growth's sake rather than a measure of balance. In this period of new sustainable sensitivity, from a financial and material perspective this seems fundamentally flawed.
Does the guest feel that the system can reinvent it's reason for being?
i hope they saved for a rainy day :)
I don't care about Wall St. bankers losing their jobs. They made pots of money when they had jobs. Even the support staff made great money. A friend of mine who was a secretary at one of the big firms we taxpayers are propping up made twice as much as I did at a fairly senior level in a do-gooder non-profit job (that got wiped out in the Fall).Screw 'em. How can Greg David say $200,000 doesn't make you rich???Obscene.
This guest is simply an apologist for the people who created the crisis we're stumbling through.
He's a shill.
I am fairly confident that the major beneficiaries of these bonuses are few executives and front office middle office and back office employees received minuscule bonuses.
If this guy continues to say that the is more suffering on Wall Street that anywhere else in New York, he is going to have to seek protection from the witness protection program or asylum in another country.
Is he kidding? Has he seen the economic suffering elsewhere in New York, pre and post economic meltdown? The rest of us have a hard time feeling sorry for greedy college boys who wont be able to have their million-dollar careers exactly as planned. Maybe some of them can find a new career in public service.
This guy is unbelievable.Doesn't he understand that AVERAGE salaries are inflated because of people at the top who make millions of dollars? AVERAGE obscures income gap, which has been widening drastically for more than a decade.
$250,000/yr isn't wealthy?
So out of touch!!
Greg's point about severance vs unemployment may be incorrect. It depends upon how the severance is paid out. If it is paid out in one lump sum, then the severance does not count as normal salary and the individual will be eligible immediately.
The hubris of this man is stunning, but so is the hubris of Wall Street.
He keeps making claims to exceptionalism--Wall Streeters cannot be judged on the same scale as other people, nor should anyone criticize the bonus structure. The exceptionalism is of course how we ended up here in the first place; Wall Street has not been held to the same standards as everyone else and other businesses. He also articulated the trickle down idea that if Wall Street suffers, New York will suffer on the whole. While this is surely true, he seems not to be learning from what's happening. Everyone else must tighten their belts, but Wall Street is again exempt from needing to do this. You found a brave defender of a weak position, Brian.
To say Wall Street is suffering more than other people is outrageous, as those people have more of a financial cushion than the "average" person. He's maddening to listen to with his smugness and aristocratic garbage.
Is this guy out of his mind? Wall St is feeling the most pain in New York City? These poor guys don't earn much of a wage until bonus time? I didn't make much of a wage -- and never expected a bonus. Top of my head, I'd say teachers, non-profit workers, restaurant workers, retailers and even media professionals deserve our sympathies a lot more than these guys. I hope every laid-off Wall Streeter jumps out of his Varick St. loft and lands on Greg David's head.
Wall Street management decides to pay bonuses while laying off employees? Why not use that money to keep some of those employees working?
WHY is it that Wall Street executives are not paid regular salaries than most people? WHY do they get most of their (exorbitant) pay in bonuses? WHY is that the salary structure? The excess and greed is beyond irresponsible and shameful; it is greedy with a vengeance; it is disgusting and immoral. Why is a Wall Street executive's work worth so much more than other workers? This city should be encouraging other industries. The excess of Wall Street has only made New York more expensive and much harder to live in for the rest of us.
So, we had to give mega bonuses to EVERYone on Wall Street -- not just a few key earners? And this thing about "keeping talent?" Where is the so-called talent going to go -- I don't really think anywhere is having hiring fest. You may lose a few people -- but no one is irreplaceable.
NYC would be worse off w/out wall street bonuses? Maybe the earnings should be taxed a little more before there is any distribution? I just don't know how you can justify keeping the rich rich when so many people are out of work. The city would have been better off if they gave the money to the MTA to and other organizations to keep their workiers, instead of worrying about Wall Street. It just not right.
Your guest asks us to sympathize with Wall street because they have cut 17,000 jobs so far? I would think that $18 billion could have been used to preserve those jobs.
ask him about the average salary of high bonus people in finance. you might infer that the salaries were $30-40k - hard to live on in New York. My guess is that the average salary is $250k - perhaps more.
The government should CLAW BACK these undeserved bonuses. Where is the outrage?
wall street could have cur fewer jobs by NOT giving bonuses. did the guest not think of that?
How are these cash bonuses feeding the economy--through high-end restaurants, BMW dealerships, and designer kitchens? Are there other ways to feed the economy--by supporting nonprofits and organizations that attend to the needs of people who don't have their basic needs met? Or is that a socialist thing?
We would have lower layoffs on Wall St. if they did away with the bonuses and instituted a 10% paycut across the board.
"There is more pain on Wall Street.." Brian, queue in the violins ( get some NEA funding to provide some gigs for musicians to provide dramatic background music for your guest)!!!
People on Wall St are obviously not feeling the most pain in NY. If you make over $100,000 a year, losing your job just isn't that big of an deal. Losing half your salary isn't that big of a deal. What about the person with only $2000 in the bank who gets laid off?
Ask him how many of those "up to 50,000 jobs" could be saved with that $18 billion!!
Give me a break.
How can the average worker have confidence in the economy when he sees Wall Street execs getting bonuses as he is suffering or losing his home?
Wall Street execs win in the good times and win in the bad times, where is the fairness?
To restore confidence in the economy, the middle class family has to perceive fairness in the way Wall Street, and our economic system works.
Your guest does not understand this basic fact.
Your speaker defends Wall St.'s sharing of thousands of layoffs, but fails to consider the possibility that $18 billion could keep thousands of people employed, instead of giving all of it to a handful of failed executives.
Haha! If there is anything NYC should be it's poorer. It's called rehab, Mr. David.
Secondly, obama can easily forbid any company like citibank that is on government welfare from buying new jets and paying rich man bonuses, should he choose.
Obama's attempt to shame Citibank, AIG and other members of mr. David's NYC breakfast think tank is a joke as he should know. Their currency is money not shame, Wall Street is not church.
Greg David's response to call Gregg is apples and oranges; caller Gregg referred to reductions in pay for still employed, while still employed Wall Street people are getting bonuses. Caller Gregg did not have a chance to tell about the layoffs by his employer, which is the comparison Greg David made. And Caller Greg's employer is not *responsible* for the disastrous shape we're in!!!
Does your guest think that the world begins and ends with Wall Street? What exactly does Wall Street do? They don't create squat. They just move 'money' around - mostly into their own pockets. Does this guy know the role played by the credit agencies in the current crisis? Has he been reading anything the last few months? So 100,000 Wall St. people get laid off...cry me a river. Job losses in the rest of the country are in the millions.
Well, if the bailout money goes to pay wall st's huge bonuses, then we, The People, the tax payers, own part of the corporations that benefit from our taxes. And as share holders, we should be entitled to have a say how those companies are run.Oh, yeah, the pain of wall st...tell it to the homeless...of the 1/3...how many are highly paid executives?
I understand wall street needs compensation, however I doubt the "stars" of wall street are new to this game and could go comfortably without a bonus for one year and simply rely on the 18 million they received last year....but if they need a bonus...isn't one million enough, and then donate the rest to the city???....and we wonder why we are in the position we are....
Wall Street is hurting? Good.
I agree with the caller and Pres. Obama. It is shameful. And indefensible.
UR DOIN IT WRONG
I can’t believe the drivel your current guest spouts about Wall Street bonuses. More of this "pity the poor rich guy" nonsense! What a shame that the EXTERMELY wealthy (who already have more than they could ever use) will have to do without their perks. I have absolutely NO sympathy for these people or their eliteist apologists like this guy.
The rest of the US and the world has had to change overnight. I'm among the best and brightest just like these Wall Street types. I didn't get a penny in bonuses even though I averaged hours easily comparable (I'm an architect from an Ivy League school) to any investment banker. And, the thought that your guest thinks Wall Street has been hit harder than anything else in New York is despicable. My office has shrunk from 290 to 140 since August. Wall Streeters should have to forfeit every penny paid in bonuses that came from TARP. I doubt you would find a single person in the US that would disagree with that sentiment aside from Wall Street.
We all understand what wall street means to nyc, your guest doesn't mention that the bonuses have increased exponentially over the past ten years. OH NO HE DIDN"t just say there is more pain on wall street. Take a walk out of your neighborhood my friend. I think the only thing that's worse on wall street is the whining the rest of the population is pulling up it's pants and getting to work, oh boo hoo for all those wealthy people with bank accounts who have to take some time off and have the luxury and accessability to go back to school and learn a new trade.
Does your guest not understand that TAX dollars were used to pay these bonuses, not profits from a thriving business? Wall Street melted down the GLOBAL ECONOMY and they get billions in bonuses? I think Craig must have a personal fianancial interest in these bonuses not to agree that they are SHAMEFUL!
If it were explicitly stated that any company receiving a bail out must pay modest to no bonuses where is the talent going to turn?
One of the major bonus drives is performance. Well, performance speaks loudly for itself this year.
Right on, Katie.
People like this deserve to lose their jobs. If I made these kind of mistakes at my job, I would be fired. It's common sense.
Every one else is changing over night-
Why are they so special?
Other states do very well on their own and they have lower taxes, yetthey don't have an organized crime syndicate called Wall St. fleecing investors and retirees
why is there never mention made of the kind of work that generates the bonuses? I did that work. 90% of it is socially and economically useless, generated mainly to produce fees. the kind of work that threw off these bonuses may be finished, but never should have existed in the first place. Mention might also be made of how much the trading/risk boom paid off for Bloomberg Inc.
I'd rather see a different nyc, as this man says, and we'll find other ways to support wnyc. The citizens of this city are embarrassed by wall st.'s greed. I'm happy to sacrifice more instead of seeing these swell-headed guys push more of their bundling-money to make money. Talk about money-changers. Tell 'em all to grab a shovel and go out and do some real work.
And we don't care... our pain is more because we don't have the huge bank accounts to cover us while this goes on. If those 6 and 7 figure Wall Street folks haven't saved anything on those salaries then tough. This guy is out of touch with real people's salaries.
Brian - ask him - about retaining talent ... where in the wide wide world of sports is their "talent" going to go? They're not going to quit their jobs - there's nothing else out there!
To the contrary, I think it is time for NYC to begin diversifying beyond Wall Street. Financial services need not be the core of NYC; they certainly aren't the heart and soul. Wall Street job loss could be curbed if the bonus structure were radically reformed, for instance. I am sickened when I hear that bonuses take a "deep dive" and yet are still multi-billion dollars, largely concentrated at the top. The ethos needs to change. If they want to play the capitalist game, they have to learn to gain *and* to lose.
First, many of the Wall Street profits were illusory. Second, as President Obama said, there will be times when Wall Street can collect big bonuses, but now is not the time. And finally, that's MY money that's paying those bonuses while I'm living paycheck to paycheck. To Wall Street - join the club!
job losses on wall street--considering that most of these people were managing an imaginary economy, maybe they should be doing something else.
Greg says that these bonuses represent up to 3/4 of peoples pay. What he leaves out is that a.)they are bonuses b.) they make millions without the bonuses c.) they did a terrible job. They should loose their jobs and not get bonuses.
Phooey! Bonuses yes, but they don't have to be that big. If none of the financial firms are giving large firms, where is the talent going to run to?
And huge bonuses when they are laying others off?
And how good is the "talent" if they drove the companies to this state anyhow?
I'd like to correct your guest on how Wall Streeters get paid. Yes, it's true that their bonuses can be a huge portion of their comp. But to say that they don't get a paycheck every week or two so is false. The bonuses are in ADDITION to their base salaries, which are well into six-figures.
And what about the fact that their bonuses from the past 4 years were based on "profits" that were completely wiped out in '08?
lemme get this straight. wall street compensation was based on the flawed economy that got us in this mess in the first place. maybe these masters of the universe aint so bright afterall.
GIVE ME A BREAK!
This sounds like what RJ Renolds said about TV and cigarettes advertising. We could do without this type of Wall Street miscommunication.
Why don't we raise taxes on the Wall Street firms and those receiving the overly large bonuses. This could be designed to compensate for the tax losses.
New York won't be as wealthy a place? And that is somehow the end of the world???
You mean regular people will be able to buy a home? rent an apartment? feel a sense of dignity about their regular-sized income?
God bless the end of the world...
If Wall Street cuts back, Crain's NY Business shrinks. (Not a great loss.)
Your guest is MISLEADING - It is TRUE that more than half of a Wall Street's compensation comes through bonuses. But it doesn't mean that these guys are working on a minimum wage base salary. These executives get paid twice a month and their base salaries begin on a low pay scale of $250K a year. It's misleading to say that bonuses are these executive's main salary
this guy sounds like someone defending a protection racket: "you pay us what we want, or your local economy gets two in head."
Ugh, this is the guy that still thinks the wall street area in nyc is important to the financial sector. He is so 20th century!
note to guest: the talent has nowhere to go! also, the average bonus was like 112K. these are supposed to be performance based- how was that performance last year?
the guest reflects the sense of entitlement of the people on wall street. apparently one survey found that 46% of those asked thought they deserved more! 80% had recieved some bonus.
wall street caused this financial crisis- we're bailing them out and they still get HUGE bonuses. maybe try getting a guest who has a more jaundiced eye on wall street.
Unbelievable. Bonuses are for doing an exceptional job. Not because you are acccustomed to receiving one. If a company hasn't made a profit - it shouldn't get money from someone else to prop up previous salaries.
It is immoral for someone making $40,ooo to contribute to a million dollar bonus.
THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST? TALENT?
IT'S THE ONLY JOB IN THE WORLD WHERE YOU GET REWARDED FOR FAILURE (EXCEPT MAYBE SPORTS)
IN THE REAL WORLD IF YOU DON'T PERFORM YOU GET CANNED!
I´m confused, they want to give their CEO bonuses to keep their talent, but wasn´t their talent that helped create this mess in the first place?
"If Wall Street shrinks, New York may be a less wealthy place." Good! that sounds awful to say, but maybe that would again make it possible for anyone but the very rich to get by here.
dont bring this guy back Brian, its about ethics..he apparently does not understand that, its not about being in vouge its about taking tax payer money and using it to fund excess
Using the Bush scare tactics are you!
The bonuses on Wall Street are despicable. NO other industry rewards employees for running the business into the ground. Wall Street thinks they are smarter (which they are not). They are not. They don't work harder. It's all nonsense. Rewarding dumb employees is not the way to go.And it's about time NYC woke up and stopped relying on these arrogant people for its revenues. I hope Wall Street shrinks permanently. The world will NOT collapse without Wall Street. In fact, we may be richer for it.
Does Greg David think the Wall Street bonuses will have to be returned?
When I left Wall Street some years ago and started a move into health care, my new salary was barely enough to live on, and I worked my tail off assisting doctors and nurses. So on Thursday, when I read about the $18.4 billion in Wall Street bonuses, many from banks that took bailout money, I was so incensed that for the first time in my life, I called the Senate Banking Committee, the House Oversight Committee, et cetera.
People who say the complaints about the bank bonuses are overblown - look, I feel your pain, because you counted on that money, and New York State depends on the taxes from the bonuses. But, uh, how out of touch are you to think that those bonuses are actually deserved in a year that required a $750 billion plus taxpayer bailout? Do you realize how marginally many American workers are scraping by?
And let's not stop with the Wall Street bonuses. I am ready to organize a march on Washington to get the money back from the sleazy military contractors who made a mint off the Iraq War... all the while our soldiers went without necessary armor.
My bottom line: Ordinary Americans need to ask for accountability from all sectors.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
Brian Lehrer Weekend: Police Militarization, Google Trends Inequality, The Gig Economy
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.