Wall Street Bonuses Up 17 Percent; Record Profits Projected for 2009

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Profits on Wall Street are estimated to exceed $55 billion for 2009, nearly three times the previous record. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released his estimate today.

"Look there is a very simple explanation," DiNapoli said on WNYC's The Brian leher Show today. "Tax payers helped bail this sector of the economy out. Money was cheap. It's pretty hard not to make money when you are given money."

The comptroller also says bonuses were up 17 percent to over $20 billion in 2009.

DiNapoli says this is a "bitter pill" for many taxpayers to swallow, since it was their money that helped Wall Street to bounce back so quickly.

"We need this sector of the economy to be healthy and profitable but we need it in a way that is going to benefit the other sectors of the economy. That hasn't happened. We know unemployment is still at historically high levels, home foreclosures are still an issue," DiNapoli says.

DiNapoli says he supports legislation that increases oversight of bank behavior, but says that Wall Street devoted a much smaller percentage of its gross revenues to employee compensation last year, compared with previous years.

DiNapoli says average compensation was more than $340,000 at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase.