ViewPoint: Bonuses for Wall Street execs?

November 13, 2008

We are now hearing that despite the massive taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, some of this country's biggest banks -- including those on Wall Street -- are planning to pay their employees big bonuses this year.

It is the way Wall Street does business -- but in the current climate, is it right?

Even as $125 billion of taxpayer money goes to support the nation's biggest financial firms, word that even in the worst of times, the pay on Wall Street could still be very good:

According to an analysis by Bloomberg News, Goldman Sachs has set aside roughly $6.8 billion in bonuses this year - for an average of $210,300 per employee. Though some will get far more.

Morgan Stanley has set aside $6.4 billion for bonuses, the average: $138,700 per employee.

And at Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg estimates $6.7 billion set aside for bonuses. $110,000 on average-- higher than a year ago, because 3,000 jobs have been cut.

Wall Street traders and bankers can earn $80,000 to $600,000 a year, but bonuses can add hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to that figure.

But this time - it's different: They're going to have villagers with torches coming at them if they don't turn down these bonuses, or find a way to defer them until this mess is cleaned up.

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said that if Wall Street hands out bonuses, it can bank on congress passing much more regulation in the months ahead.

We couldn't agree more.