When it comes to greed, there is no shame. That's the reaction from this end when reading about a government report released Friday regarding Wall Street bonuses of $1.6 billion paid by companies to their C.E.O's and other executives who were bailed out by the government "at the height of the financial crisis."
Not that this was a new revelation, but seeing the names of some of the 17 companies listed particularly American International Group (AIG), Bank of America (that rescued a failing Merrill Lynch from going under), Citigroup (known to hold billions in toxic securities of CDO's [collateralized debt obligations] and derivatives), Goldman Sachs (the company that just paid $550,000,000 to settle a fraud case brought by the SEC), renewed the disgust one felt when these revelations were first made public many months ago.
AIG, the recipient of the largest ever government bailout of a corporation ($180 billion) handing out huge bonuses and other compensation, stood out as the most egregious. Followed by Goldman Sachs which AIG paid out $13.2 billion (out of their $180 billion government handout) as part of their derivatives deal with Goldman that became popularly known as "toxic assets" (precipitated by the sub prime mortgage collapse), but obviously not toxic for Goldman which got paid full value (by AIG).
The report "sparked outrage" by some in Congress renewing calls for "reining in Wall Street compensation," but this is merely grandstanding and posturing by the same pompous lawmakers who enacted the deregulatory legislation that unmoored the financial industry to engage in the casino style risk taking using other peoples money that brought the financial collapse and the subsequent great recession.
Though we read these stories (and the issues they focus on) as if they are separate and isolated, it doesn't take conspiracy theory to realize the interconnectedness of deregulation creating an unfettered laissez- faire atmosphere that encourages wild west type risk taking that feeds greed and countenances fraud with responsibility and accountability so dispersed that when the proverbial s__t hits the fan nobody takes the fall.
Then to top it off the government is there to bail out these "welfare capitalists" because of the generalized fear this unholy enterprise would collapse (if these behemoths were allowed to fail) and we'd be in for a 1930's style depression.
The old saying, "There's something rotten in Denmark" applies many times fold in this country.
Outrageous bonuses paid to the unscrupulous while feeding at the public trough may get our attention and make our blood boil. But they are just some of the more visible parts of a culture that exalted greed as a virtue. Unhappily, that's part of which we are America.
 "Report blasts fat bank bonuses", by Jim Puzzanghera and Nathaniel Popper, "The Baltimore Sun", July 24, 2010
 See footnote #1
 See footnote #1