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When It Comes To Greed, There Is No Shame

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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."[1]

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"[2] by some in Congress renewing calls for "reining in Wall Street compensation,"[3] 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.

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[1] "Report blasts fat bank bonuses", by Jim Puzzanghera and Nathaniel Popper, "The Baltimore Sun", July 24, 2010

[2] See footnote #1

[3] See footnote #1

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No, it is not "part of which we are America". It i... by boomerang on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 10:53:49 AM
Stack all those Wall Street thieves together and w... by TheAZCowBoy Arizona on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 11:01:39 PM
Obviously you are not as clever as others when sli... by Ernest on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 2:02:11 AM
So shove off Ernest, if you think the Wall Street ... by boomerang on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 9:41:59 PM
My comment wasn't to you.....It was posted under "... by Ernest on Monday, Jul 26, 2010 at 12:34:45 AM
Sorry for my ruffled reply. There is much informat... by boomerang on Monday, Jul 26, 2010 at 8:02:25 AM
I'm 100% on your side with these issues.......... by Ernest on Monday, Jul 26, 2010 at 10:39:08 AM
When it comes to greed, no one can top your Uncle ... by Beverly Prather on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 12:59:32 PM
It is Wall Street doing the coercing and buying th... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 2:00:28 PM
According to this Washington Post Article, White H... by Beverly Prather on Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 1:47:29 PM
The business section of my paper reads: "Feinberg ... by Tony Bartoletti on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 2:04:32 AM
Louisiana to prosecute those cops and others who s... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 2:17:40 PM
The Obama administration has been plagued by accus... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 4:34:47 AM
They say "power corrupts, and absolute power corru... by Perry Logan on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 5:43:50 AM
Greed takes many different forms - some of it is v... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 7:34:47 AM
to compare those in crises and on the brink with t... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 2:25:19 PM
it is necessary to treat all contributing factors ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 8:11:36 PM
It is important we keep this disgust and contempt ... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Jul 25, 2010 at 1:54:53 PM