Sunday, February 8, 2009

Main Street To Wall Street: Get Real

Obama's plan to limit pay to $500k for banking execs whose firms accept bailout money has NYT's Allen Salkin plead: impossible!
"To many people in many places, it is a princely sum to live on," Salkin writes. "But in the neighborhoods of New York City and its suburban enclaves where successful bankers live, half a million a year can go very fast." Salkin does the math: factor in the Upper East Side mortgage and co-op fees, the kids' private school and nanny, the driver, the house in the Hamptons and all other "must have" perks, and $2-3 million dollar a year is the absolute minimum required for those execs to stay afloat.

"Sure, the solution may seem simple: move to Brooklyn or Hoboken, put the children in public schools and buy a MetroCard," Salking adds. "But the New York-based financial executives who would have their pay limited are men whose identities are entwined with living a certain way in a certain neighborhood west of Third Avenue: a life of private schools, summer houses and charity galas that only a seven-figure income can stretch to cover."

Sorry: not a valid argument. $350bn have already gone in smoke. $350bn of hard-earned taxpayers' money. And there is more to come. Enough irrational exuberance. Time for the shameless, arrogant thieves who have bankrupt this country to get back to reality-based lifestyles, and identities. Hell, they should be stripped of their assets and forced to work pro bono to repay the damage they have done.

If you managed to retain your sense of humor despite the financial debacle, check out Wall Street Executive Air. And Vanity Fair's Wall Street's $18.4 Billion Bonus.
illustration Lalo Alcaraz via