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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wall St. Bonuses and TARP: A Tale of Two Cities

Wall Street profits totaled $21.4 billion during the first three quarters of 2010. The prior year's record of $61.4 billion was fueled by the bailout financed by American taxpayers. Wall Street paid out $20.3 billion in bonuses on the 2009 profits. According to New York City Comptroller John Liu, "The astounding recovery of financial firm profitability in 2009 has been followed by a mixed year in 2010, yet total compensation in the industry is expected to be up modestly once year-end bonuses are paid." Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and his top subordinate executives collected about $111.3 million in stock in January 2011. It was a delayed payoff from 2009 and the bank’s record-setting 2007 bonuses, according to a Bloomberg News report. Within a year after the bonuses had been approved, Goldman Sachs took $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury, converted to a bank and was borrowing as much as $35.4 billion a day from Federal Reserve emergency programs, Bloomberg reported. In 2010, the bank paid $550 million to settle U.S. regulators’ fraud charges related to a mortgage-security company sold in 2007.

The full essay is at Bonuses and TARP.