Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bonus Time!

CNN has a story about what Wall Streeters will be spending your money on this bonus season. Keep in mind that these bonuses alone would have been enough to insure all of the Americans who currently don't have health insurance. Luckily it's going to be used for more important things:

Vacation: $40,000+
On top of essentials such as education, many bankers will use the fresh cash to get away. One banker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he'll be escaping his crushing work schedule as an associate by spending three weeks in Argentina.
He's not at the level of the uber bonus - yet - but he may someday join the ranks of those jetting off to the newest hot spots. African safaris are becoming de rigueur, and Ashley Isaacs Ganz, founder of Artisans of Leisure Travel, said the Middle East, Spain and Morocco are very popular.
"Our luxury travelers are fascinated by the history in Israel and nearby Turkey and really want to have in-depth cultural experiences," Ganz explained.
A trip like that can cost $40,000 for the whole family -- on a budget. Plus, these travelers have to consider whether to bring the nanny. That costs an extra plane ticket, sure - but you just lodge them in the kids' room. So the overall expense -- considering a half-million-dollar bonus -- isn't exactly crippling.
For something more intimate, Ganz said, people are asking her to arrange on-site babysitters or be booked in hotels that offer kids clubs.
"With more money, they can bring more of the family along and go to more exclusive and smaller, boutique resorts," said Pedraza.
The real high-rollers, however, can't just go to Aspen for a much-needed vacation. They look for the unexploited experience -- like renting a rehabbed ghost town in the Colorado wilderness. And for that they'll pay $17,500 a night for the Dunton Hot Springs.
Or maybe they could charter Richard Branson's yacht for a week.
Toys: $50,000+
Of course, generous bonuses also mean splurging on the fun stuff. "There has never been a better time to negotiate jewelry and watches, and I mean the finest of luxury watches," said Pedraza. "This is the opportunity to go in and negotiate what you want."
But when it comes to picking out these luxury goods, "no one's in the mood to experiment," he said. So, while still spending more than $50,000 on jewelry and watches, the monied are playing it safe by sticking to traditional brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.
That goes for cars as well, and Pedraza said he predicts many employees will use part of their bonuses to buy autos that hold up in value, such as Ferraris.
There's more here...

These people are members of the American aristocracy. Like kings, duchesses, counts, and other aristocrats, they are born into positions of wealth and power, and take full advantage of the institutions and freedoms that poorer Americans have helped create and defend. There is simply no excuse for not taxing their excess earnings at a higher rate during normal times.

But this is far worse. These people wouldn't even have jobs if the government hadn't stepped in and saved their asses using taxpayer money. This money was supposed to be shoring up the capital reserves of banks like Citigroup and BoA, so that they would be able to lend, and would have time to get their shit together.

Instead, they are refusing to lend, refusing to work with homeowners who have seen their equity destroyed by financial industry or who can't pay because they lost their jobs due to a recession caused by bankers, and not even bothering to pretend to work their way towards solvency.

Instead, they're planning to spend your money by renting towns in Colorado for vacation.

Are you mad as hell yet? Because I sure am.

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