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Wall Street’s moneyed elite are now feeling more confident, conspicuously opening their...

Wall Street’s moneyed elite are now feeling more confident, conspicuously opening their wallets for fancy parties, cosmetic surgery and Hamptons rentals. Meanwhile, in the rest of America, unemployment nears 10%, millions of homeowners can't pay their mortgages... and small businesses are canceling Christmas.
Comments (88)
  • Would you rather the wealthy don't spend?? Populist fervor does
    not create jobs.....
    24 Nov 2010, 06:17 PM Reply Like
  • Sure the rich acquired it so they could spend it.. and spend it they do. But take a look at just how they are spending it. I wonder what Lazarus would have to say.. see the article or excerpts (below)... Slightly reminiscent of Dante's Inferno?


    "an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs, was able to snag a hip-hop star"


    "a well known on the New York social scene, wore a gray Hugh Hefner-esque jacket."


    "Women dressed like Playmates, with feather boas and satin ears, danced behind a pink silk screen"


    Yes indeed the Wall Street elite are back stealing from the masses again and spending it in high style. Funny thing though. The money they spend always seems to originate from the same place... investment accounts of people like you and me, who had to get it the old fashioned way - by earning it.


    How's that?


    Front running, high frequency trading, bull pit speculation, bogus analyst upgrades and the endless flow of illicit insider information... all used by the entrenched elite on Wall Street.


    Not to mention: bailouts, TARP money, Fanny and Freddie backstops c/o US Treasury, QE-1, QE-2 etc, etc etc.


    "...for it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven"
    24 Nov 2010, 07:40 PM Reply Like
  • I suppose you would celebrate the thugs who beat up your Grandma spending her money at the strip joint too?
    24 Nov 2010, 09:32 PM Reply Like
  • Hey Boxer. Didn't you hear?


    Wall Street Bad, Main Street Good


    Snowball said so. Pass it on.


    24 Nov 2010, 10:45 PM Reply Like
  • wow ebby. what a great argument!


    I am having a Peter Griffin moment...


    "Yes I would so totally celebrate the thugs who beat up my Grandmother...I never thought of it that way. You are so correct, Sir. Well. I'm convinced by your surperior logic"


    ebby. you are like a modern day Clarence Darrow. total respect.


    maybe Palin should choose you as a running mate and not Glen Beck. you would be great in the debates. you would crush them.


    Palin/Ebby 2012. "Ushering in the new dark age" (needs work I know - we'll get there - not gloomy or doomy enough) Maybe - "The End is Nigh" or "Save yourselves, Run for your lives" That's it.


    Palin/Ebby 2012. "Save yourselves, Run for your lives"


    25 Nov 2010, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • Sure we do, but the disparity between the two groups has grown to an unhealthy margin. Look at history as to what happens when the gap becomes so wide. Do you really think that CEO pay has gone from 40x to 200x minion pay because they are 5 times smarter nowadays? Hey, I'm not saying to tax them to death, but my son is in the business - why should 20 somethings make big bucks on betting.
    24 Nov 2010, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • OptionManiac, because government bureaucrats have made it a no-lose game for wall street. You should not be mad at the normal folks taking advantage, you should be outraged at the government bureaucrats for allowing it to happen.


    Some people think that there are two classes; the rich and the poor. But thats not the case any longer, now its the politically connected versus main street middle class. The political elite take from the middle class in order to buy votes from the poor all in the name of fairness. It can only last so long, then the middle class will be no more. Then it will suck for everyone.
    24 Nov 2010, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • The set of "Wall Street moneyed elite" is not the same as "all CEOs." That's just an attempt to dumb-down the discussion. I would place many at Goldman Sachs in the moneyed elite camp, and as far as I can tell there's but one CEO at GS. What we need in fact are more real businesses and CEOs, while driving the Goldman Sachs types out of business (which would be simple - just let them fail, rather than have the political class continue to prop them up with taxpayer dollars and Fed printed dollars).
    24 Nov 2010, 07:16 PM Reply Like
  • If you don't like the disparity you have ask what is the root cause. That's the only way to fix it. And you need to be ready for a long haul


    redistribution is a non-answer and ultimately self defeating
    would you have rules that limit comp? bad idea


    I would propose that at the core of the disparities that we are seeing is a failure of public education. While the "education content" of higher paid and more lucrative roles and indeed almost any job is increasing the folks coming into the labor force are just not cutting it. And I am not just talking about college educated although they are also deficient - you see it across the board. Critical thinking, basic comprehension, numeracy, written and verbal communications - many high school graduates are frankly unemployable. This failure of education handicaps people from the start and puts many in a perpetual slow lane. You don't need a Phd in psychology to lead and manage people but if you cannot read or spell it is going to take you a long time to get from fry cook to manager. And that's the core of the problem.


    This failure of education flows across the board - suddenly these folks are signing papers for zero down mortgages - that went well didn't it? They have low health and dental IQ's and so they don't take care of themselves and much that could be avoided - isn't.


    Education is a big deal and we are failing at providing it. Forget class warfare and get educated about classrooms. Read about what Rhee did in DC before she was shamefuly run out of town by Teacher's unions. Forget about Goldman, instead get angry about Teacher's unions and other special interest groups. Goldman is nothing comapred to the damage these people are doing to the future. Go see "Waiting for Superman" it will explain a lot about the cause of disparities and what it takes to fix them.


    24 Nov 2010, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • Oh, I agree. But, execs like the ones who were running GM should be taken to the woodpile. Let GM go belly up and the execs walk away with all they need while the grunts get nothing except for unemployment. There has to be some accountability (and yes, from the union top brass also).
    24 Nov 2010, 08:02 PM Reply Like
  • Econdoc -


    Aren't education and the teachers unions too narrow a focus to be the cause or solution to the wealth and income distribution issues?
    24 Nov 2010, 08:16 PM Reply Like
  • For every overpaid wall streeter there are thousands of qualified people in the work force who have everything except the Uncle in the business. Talk about a lapse of critical thinking! To say that public education is the root of Wall Street fraud and greed is ludicrous!
    24 Nov 2010, 09:17 PM Reply Like
  • Yes, but you must not forget the corporate elites and "bankers" on Wall Street who collude with the politicians to debauch the nation and our children's future.
    24 Nov 2010, 09:35 PM Reply Like
  • Econodoc: Educational analysis spot on. Teachers unions have pushed standards down to make the less qualified teachers employable -- teachers, not students, are the union constituencies.


    All the redistributionist whining is really besides the point. The top 20% had 80.3% of the wealth in 1983 and 85.1% in 2007 -- a 6% change. Not much of a case for a "bankster takeover."


    In truth, public employees are the real story. They earn 11% more than private employees for the most job descriptions. They contribute much less to GDP as a group, since they don't make anything you can export other than a wasteful foreign policy.


    Class war will get nowhere in the U.S., in the longer term. Lowering the presently exorbitant cost of government and raising the game of the U.S. work force will, given time.


    Right now, many corporations can replace a plurality of workers with machines and computers because those workers were doing routine jobs that require little thought. And companies are doing just that: capital is cheap, people are very expensive -- worker's comp., pension contributions, health benefits, sick days. Can't blame 'em; it's a very competitive world, as we are seeing.


    Sure, there are lots of people who make more than they deserve. But even if redistributing income makes the public feel better, it won't keep the U.S. from becoming a second rate economic power.


    Better education will. Streamlining government and encouraging savings will. Rebuilding essential infrastructure and limiting costly military adventures will. And regulating the financial markets so that they allocate capital in a manner that assists economic development rather than turning the capital markets into a rigged poker game would definitely help.
    24 Nov 2010, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • Ebby. Don't knock it until you try it. A good debauch every now and then is good for the soul.


    I love the smell of populist stupidity in the morning.


    24 Nov 2010, 10:47 PM Reply Like
  • Maybe. But I will lt you decide.


    Education is pretty fundamental. Every child goes through it. That feels like a pretty broad footprint. Right there.


    The output of public education system is the fuel for the economic growth engine. If people are your most important asset and their basic training comes over that 12 year period then that feels pretty broad as well. All children for 12 years. How many of you have spent 12 years in one job or vocation?


    The Jesuits (great educators - I went to a Jesuit school btw) used to say "Give me a child for his first seven years and I'll give you the man". They know a thing or two about this stuff. 400 hundred years - give or take of experience - will inform you. That also feels like a pretty big footprint.


    Education is a big leverage point and a lot flows downstream from it so I am guessing it is s good place to look. When you look at it more closely you see that the system is not designed to deliver results - if results are defined as proficiency in the basic and advanced skill sets needed to function and thrive especially when you compare them to other children elsewhere.


    So now you have to ask why. Who do we blame?


    Are US children more stupid or distracted than others. I think we know the answer to that and it is no. Are they less motivated? Hard to tell but based on what we can deduce about human nature it is probably not likely. So we can't blame the kids.


    Shall we blame the parents? Are US parents systematically less interested in their child's education versus others? I doubt it.


    Does the US have less resources than other places. Doubt that too.


    Nope. When you flip through the list you are left with the Teachers and the thing that governs the Teachers is the Unions, who have succeeded in running public education as a jobs program. If you judge it on that score - we do very well. But is that the point?


    Anyway you decide. I am sure that the disparities that we see are due to greedy Wall Street moneyed elites or Hedge Funds or maybe sunspots. Who knows.


    This is what I know. I try to hire HS graduates but if I do I need to invest moeny and time to teach them basic skills to make them useful. So much so that entry level jobs are well beyond most of them. That to me smells like a perfect recipe for creating an underclass. And if that's the goal. To create a permanent underclass of folks then this is the way to do it. Fail them in those crucial years.


    24 Nov 2010, 11:06 PM Reply Like
  • Education has become affirmation.


    Higher Education is Higher Affirmation.


    They want to be told they are special, and not be taught anything.


    Education without ethics and morality is indoctrination and induction into the cult of narcissism and oppression.
    24 Nov 2010, 11:49 PM Reply Like
  • Parents have driven education down, along with unions, politicians, corporations, and Dr. Spock and Mr. Rogers too.


    Corporations don't want an educated employee, they want an employee they can take advantage of - and governments are little different; indoctrination into the corporate and/or political culture, not educated and independent thinkers.


    We moved from a society of expectations and goal setting to one of moral relativism, mediocrity, and narcissism.


    It doesn't matter if you have knowledge or skills, it's how you FEEL about it, and about yourself, that matters.


    This is not due to any one political bent or ideology but a progression from an agricultural to industrial to service to information economy.


    Everyone wants a gold star for showing up and warming the chair. Teachers teach to the test because that is the measure; no more qualitative nonsense like morals and ethics, or expectations of showing up and doing the homework.


    You have to have both qualitative and quantitative measures combined with morals and ethics or it is simply making hot dogs versus bacon or ribs.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:14 AM Reply Like
  • Your disconnect from the plight of many on main street is heart warming.


    I think the point is more about the disconnect of Wall Street from Main Street. The top down bailouts rewarded bad behavior instead of allowing free market forces to punish them. This is the true problem. Instead of removing those that caused the problem, they were rewarded. Typically that doesn't solve the problem, just moves it.


    Certainly it is fine for the wealthy to spend for it does impact some segments of the economy....but no where near enough.
    25 Nov 2010, 04:37 AM Reply Like
  • Norway has the best education system on earth. Every teacher belongs to the union. My dad used to be a HS principal (and trust me, he is a Fox news channel conservative) - he observed that the kids who fell behind had parents who could give a crap. 40 years ago I had good and bad teachers, my kids have teachers today that seem better educated and just as competent than the ones I had. A kid needs a parent at home who is on their butt to do the work and study.
    26 Nov 2010, 08:26 AM Reply Like
  • OptionManiac, When I went to school I had mostly good teachers, with a few bad. When our son went to school, he had mostly bad with a few good. Our granddaughters, were learning about what a great president Obama was before he was even elected. While, as in every system there are good and bad, today, teachers are the result of college indoctrination. Most of them do not even realize how bad their own education was. Most that I have met concentrate on being politically correct instead of factually correct. That is how they get the respect of their teacher friends and is why we no longer rank at the top of the world in education.
    26 Nov 2010, 02:11 PM Reply Like
  • I have not found that in my corner of the world. My kids went to a semi- large (500 graduating class) public school in southwest Ohio and had a great education. They started in a very small public school in upstate NY, graduating class of around 40. Public schools have to cater to all students - so there are different levels per grade. We opted for our daughter to take the tough English and math classes, settle for tough to earn C's and B's rather than easy A's. We have to take some responsibility for our own kids's education. What did bother me was that evolution was taught in the Catholic schools but not in the public schools.
    26 Nov 2010, 02:42 PM Reply Like
  • My school teachers were mostly good--until the teachers' union got hold of them.
    26 Nov 2010, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • "Corporations don't want an educated employee", that is pure liberal/socialist propaganda. I have advised many corporations at the highest level and I know for a fact that most corporations (I have never consulted to one that did not) would love to have employees that were better educated. Unfortunately, the education system has been dumbed down and substituted with indoctrination that includes this "corporations are evil" crap. Corporations want one thing; that is success. When employees can not step up and do the work, then yes, corporations find other ways. When the government makes employing a person so expensive and adds so much red tape then they find other ways. When unions make employing people so problematic then they find other ways.


    The real problem is a lack of understanding of long term cause and effect. The government, unions, and the eduction system has forced employment offshore or to be replaced with automation.


    The solution is simple, reduce the penalties for hiring people and more people will get hired. It has nothing to do with evil corporations, unless you are a liberal corporation hater or socialist.


    ebworthen, otherwise I agree with your other points.
    27 Nov 2010, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • I was in ths business and I totally agree it was ridiculous..But as long
    as we live in a capitalist society there will be disparities ....I just want
    the jokers to spend the money even if it means the jobs are for caterers and waiters....
    24 Nov 2010, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • But how big a chasm can a capitalistic society handle before it crumbles on itself?
    24 Nov 2010, 08:03 PM Reply Like
  • It seems easy enough to compare apples to apples how large the disparity is.


    Surely there are a lot of causes for this but the 2 smartest guys I grew up with went to the Ivy league and then to Wall Street (I am 34)


    I hear this was quite common in my generation.


    Something is not right.
    24 Nov 2010, 09:02 PM Reply Like
  • Please do not tax them-they deserve it!
    24 Nov 2010, 06:43 PM Reply Like
  • What is the point of this article? I see it to just create more class warfare? Why aren't politicians mentioned ? Why are congressional people allowed to invest with government knowledge to create wealth?
    Why does the government insist on more taxes when they cannot find a single thing to cut?
    While do government workers have pensions and 401Ks, fully paid for HC and raises?
    Why does some of our tax dollars go to the presidential re election efforts?
    Why do the tax payers have to have our money wasted on congressional hearing with a comedian?
    While I do not agree completely with the discrepancy of CEO to worker pay, it is private business and that is mostly up to the shareholders, workers and executives.
    Quite frankly, I am tired of this class warfare that Obama has embarked on; when in fact the democrats are some of the worse offenders.
    The government , their actions and how they spend our money should be in fact decided by the taxpayers but it is not.
    I wonder how much of our tax dollars are wasted and used to create wealthy politicians? Maybe just maybe if our government didn't work like this; more people would be in a better financial situation. Not to mention individuals taking personal responsibility for their own financial decisions.
    Get an education, work hard, save your money and live with in your means- Maybe you won't be filthy rich but I truly believe you can live a nice life.
    Unfortunately, we have become a society of blaming everyone else is easier.
    I think it is ridiculous to have to pay for a government agency to make sure consumers are being swindled by a credit card company. Here is a simply solution - pay cash!
    I have plenty of credit cards and use them often and pay them off every month.
    I have taught my kids that why buy a sweater on sale if you are going to charge it and pay interest - the 50 sweater you got for 30 ends up costing you 90. It's basic stuff like that we should be teaching our kids.
    Sorry for my ramble - Just tired of the Class warfare in general and paying for government to do stuff that society should take responsibility for themselves.
    24 Nov 2010, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • Number one, the federal government has been taxing us less and less, including Obama. (Yes, he lowered taxes). Number two - I am fairly well-off, pay everything with my cash back cards and pay them off every month. Hey, my parents were depression era, they instilled a spending fear in me, you are probably a lot smarter than I am, and trust me, people are out there who are not very clever, and to no fault of their own. No amount of education will change the fact that some people just can't do the math. I apologize for making this seem like "class-warfare". But those of us who can do the math should give our brothers a little break.
    24 Nov 2010, 08:15 PM Reply Like
  • talbano -


    Would you object if the opinion expressed in your comment was characterized as 'top down class warfare'? I fundamentally disagree with much of what you have said but aren't about to hyperventilate as a reaction.


    I have no problem with your effort to make your case that the current dispensation is the best of all possible worlds in the circumstances (and good luck with that). I'm just taking this opportunity to illustrate why all the talk on this thread about 'class warfare' is overblown.
    24 Nov 2010, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • Good point.


    If you don't give the average person a fair shake, sooner or later they will tear down the entire system and many innocents - along with the malfeasant - will die.


    Naysayers - reference history.
    24 Nov 2010, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • Everyone is has their opinion - I am not some rich wall street person but I so not think hating on people because they have more is the solution. Especially people in private industry - I look at the wealth that politicians create at the expense of tax payers and that quite frankly it makes me disgusted.
    I don't think the class warfare written here is overblown. I think to write an article based around some people are living it up and some canceling Christmas is create a class war argument.
    24 Nov 2010, 10:32 PM Reply Like
  • In some ways, the government has taken less but in others it has taken more - to make an argument that the government has taken less and less is naive.
    While some income taxes have been reduced - other taxes have been increased - Have you have done the analysis of what the net is?
    I think we should except more from people instead of doing the math how about educating them to do it for themselves.
    It is too easy blame others.
    24 Nov 2010, 10:38 PM Reply Like
  • I guess your view is that there are people out there that just can't be taught how to handle things themselves and no education would fix that..... but below you state better education is the answer-
    I personally do not think you do for others in lieu of teaching them to do for themselves.
    Where does personally responsibility end and government begin?
    24 Nov 2010, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • We hire temp workers. Some don't know their left from their right. Some have made bad choices in the past, and these choices can no longer be made undone, no matter how much they would like things to change. Though I work hard, I feel more blessed that I had a good beginning to my life, I feel that had more to do with my success. The good beginning taught how to approach life in the correct way. Not all people who start life in crappy conditions can pull themselves out of it.
    26 Nov 2010, 08:33 AM Reply Like
  • While you all debate the big topic of income disparity, I am going to cheer the little topic of an improved outlook and growing confidence in the future. I admit my topic is small and not very deep academically but for me it means that we have possibly turned the corner for the better.
    Happy Thanksgiving
    24 Nov 2010, 06:58 PM Reply Like
  • You are very right hopefully the future is brighter:)
    Enjoy your holiday-
    I just needed to vent...
    24 Nov 2010, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • Who is this 'we' that has turned the corner?


    Are you going to celebrate that your masters have acquired more slaves?
    24 Nov 2010, 07:28 PM Reply Like
  • Sorry, I serve only one Master and I guarantee that Wall Street is not his address despite what Lloyd Blankfien says.
    24 Nov 2010, 07:53 PM Reply Like
  • Then fight - don't appease.


    What brought us to this point and what the evildoers in Wall Street and Washington are counting on is the continued passivity of the populace to ensure their further indentured servitude.


    I seem to remember Moses delivering his people from slavery.


    Lloyd Blanfein is not doing God's work, he's doing the Devil's.
    24 Nov 2010, 09:39 PM Reply Like
  • We need Wall Street, they are the better in allocating capital, thus enhancing jobs creation...Don't be jealous of us, we work as hard as the people on Main Street.
    27 Nov 2010, 03:19 PM Reply Like
  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
    24 Nov 2010, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • But,,,but....But..Bristol came in third...
    24 Nov 2010, 07:16 PM Reply Like
  • More class warfare, dems are trying to make people angry at Wall Street so they can win in the 2012 elections...
    Wealthy people deserve that money, they worked their as$es off...
    24 Nov 2010, 07:18 PM Reply Like
  • Let me tell you, the hardest job I ever had was planting trees 12 hours a day in northwestern Canada.


    I carried 50lbs of trees around my waist, digging in the mud with a cold rain soaking through the strongest raingear before going back to camp to sleep in a tent for 10 days at a stretch.


    Those Wall St. fat cats wouldn't last 5 minutes in that world. You're going to tell me they deserve more money because they work harder than that? You need to give your head a shake.
    24 Nov 2010, 07:37 PM Reply Like
  • Move beyond the polarity of politics that is designed to distract you.


    Neither side gives a damn about you, they are in it for power and money.


    This is about ethics and morality, not liberal or conservative or Republicrat or Demican.


    The political debate is the red flag to the bull, nothing more.


    Good people try to enter the fray via civil discourse in politics, however, they are slowly, steadily, and perniciously eaten by the system.


    There is a point where an infection becomes gangrenous and no matter how much you love that hand you must cut it off to save the body.


    We are in need of amputations, not salves and potions.
    24 Nov 2010, 09:48 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie –


    Living in British Columbia I know very well what you are saying about tree planting at low piecework rates in the remote wilderness up north and agree fully with you that lots of people work hard in tough conditions for a fraction of what some others receive working in more comfortable circumstances.


    While not quite as tough as tree planting, I recall working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 4 months a year for less than a dollar an hour on the docks of Vancouver each summer for 8 years in the 1960s to put myself through University and Law School (cue the violins!) and can attest that, while the practice of Law had its rough moments, I never wanted to be back on the docks.


    I’m not saying that differences in income levels can’t be justified but I will say that there is an unacceptable price society pays if those differences are too great and if those differences that exist can not be justified by some sound rational (i.e. luck doesn’t cut it).
    24 Nov 2010, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • "This is about ethics and morality"


    26 Nov 2010, 08:35 AM Reply Like
  • For better or worse, wealthy people worked the backsides off---"other people's money."
    26 Nov 2010, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Good for Wall Streeters. They tricked and stole from the retail sheep fair and square.
    24 Nov 2010, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • To note the growing redistribution of wealth in the US is not ‘class warfare’. It is simply being observant. There are always those who welcome and justify social and economic trends (like growing wealth disparity) while others perceive problems lurking in such trends. How the ensuing debate is conducted determines whether the proponents or opponents of a trend are bloody minded or reasonable. Such (hopefully reasonable) debates are best engendered by all participants having their facts straight. Further, just because someone advocates that reasonable measure be taken to blunt or reverse a trend does not justify accusing them of ‘class warfare’; let’s not engage in inflated and therefore misleading language.


    There are lots of creditable sources for an overview of current US wealth distribution and the following is one:



    From it I’ll quote the following and suggest that the disparity described has only grown since 2004.


    “In 2004, the wealthiest 25% of US households owned 87% ($43.6 trillion) of the country’s wealth, while the bottom quartile held no net wealth at all.[3] The middle 50% of the country held 13% or $6.5 trillion of the total household net wealth.[3] The previous data are taken from analysis of the Survey of Consumer Finances ( which over samples wealthy households. This over sampling more accurately represents the true wealth distribution [since most of the wealth is concentrated at the top]. This data shows that the top 25% of American society holds on average a net wealth of $1,556,801 which is 33 times more than those of the lower middle class, or the 25th-50th percentile.”


    I’ll leave it to others to why the distribution indicated should be modified (and if so how this can reasonably be achieved) or why it would be inappropriate to interfere with the continuation of the trend indicated.


    A very similar picture exists for the trend of US annual income distribution.
    24 Nov 2010, 07:45 PM Reply Like
  • It's only class warfare when we fight back. If we don't it's genocide
    24 Nov 2010, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • Great comments. Yes, I recognize the growing disparity and I worry about it. How much bigger can it get without some repercussion? Giving handouts is certainly not the answer. Paying someone an honest salary is. Yes, this is a capitalistic society, and if I own a business and can't buy that Porsche unless I drop health benefits, I can do it. (Happened to a neighbor who worked in a small machine shop). Better education for the masses and ethics classes for the "elite"?.
    24 Nov 2010, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • I gotta ask ya, Herbert Hoover. Did you plan for years to make this your comment number 1929 -- the year of the Great Crash? That's quite a trick. You're a very patient person. I would think you would have no trouble earning a good living. I wouldn't worry about being caught up in the genocide, too much foresight.
    24 Nov 2010, 10:22 PM Reply Like
  • Oh come on. If a business owner makes a dumb decision to splurge on himself while cutting back on his employees there will be consequences in the end. Maybe not right away, but it all evens out in the end.


    Fair wages eventually find their own level given the economic climate of the day. Unless you have (teachers!) unions and civil service workers mucking up the system and politicians handing out money to banks to invest in their own bonus'. That, of course, tilts the table a bit.
    25 Nov 2010, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • "If a business owner makes a dumb decision to splurge on himself while cutting back on his employees.." It's inhuman and unfair. But not necessarily dumb, given offshoring and what Marx called "the reserve army of unemployed." Because people elsewhere in the world will do the job for less than these workers.


    "It all evens out in the end." Or as Keynes said, "In the long run, we are all dead."
    26 Nov 2010, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • GandDI -


    Or as Freud said “Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar”.
    26 Nov 2010, 05:28 PM Reply Like
  • I guess I've come around to agree with Buffet about taxes on the very rich who do pay very little as a percentage of their incomes. I doubt 250k is the right number but there is one up there somewhere. The only problem is that if taxes are raised now, how much higher will they have to go when the economy gets really bad in the coming years? We have yet to begin to come to grips with the 70 to 110 trillion dollar shortfall in the budget. Those rich will spend anyway.
    24 Nov 2010, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • I live in rural Maryland about 5 miles south of Mason Dixon in an agrarian community. Observations: The John Deere tractors and hay wagons no longer stop for the Benz's or BMW's in the traffic circles. Second and sadly: I was friends with a non English speaking Mexican maintainence worker at my gym who did the carpets... fixed projects for shit $. He was MIA two weeks notice and no warning. Presumably...he got a better job. He was replaced by an American......You gotta believe what you see and hear in life. The stats are all bullshit.......
    24 Nov 2010, 10:16 PM Reply Like
  • Both WS and MS lobbied DC for special treatment and received what they bargained for based on their relevance to the over all bigger picture, WS got their bail out (TARP) & MS got its temporary handouts ( ie 99rs), the big money will always follow relevance, its not personal, has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with business. Yes the "Squeaky wheel gets the grease" not based on who is first in line but who is in line, nothing personal just business, if you dont like the end result take it up with DC they ultimately decide who gets what and dont forget they have their own interest to protect and they will always be ahead of you in the line even when your first in line
    25 Nov 2010, 06:37 AM Reply Like
  • I do not know why people act so surprised. The so-called "recovery" plan, as outlined by sec. Geithner, chairman Bernanke and anyone else who is relevant is help Wall St. so they help the rest of the country. Whether or not you think the link works is another story, but most of our government resources are deployed on this premise.


    So far, it is not working. Although I am told in an alternative reality things are allegedly worse because Geithner gave AIG bondholders a 10% haircut.
    25 Nov 2010, 08:07 AM Reply Like
  • I believe the recovery plan would have helped the financial system get back on its feet if the government didn't further regulate and act irrationally. They helped those at the top of economy and seemingly punished those closer to the bottom, and somehow expected everything to work.


    Monetary policy and Iscal policy need to work together, so far we have an excess of monetary policy moves and zero fiscal policy.... Once the government gets on the ball and makes a move in "right" direction things should break free.
    25 Nov 2010, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • The Us boomed in the 1900's due to the rising middle class and their spending. China is booming because of the rising middle class and their spending. Now the US is declining due to the shrinking middle class and their shrinking spending. Anything that lessens the middle class lessens this country. We must do whatever it takes to stop the erosion of the middle class.
    25 Nov 2010, 08:18 AM Reply Like
  • This is one of those articles written solely to enrage people with the working class mentality of entitlement. Its strictly a loser class warfare model that's bred of jealousy, ignorance and contempt for those that either are more gifted in wisdom, intelligence, timing or inheritance. I believe with all of my heart that the US offers the best opportunity for all-comers when compared to any and every other country in this world. No, we're not perfect, or we wouldn't see so many 20-something mega-millionaire rapsters. .....(Just kidding) I don't begrudge rapsters or anyone else for making a fantastic living utilizing their gifts. We should be a society that encourages and even celebrates people in pursuing their dreams. This idiotic class warfare crapola is a loser mentality sure to leave one full of hate, jealousy, and unreached goals. Don't whine, make a plan and start taking steps to seek your own dreams. Don't live blaming others, take some responsibility for yourself and grow a pair.
    25 Nov 2010, 09:13 AM Reply Like
  • I think you make an excellent point, If U Say So. I agree that America is the place where you can leverage your skills to the highest degree and receive the greatest reward.


    However, a great part of the value which the best take for themselves was actually produced by someone else.


    I do not argue whether the best rise to the top in the US, let's assume that is the case and I will grant that those who contribute the most value through their efforts should receive the highest compensation.


    But it's a question as to whether that higher compensation is commensurate with the higher value they contribute. It's not a question whether the best should receive more - it's a question of HOW MUCH more they should receive, whether they receive the right amount.


    I compare A-rod to Ted Williams as an analogy. A-rod is NOT a better baseball player than Ted Williams but he is paid 100 times more than Teddy Ballgame ever collected.


    Why? Because of the system we have in place is different from that under the Ted Williams era. Our system polarizes compensation out of line with the value contributed.


    The same is true for corporate executives and, in particular, Wall St. finance types. They do not contribute any more value to the economy than their predecessors - in fact, due to the consequences of the increased risk they take, they contribute a lot less value.


    Yet the compensation of executives and those in the FIRE economy continues to rise, wildly out of proportion with the value, if any, that they contribute to the economy.


    Does this point make sense, If U Say So? Do you see where I'm coming from with this?
    25 Nov 2010, 10:52 AM Reply Like
  • Ah, but your Ted Williams --A-Rod comparison exactly makes my point for me. They were both quite gifted in a very limited skill market.and both made a very good living as compared to the average Joe of the time, no matter how much less Ted Williams made. But A-Rod was also blessed to have been a player when through the media baseball as an industry was better able to monetize the growth of the sport. If we checked the value of ownership of William's club we find a commensurate lesser value of the team as compared to today's values. That's why he makes so much more.
    Gifted people whether in sports or industry will be paid as according to their perceived value in the market of that day. The availability of a comparable replacement for our skill set is what it is all about. People in midlevel management or operating on an assembly line are paid as according to their perceived market value. What changes are one's skills and/or the skills available at any prevailing wage in any specific market. In India we can find engineers earning less than 20K a year. Its the prevailing wage based upon demand and supply of that skill set in that market. If our skill set is just finding our way to work and walking through the paces of our job we can expect plenty of others with that same skill set ready and willing to take our job for the same or lesser pay. If we shine and produce as if we love our job, we may earn more or may find another employer willing and able to pay us what we believe we are worth. But it all comes down to the perception of the employer and he/she will make decisions based on the necessity of our specific skill set, the availability of that same skill set and what little they think they can pay for that same skill set. No sense crying over how people perceive our worth. Either find another employer, upgrade our skills or wake up to a reality where perception is reality.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • I suspect you have received more downvotes than upvotes because you are suggesting that the market should decide compensation.


    Many Americans, as certainly evidenced by this thread, believe that the wealth of the country should be distributed fairly, that is, to each according to his need, from each according to his ability.


    And most of those who believe and argue for this -- that the market is producing unfair results -- don't have the education to recognize the origin of that maxim. And therein lies the real problem, whether they know it or not.
    25 Nov 2010, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • green:


    For the, now, almost 50% of the folks, who don't pay taxes, they don't give a damn what the origin was or its implications.
    25 Nov 2010, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • Don't get me started - I live in Cincinnati where tax dollars subsidize a losing football team.
    26 Nov 2010, 09:01 AM Reply Like
  • The premise that a free market pays each individual what he is worth is spot on, except in the real world. Why have CEOs' pay grown 5 times more than the common grunt? Have they gotten that much better? Or do they control the purse strings?
    26 Nov 2010, 09:04 AM Reply Like
  • I think we're really close to agreement, If U Say So. But the difference is a significant one.


    You state "But it all comes down to the perception of the employer... and what little they think they can pay for that same skill set".


    When I was doing my MBA we studied Michael Porter's '5 Forces' in developing business strategy. The goal was to evaluate an industry based upon the favorability of those 5 forces. You didn't just have to have a business that could produce something of value - you had to be able to monetize it.


    In the workforce, we're all our own businesses. The gripe I have is that many of us, like the engineers, etc, produce value but are not able to monetize it.


    Among Porter's 5 forces, from my memory, are power of buyers and power of sellers. When there are relatively few buyers and many the buyers have more negotiating power in setting terms and are able to drive down the price. Sound familiar in regards to employment? Every tried to negotiate your salary with a company that employs several thousand people?


    We currently have legislation and regulation that favors large corporations and encourages industry consolidation. We end up with fewer and fewer buyers of our labor, giving more and more salary negotiating power to employers, driving down the salary of the average worker and even the average professional.


    I must emphasize, this is not a result of 'free markets', this is entirely the result of legislation. Remember that a corporation does not exist in the state of nature - corporations only exist in the first place because we wrote legislation that gave them status and power.


    There is nothing 'free market' about the corporate entity - we created it ourselves through legislation.


    Now, I'm not against the existence of corporations. But if we're going to create them then we should at least ensure they are governed by rules that benefit our citizens, our economy and our country.
    26 Nov 2010, 02:55 PM Reply Like
  • What I see in this posts is a lot of whining and jealousy...
    The CEO deserves their money as much as the factory worker deserves its...Liberals,instead of drinking and partying in college, you could have studied hard...Live with the consequences of your acts, don't throw the fault to successful persons....
    25 Nov 2010, 11:05 AM Reply Like
  • Joe –


    Your logic is inverted.


    You want very much to believe that the virtue of hard work will be rewarded and that this reward will be proportionate to the effort expended. You note that CEOs are richly rewarded but that for many others this is not the case. You therefore conclude that in college the future CEO must have worked hard and that all the others didn’t.


    The reality is that some future CEOs worked hard in college and some did not. Some possessed other social skills or benefited after college from exceptional drive (or, in some cases, the fact they are borderline sociopaths). Some are great well rounded persons while others are monomianical monsters. Others were simply in the right place at the right time. Conversely, the non-CEOs in your psychodrama may have worked hard in college and had great drive but otherwise missed a needed break on the path to CEOhood (and as a result lead more fulfilling but quite comfortable and well rounded lives – or not).


    A final thought – Having worked very hard at college, Paul Krugman must rank highly in your esteem!
    25 Nov 2010, 11:32 AM Reply Like
  • It would not matter if we all worked hard and studied in college - in fact, most of us did. We can't all be CEOs, can we? There are only so many CEO positions in the world.


    There can be only 1 CEO in a company and, with the system we have in place today, he and his few top executives will take 80% while leaving the rest of us, even though we worked just as hard as he did, fighting over the scraps.


    By the way, I'm not a liberal and consider the accusation an insult. I'm a die-hard fiscal conservative. I'm interested primarily in fairness and equity. I don't want to see our best and brightest under-compensated any more than I want to see them over-compensated.


    Try to stretch your mind a little and consider how the ideas I've expressed could come from a true, small government conservative.
    25 Nov 2010, 11:32 AM Reply Like
  • Time was (about a century and a half ago), we were ALL CEOs. That is, most people beyond middle age owned the their own companies and made their own decisions, etc. Young people starting out would "apprentice" with established shop keepers.


    Then came the era of "big business," and "trusts" of "large" interests. And only a few CEOs, with many of them "Warren Hardings" (mediocrities glorified as front men, seldom women, while others made decisions behind their backs).


    But as Teddy Roosevelt (a fellow Republican) would say: "Bust the trusts."
    26 Nov 2010, 09:28 AM Reply Like
  • Don't mention that Paul Krugman, the mention of his name wants me to throw up...He is one of the biggest hypocrite persons in the US...
    26 Nov 2010, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Well, it's not like everyone doesn't understand it. We pay top management too much and the people on the line too little. We pay a lot of money for people to do HFT and things that don't produce anything of value and too little to people like production engineers, who do produce things of value, We pay little to people who do important things like teach and a lot to people who can get information to trade stocks. Our economy, such as it is, rewards financial manipulation but not activity that actually is beneficial to our economy. We produce the smartest guys in the room and the dumbest policies on the planet. The creation of a middle class got the West out of the dark ages, it's destruction leads us right back there.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:47 PM Reply Like
  • Precisely, Hendershott. Well said.
    26 Nov 2010, 02:38 PM Reply Like
  • I think one of the most underlying problems is that it takes fewer and fewer workers per widget. The Miller Brewing plant up in Columbus OH employs only around 80 people, it is all automated. The 80, for the most part, have to be highly skilled. How many would have operated the plant 15 years ago? Fewer workers per widget gives more power to the corporation. This has nothing to do with any evil conspiracy, it is just a fact of our times, it comes with increasing technology. So, how do we fix it? Increase the number of widgets per consumer? In a way, we have done this by being able to sell things such as aps for smart phones and mp3s. (Sorry, call me old fashioned, but I still buy CDS just in case all my systems crash, Apple won't make me buy the same song twice). Maybe there is an economy based on something new and different around the corner that will get us out of the present funk.
    28 Nov 2010, 11:57 AM Reply Like
  • I agree, that's a problem...we need to do something about it, lowering the cost to produce and fostering more ideas hence new industries...
    28 Nov 2010, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • "We pay top management too much and the people on the line too little. " Not really. It works like this. I will not go to an NFL game because the tickets are too expensive. But a lot of people go and because they go, salaries are high. That is fine with me. But if everyone refused to go, then guess what? Salaries would come down and ticket prices would come down. That's freedom, democracy, and the American way.


    To regulate the salaries of NFL players or coaches is socialism. And while it may see like the fair thing to do, it makes the country fail every time. The same applies to corporate management. The socialists want you to believe companies are evil an only socialism is fair. But its never fair when a few people make all the rules and that is the definition of socialism. When you give a few people (i.e. the government) the mandate to make these types of rules then you can never stop them from making rules that you don't like and that inhibit freedom and democracy.
    28 Nov 2010, 12:19 PM Reply Like
  • I agree with neil, the free market is always correct...
    28 Nov 2010, 02:30 PM Reply Like
  • "But its never fair when a few people make all the rules and that is the definition of socialism"


    What if the corporate heads make all the rules, what do you call that, capitalism?


    Corporate heads make 200x grunt salaries, used to be 40x, why?


    Don't get me wrong, capitalism is the best way to run an economy, but, alas, we are all human, so there has to be rules! If you think capitalism can run just fine without rules, you have let your ideology blind you to the real world.
    28 Nov 2010, 02:35 PM Reply Like
  • "What if the corporate heads make all the rules, what do you call that, capitalism? Nope, not at all. CEO's do not make the rules. The rules, my friend, are made by corrupt government politicians. Corporations can only follow the rules they have been given or do what they want when the rules are not enforeced. Its easy to believe the politicians (they spend lots of money to make it happen) when they continuously blame the banks and the corporations for bad public policy.


    The truth is that its the politician's fault.


    "Corporate heads make 200x grunt salaries, used to be 40x, why?" Who cares? The only reason this is an issue is because it distracts everyone from the real issue of government theft and corruption. Do you really know what George Washington made? No, because the records do not exist. Do you know how much the railroad barons made? No, again the records do not exist.


    Well, they made a lot. After you make a certain amount it does not matter, but that is no reason to confiscate it.
    28 Nov 2010, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • Huh. In my company, the owners make the rules. They tell me how much to pay an employee. Sure, there is a minimum raise, but that rate is pretty bogus for the work done here. The owners decide whether or not to have a 401K, the government has rules that prevents the owners from taking the employees money they put in. Oh, the government does make sure we run a safe place to work, and we are glad to follow the rules. We are in the food business, and the government has rules for keeping a clean environment, but guess what, those rules are no where near as stringent as our customers requirements, they go above and beyond what the government wants. Our biggest beef with government is that there are 50 states, each with different rules.
    I'm sure you still think that Goldman makes millions everyday no mater what the markets are doing because they are run by the government.
    29 Nov 2010, 07:14 AM Reply Like
  • "uh. In my company, the owners make the rules." So the truth comes out. You can quit if you do not like the rules. So you choose to follow the rules. So stop bitching. See you are still free to choose.


    If I understand it correctly, you are unhappy with management and want the government to change management. To do that you have to give the government unlimited power. Once you do that, then you will have no choice, no freedom, no life. Why, because the government already can lock you up for no reason, invade your privacy for no reason, take your house for no reason, etc. The only reason it does not happen more often is because we are still allowed to own guns and we have not tipped over the edge of socialism (where more than 50% of the populous is paid by the government.)


    What I meant was that companies and CEOs do not have the power to force anyone to follow their rules and therefore we are still free regardless of what they do. They do make rules for employees but not for the public in general. Also if they do totally stupid things then they are run out of office.


    This attitude of punish the CEOs is exactly what is wrong with America today. We do not need to punish companies that follow the law. What we need to do today is punish the politician's that are stealing us and our children blind.


    And, this is important, we need to make sure that freedom and democracy are more important than petty hate. Meaning that it is more important to create an environment for companies like HP, Dell, IBM, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc, to thrive and proposer. If they do, then employees will be well paid and as happy as can be expected.


    If you think you have it bad, then you should work in Russia, China, India, or just about any place other than the US. At our worst, we are better than any other place in the world. But lets tear that down because we are pissed that someone earns more money than we do or more then we think is fair.
    29 Nov 2010, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • I'm extremely happy with management. In fact, I am management. We are all treated like family. Never laid anyone off, we find busy work during the slow times. Couldn't be happier. See, some companies can be run humanely. No yelling or screaming at each other here, we just like getting our work done. Now on the other hand, my brother-in-law who has worked in limbo for IBM the past 30 years...........
    Oh, I agree, he should have looked for another job eons ago. When the next wave of layoffs come, he hopes to at least be offered a transfer to India or Brazil.
    29 Nov 2010, 10:24 AM Reply Like
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