I have a few quotes in Matt Taibbi’s no holds barred look at Wall Street’s profits and bonus culture.
It is classic Taibbi, full of righteous indignation and fury over the bailed out banks quick transformation from near bankruptcy to record profits. He details 7 scams the various TARP recipients have pulled.
Here’s a taste of the article:
“The nation’s six largest banks set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007.”
The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits — Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation — is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street’s eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its “performance” was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?
The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients.”
Every now and again, you spend some time with a journalist, trying to push them down a particular path of discovery. Sometimes you influence a story a bit, end up with a quote or two, but otherwise are a minor factor.
I am thrilled with how much of our conversation ended up in this article. Regular TBP readers will see my fingerprints all over this one . . .
Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle
Rolling Stone, Feb 17, 2010