by Pa Rock
It's that time of year again, the time when America's working poor - a group that includes just about all of us - run up our credit card debt in order to properly celebrate the birth of Jesus with unneeded (and often unwanted) bobbles, bangles, and bows. As we get those breathtaking after-Christmas credit card bills, we also learn that the honchos of the really big banks that are getting rich off of our credit card interest, are lavishing obscenely large annual bonuses on themselves. This year that pill will be exceptionally bitter, considering that taxpayer money was used to keep most of those banks solvent.
My favorite banking scoundrel, Ken Lewis of Bank of America, is pocketing cash and perks worth in excess of fifty million dollars as he "retires" from the python that is BOA.
(Did you hear about Jackie Ramos, a young lady in Georgia who was fired from her job as a customer advocate at BOA because she took her job too seriously? Jackie couldn't sleep nights after hearing the tragic stories of people who were financially raped by her bank. She finally quit trying to follow bank rules, and set about seeing that everyone she dealt with found a way to have their credit card terms modified - whether they met the bank's restrictive criteria or not.)
Ken Lewis is not leaving voluntarily, yet he is being pushed out with a sweet golden parachute. Jackie Ramos is also not leaving voluntarily, but she is going without a rusty farthing. One helped himself, and the other helped the poor. Good-bye, Ken. Good riddance!
All of which brings me to my point. Why should these scumbag bankers get juicy bonuses off of the suffering of the poor, and why especially should they lard themselves up with money that came about through the generosity of American taxpayers? Doesn't that suck?
Great Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer (their Treasury Secretary), Alistair Darling, announced this week that his government will place a windfall tax on bonuses given to employees of bailed out banks. Bonuses that are in excess of 25,000 pounds ($40,800) will be taxed at fifty-percent! Not a bad deal for the government which gets to recoup some of the obscene profits - and the white collar bank robbers still walk away with 50% of their ill-gotten gains.
Our government is always struggling with ways to increase revenue. Maybe we should look into following the example of our British cousins. Politicians are quick to ridicule welfare for the poor and needy, so why don't they have the cajones or the morality to be just as outspoken against welfare for the rich and greedy?