Major U.S. banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their people about $145 billion for 2009, a record sum that indicates how compensation is climbing despite fury over Wall Street’s pay culture. An analysis by the Wall Street Journal shows that executives, traders, investment bankers, money managers and others at 38 top financial companies can expect to earn nearly 18 percent more than they did in 2008 – and slightly more than in the record year of 2007.
– “Banks set for record pay,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2010
The American economy is not a zero-sum game. It is also not anything that can be reasonably considered a free-market economy. The reason that more than one percent of U.S. GDP went to pay Wall Street’s bankers in 2009 is that the Republican and Democratic politicians have utilized the power of government to significantly distort the system for their benefit. While bank executives are reporting record profits for the zombie banks that appear to justify their enormous compensation, these reports are fraudulent and the profits are non-existent. Both are based upon false asset valuations and crazy derivative gambles disguised as financial investments. Banking executives are using the additional time given to them by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve at the expense of American workers and U.S. taxpayers to recklessly loot the system before it breaks down again.