According to this morning's Wall Street Journal: "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."
The Obama administration has proposed a bank tax to recoup some of the money that the taxpayers have spent bailing out the financial system. Of course, Wall Street is outraged by this. Speaking on CNBC with Larry Kudlow this morning, portfolio manager Matt McCormick of Bahn & Gaynor said, "It's a class envy issue in my opinion."
Really Matt. Ya' think?
Of course it's a class envy issue!! Unemployment is at its highest level in decades. People without jobs envy people with jobs. People who have seen the stocks in their retirement accounts take it on the chin are envious of the people who are making more money working for the companies that manage those retirement accounts.
More importantly, isn't class envy the driving force behind capitalism? Individuals pursuing their economic interests is wonderful as long as it puts money in the pockets of Wall Street, but if the unwashed masses should consider pursuing their interests in some other way, e.g., walking away from an underwater mortgage or imposing taxes on the wealthy, bankers suddenly become beacons of moral rectitude.