Last year, Wall Street’s bank profits were taking a serious beating, down 51%, while bonuses paid out to employees was only down 14%. Last year was not a favorable market for banks. Between new regulations, the European debt crisis and a slow economic recovery at home the banks had a hard time turning a profit. Goldman Sachs said that profit dropped 67% in 2011 while Bank of America earnings dropped north of 50%. As a whole in New York, security firms made only $13.5 billion in 2011 compared to $27.6 billion in 2010. This is the second year Wall Street saw profits cut in half.
However, falling profits have not stopped firms from paying generous end year bonuses which totaled about $20 billion. The average bonus was about $121,150 which is down 13% from 2010. In 2006, Wall Street bankers were awarded an average $191,360 year end bonus. However, these figures do not take into account bonuses in non-cash. Most firms are giving bonuses in the form of shares because they say is to pay over the long term.
Wall Street’s pay and bonuses are under fire from some politicians and sparked the Occupy Wall Street protests. However, this is nothing new from Wall Street. This is the same culture that they cultivated since the beginning of Wall Street. Why are people and politicians just now getting upset and fed up with it? Wall Street is a symbol of Capitalism and America.
The funny part is Wall Street came to be the way it is because of politicians. They allowed it to get the way it is so there is absolutely no reason for them to complain. If you wanted Wall Street to act a different way or pay less then you should have taken care of that earlier.
Wall Street is what makes Capitalism great. Capitalism is a system based on hard work and achievements. If you work hard and take opportunities when they present themselves then you can make more money and have a better job. If you are lazy and slack off then you will get no where. I realize it is not that cut and dry however, those are the basics of being successful in a Capitalist system.
I am neither a supporter of OWS nor a supporter of the Wall Street way of life. However, I can respect why we have a Wall Street and why it is the way it is.