It seems to me that this economy is nothing but a product of sheer greed. What has always baffled me are the pay scales for people in different industries. I mean, in the banks people make millions of dollars in bonuses for what exactly? I would like to know why those executives make approx 100x what the lowest paid employee makes. Perhaps I believe too much in equality but I really think that’s a huge problem. When you have no clue what your actions effects are on the general populous and you no longer know how “normal” people live.
Not to mention our law-makers. It’s not just Wall St that let things go haywire, it’s our politicians too. Who quite frankly are totally out of touch with reality. I mean I’d really like to know who thinks that a salary of $169K+ is the salary of any average American (if you don’t believe me here are the links for actual figures for the House and Senate). I believe statistically speaking the average household income in America is approximately $50K, so why is it that our law-makers who are supposed to “be in touch with the pain and reality of regular Americans” make 3x as much as the average American? Not to mention, I don’t know about y’all but I am still a small fry so I only get 2 weeks of vacation but you know congress took 5 weeks just this summer when the housing market was crashing and the auto industry was in distress. Not to mention the fact that they will have government health care benefits for the rest of their lives for themselves and their families if they have served in office for 5 years. I ask you, how many corporate employers would do that? In fact, does the government even do that for any other employees? I know for a fact that isn’t true for teachers, so why are our policy makers so different? What exactly gives them all these rights and benefits when I’m not seeing a return on our hard-earned tax dollars. Sure, I’m upset with the banks. No, I don’t believe that their executives should be making the kind of money that they have been for the past I don’t even know how long, but at least that is their own private wealth that they can choose to dole out howsoever they see fit. (At least that was the case until the bailout and I believe there are no bonuses this year so at least there is *some* change in that field). Congress, on the other hand, is benefiting from *our* tax dollars. I mean the general public is expected to be able to balance our own budgets and live within our means but what about you? What right did Congress have to give themselves these raises? (They give themselves a raise every year, how generous right?) Have they truly made enough progress for us to think they are so above the rest of us? Quite frankly the way things are going, I’d say most of them deserve to lose their jobs *and* their benefits as is what would happen in the private sector if they did such a piss poor job as they’ve been doing for the last 8 years.
Granted I also believe that Wall St became too greedy and too loose with their money and with the government supporting their every move it’s hard to want to pull back. I mean why be smart when you could be getting an incredible bonus. You’ll have the money and will probably be gone by the time the whole thing goes bust, right? So who needs to be responsible. And Paul Krugman wrote a great piece on The Madoff Economy where he talks about what happened with the salaries. I think he makes some great points. I just wonder why no one ever considered him for a position in the White House considering he did just win the Nobel Prize and he has been writing insightful pieces for the NY Times for years now. Perhaps he wasn’t interested but I’m sure there would have been rumors if he had ever been considered and I find it quite distressing that he wasn’t. In fact I find a lot of the appointments to be less-than stellar. I mean it’s just a new set of characters from Wall St isn’t it? Instead of Hank Paulson we have Tim Geithner who headed up the NY Fed. Great let’s put more people who were involved in this giant mess into positions of power. Not to mention Larry Summers, why that man should be allowed anywhere after his Harvard fiasco is beyond me. And I mean let’s face it he’s the one that went along with Alan Greenspan back in the Clinton days and clearly that was not a good choice. But oh, I forgot we’re not allowed to criticize our new fabulous President-Elect because he is, of course, Prince Charming and will save us all. (And yes I am *still* licking my wounds that Hillary is only Secretary of State and not our first female President, not just because she’s a woman but because I still think she is the better candidate even if I have resigned myself to being satisfied with the lesser of two mediocre candidates.)