Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taxpayer Bailout $ Goes for Bonuses, Chauffeurs, Country Club Memberships

No, I shit you not. Associated Press reports that about $1.6 BILLION dollars have been paid out by bailed-out banks in salaries, bonuses and various fringe benefits. All this goes to prove that in America, if you are filthy rich and one of the financial elite, you have a license to rip off the public at will.
Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.
AP gathered their information using Securities and Exchange Commission documents on 116 banks that have received nearly $200 BILLION dollars in the taxpayer robbery bailout pushed by both political parties last September. The kind of data they gathered would make any working U.S. citizen sick (and what the growing army of the unemployed might do or think upon seeing this, I shudder to imagine).
The average paid to each of the banks' top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.
Goldman Sachs, where Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the overseer of the bailout, was recently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, gave over a quarter of a BILLION dollars to their top five executives alone.

Merrill Lynch, which got $10 BILLION in bailout cash last October, gave its CEO, himself yet another former CEO of Goldman Sachs, $83 million in earnings last year.

You can't say that the bailout money was all going to lavish salaries and country club memberships and home security systems, there were practicalities to be considered, too, for the poor impoverished execs of our country's financial elite:
Wells Fargo of San Francisco, which took $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, gave its top executives up to $20,000 each to pay personal financial planners.
And then there was Madoff...

Meanwhile, the SEC's broken oversight system (or system of corrupt payoffs?) led to the perpetuation of Bernard Madoff's now-notorious and now collapsed Ponzi scheme, which bilked investors out of $50 BILLION. Led to believe initially by the press that Madoff's clients were all the well-to-do, for whom the average American could wag their heads with schadenfreude, it now turns out that charitable foundations around the country were rocked by the collapse of Madoff's company.

One major loser was "the JEHT Foundation, a six-year-old New York City-based philanthropy focused on juvenile and criminal justice, human rights, and election reform." JEHT funded hundreds of advocates and non-profits, who are now struggling to survive. JEHT, which distributes tens of millions in grants each year, is now shutting down operations.

Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights, who have been in the vanguard in fighting against torture and war crimes, had received over a million dollars in the past six years via JEHT grants, and now find themselves suddenly $175,000 short of funds for their 2009 Campaign Against Torture project.

Two foundations that funded various Jewish causes -- the Robert I. Lappin Foundation the Chais Family Foundation -- have totally shut down.

Even in ritzy Marin County, California, the nonprofit Commonweal group has lost its funding and is shutting down its juvenile justice program.

San Francisco attorney Jay Gould explained to the local paper there that those who lost money will have to compete for legal representation with those who profited from Madoff's Ponzi scheme over the years. The latter are clamoring for legal representation, too, fearful the feds will call back some of their winnings profits over the past several years. Gould elaborated:
"It's possible that anybody who takes on one client is conflicted out of taking on any other client because everybody is potentially adverse to one another," Gould said. "These little guys who call in that lost $2 million or $6 million or $10 million - I can't guarantee we're going to represent them."
U.S. capitalism has revealed itself to be one big clusterfuck. While the politicians and opinion makers rail over the Detroit automakers request for a few billion in loans, castigated as out-of-touch cheaters flying around in posh corporate jets, intent on milking the American public (and all the while the government says the unions will pay with BILLIONS in cutbacks to make Detroit "competitive"), Wall Street (including the firms that received BILLIONS in bailout cash) maintains "fleets of jets to carry executives to company events and sometimes personal trips."

A Nightmare From Which I'm Trying to Awake

How is it that this country hasn't descended into one giant jacquerie is beyond me. It is testimony to the huge superprofits that American capitalism has stolen or engendered over the years that it can blatantly waste billions, if not trillions, and still not yet be totally bankrupted. But no doubt we are getting very close, and bringing down the world economy with us in our steep descent. And then again, the economic tsunami that will accompany the shock of the trillion dollar bailout has not yet fully hit.

Where is all the money going? How is it being spent? Oh, it's secret, a matter of national security, and the Treasury Department won't account for all the money and how or where it's spent, not even to the Chairwoman of the Congressional oversight panel supposedly overseeing the humongous "bailout."

No wonder I'm having a repetitive dream these days. I'm being driven in a car on a curvy mountain road, when all of sudden there's a jerk and the car is directly and quickly driven right over the cliff. In my panic I look and I can't see the driver. My last thought is: who did this? Who steered me right over the cliff?

Unlike my unconscious and pathetic dreamer, we know who has been doing the driving and the steering. They work on Wall Street, inside the Beltway, in T.V. studios and Pentagon hallways. How much money is going to -- besides the wallets and expense accounts of the superrich -- secret military projects, to overseas dictators, covert operations? We may never know.

Wake up America, before the car definitively spins, and in one vertiginous fall, we are directed into a nightmarish void... if it is not too late already.


smith said...

I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at

stella said...

I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at

Valtin said...

Readers! I don't delete comments, as I believe in free speech. But I would be highly dubious about following links such as that by smith and stella in the comments above. Please be wary, in these economically troubled times, of Internet scams. I'm not saying these links are scams, and I don't have the time to check them out.

Just watch yourselves, okay?

Search for Info/News on Torture

Google Custom Search
Add to Google ">View blog reactions

This site can contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.