A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE SEVERELY BEATEN GET THE FJM TREATMENT

Throughout the Great Recession, I think we can all agree that the suffering of people on Wall Street has been overlooked. Max Abelson of Bloomberg tries to address that problem with, "Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons." This is one case in which it's best for me to say as little as possible by way of introduction, saving my comments for the text per the FJM format.

Andrew Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity.

"I'm not Zen at all, and when I'm freaking out about the situation, where I'm stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,' Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., said in an interview.

Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family's private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square foot Brooklyn duplex.

"I feel stuck," Schiff said. "The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach."

The smaller bonus checks that hit accounts across the financial-services industry this month are making it difficult to maintain the lifestyles that Wall Street workers expect, according to interviews with bankers and their accountants, therapists, advisers and headhunters.

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"

Facing a slump in revenue from investment banking and trading, Wall Street firms have trimmed 2011 discretionary pay. At Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Barclays Capital, the cuts were at least 25 percent. Morgan Stanley (MS) capped cash bonuses at $125,000, and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) increased the percentage of deferred pay.

Wall Street's cash bonus pool fell by 14 percent last year to $19.7 billion, the lowest since 2008, according to projections by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

"It’s a disaster," said Ilana Weinstein, chief executive officer of New York-based search firm IDW Group LLC. "The entire construct of compensation has changed."

Most people can only dream of Wall Street's shrinking paychecks. Median household income in 2010 was $49,445, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, lower than the previous year and less than 1 percent of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's $7 million restricted-stock bonus for 2011. The percentage of Americans living in poverty climbed to 15.1 percent, the highest in almost two decades.

Wall Street headhunter Daniel Arbeeny said his "income has gone down tremendously." On a recent Sunday, he drove to Fairway Market in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound.

"They have a circular that they leave in front of the buildings in our neighborhood," said Arbeeny, 49, who lives in nearby Cobble Hill, namesake for a line of pebbled-leather Kate Spade handbags. "We sit there, and I look through all of them to find out where it’s worth going."

Executive-search veterans who work with hedge funds and banks make about $500,000 in good years, said Arbeeny, managing principal at New York-based CMF Partners LLC, declining to discuss specifics about his own income. He said he no longer goes on annual ski trips to Whistler, Tahoe or Aspen.

He reads other supermarket circulars to find good prices for his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex.

"Wow, did I waste a lot of money," Arbeeny said.

Richard Scheiner, 58, a real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager, said most people on Wall Street don't save.

"When their means are cut, they're stuck," said Scheiner, whose New York-based hedge fund, Lane Gate Partners LLC, was down about 15 percent last year. "Not so much an issue for me and my wife because we’ve always saved."

Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said.

Still, he sold two motorcycles he didn’t use and called his Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet "the Volkswagen of supercars." He and his wife have given more than $100,000 to a nonprofit she founded that promotes employment for people with Asperger syndrome, he said.

Scheiner pays $30,000 a year to be part of a New York-based peer-learning group for investors called Tiger 21. Founder Michael Sonnenfeldt said members, most with a net worth of at least $10 million, have been forced to "re-examine lots of assumptions about how grand their life would be."

While they aren't asking for sympathy, "at their level, in a different way but in the same way, the rug got pulled out," said Sonnenfeldt, 56. "For many people of wealth, they've had a crushing setback as well."

He described a feeling of "malaise" and a "paralysis that does not allow one to believe that generally things are going to get better," listing geopolitical hot spots such as Iran and low interest rates that have been "artificially manipulated" by the Federal Reserve.

The malaise is shared by Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.

"I can't imagine what I’m going to do," Schiff said. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."

He wants 1,800 square feet; "a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four," he said. "Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?"

The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called "the low rung on the brownstone ladder," would consume "every dime" of the family's savings, he said.

"I wouldn't want to whine," Schiff said. "All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had."

Hans Kullberg, 27, a trader at Wyckoff, New Jersey-based hedge fund Falcon Management Corp. who said he earns about $150,000 a year, is adjusting his sights, too.

After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, he spent a $10,000 signing bonus from Citigroup Inc. (C) on a six-week trip to South America. He worked on an emerging-markets team at the bank that traded and marketed synthetic collateralized debt obligations.

His tastes for travel got "a little bit more lavish," he said. Kullberg, a triathlete, went to a bachelor party in Las Vegas in January after renting a four-bedroom ski cabin at Bear Mountain in California as a Christmas gift to his parents. He went to Ibiza for another bachelor party in August, spending $3,000 on a three-day trip, including a 15-minute ride from the airport that cost $100. In May he spent 10 days in India.

Earlier this month, a friend invited him on a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The friend was going to be a judge in a wet T-shirt contest, Kullberg said. He turned down the offer.

It wouldn’t have been "the most financially prudent thing to do," he said. "I'm not totally sure about what I'm going to get paid this year, how I'm going to be doing."

He thinks more about the long term, he said, and plans to buy a foreclosed two-bedroom house in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $50,000 next month.

M. Todd Henderson, a University of Chicago law professor who’s teaching a seminar on executive compensation, said the suffering is relative and real. He wrote two years ago that his family was "just getting by" on more than $250,000 a year, setting off what he called a firestorm of criticism.

"Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu," he said. "But you suffer when you get the flu."

Dlugash, the accountant, said he’s spending more time talking with Wall Street clients about their expenses.

"You don't necessarily have to cut that, but if you don't cut that, then you've got to cut this," he said. "They say, 'But I can't.' And I say, 'But you must.'"

One banker who owes Dlugash $20,000 gained the accountant's sympathy despite his six-figure pay.

"If you're making $50,000 and your salary gets down to $40,000 and you have to cut, it's very severe to you," Dlugash said. "But it's no less severe to these other people with these big numbers."

A Wall Street executive who made 10 times that amount and now has declining income along with a divorce, private school tuitions and elderly parents also suffers, he said.

"These people never dreamed they'd be making $500,000 a year," he said, "and dreamed even less that they'd be broke."

*cough*

………..

I'm not going to say that anyone should track down the people quoted here and beat them until they wish for the sweet release of death, but…someone should probably track down the people quoted here and beat them until they wish for the sweet release of death.

I should probably say something more constructive, perhaps a detailed rebuttal of the arguments made here. I just can't.

I've got nothing.

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72 Responses to “A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE SEVERELY BEATEN GET THE FJM TREATMENT”

  1. Scott Says:

    Man, I wish there was a word to describe the joy I'm feeling regarding the misfortune of these terrible, arrogant douchebags.

  2. Jim Says:

    The "Reign of Terror" is looking more and more apropos.

  3. Mike Says:

    I had to click the link to make sure you weren't quoting an Onion story.

    The only advice that I have for these people is: Soldier on, brother, and remember that Mitt Romney feels your pain.

  4. HoosierPoli Says:

    Ah, the joys of self-parody…all the work is done for you.

  5. Bill Says:

    All I can say is that, right or wrong, there was a reason the Bolsheviks had the entire royal family shot, Anastasia included.

  6. Jer Says:

    Someone needs to photoshop some of these folks faces into the Tyrion slapping Joffrey animated gif.

  7. lfv Says:

    ENTITLEMENTS!!!

  8. freeportguy Says:

    Tough…

  9. J. Dryden Says:

    You know, it's times like this that we need to look to other cultures to examine how their overpaid executives react when the bottom drops out of their ridiculously inflated lives.

    I recommend, in lieu of reduced bonuses, Fortune 500s begin handing out shiny new tantos to these unfortunates, along with a card reading "It's the right thing to do, and you know it."

  10. Celynne Says:

    "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"

    Oh, imagine the horror! Having to tell your pwecious pwincess that she'll have to soil her Manolo Blahniks in the mire of the masses?? Have you no heart, America??

  11. jgalt Says:

    Happiness research has found that once you have enough money to meet your basic needs, extra money doesn't make you happier.

    But it can make you a douche bag.

  12. kathy Says:

    "I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand." My God, how do you expect people to live like that!

  13. Major Kong Says:

    Say, does anyone know how to build a guillotine? Um, no reason, just curious.

  14. Middle Seaman Says:

    Guys, I believe you don't understand what is going on. Your glee at the suffering of some rich people is misplaced. Here is what I think is a better approach. One of the guys says that he and his wife are saving money; the others are spending every penny they make. The spenders are like drug addicts, they are deep in a black hole always want more of the good thing. If they don't get it, they shake and feel terribly cold.

    For us, those with modest means, they look ridiculous and outrageous. Glee does make me happier. Screaming at my X1 and X2 doesn't make me happier. I pay a huge alimony and live off very little money, but I am happy. I am happy not being the money druggies. I happy getting rid of the monsters I was married to.

    We created the addiction to money society; we should look at the mirror. How many of you voted for the Ambassador of the Rich, i.e. Obama? How many of you wanted or still want to get rich?

    Stop it, you are almost as ridiculous as Mr. Schiff.

  15. cromartie Says:

    These were the same people who were devoid of sympathy and looked down their noses at autoworkers who went under because they were living off their overtime five years ago.

    Reality dictates that you live off your salary, and consider your bonus as just that, a bonus. If you aren't capable of doing that, you shouldn't expect any sympathy. Alternately, go find a better paying job, or go get retrained into one, at your own expense, like the rest of the proletariat.

    Fuck 'em. Let them eat discount salmon and send their kids to public schools like the rest of us.

  16. c u n d gulag Says:

    I

  17. c u n d gulag Says:

    "I?"
    Aye-yai-yai!
    The rest of my comment disappeared.
    Let me try again.

    I’ve written this before at other sites, but I think it bears repeating.

    They say that OWS had/has no message.
    Here’s what the OWS people should do at their next rallies (believe me, I'd join them except for my disabilities – my protesting days are over):

    At the next OWS gathering, we need to bring guillotines, mannequins, ropes, rusty can-openers, some kielbasa, dogs, wicker baskets, pikes, some gasoline, matches, and a sign.

    Set up the guillotine.
    Bring out the mannequin.
    Tie rope to the mannequin’s limbs.
    Tear off the limbs.
    Take the rusty can-opener, and fake gutting the mannequin.
    Pull out the kielbasa as if it was intestines.
    Feed the kielbasa to the dogs.
    Take what's left of the mannequin and hack off the head with the guillotine.
    Put the head on a pike.
    Put the pike by the road.
    Pour the gasoline on the mannequins body.
    Take the matches and set the body on fire.

    Unfurl the sign, which reads, “Are We Making The Message Any Clearer, ASSHOLES?”

  18. Arslan Says:

    Urge to kill…RISING. Shooting is too good for these people. I suggest a bloodless death, as per the Mongol steppe tradition. Roll the convict in a carpet and trample them with horses. No blood, no mess.

  19. Tom M Says:

    From the BLS:

    Annual mean wages by occupational group ranged from $21,240 for food preparation and serving related occupations to $105,440 for management occupations.

    http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20111130.htm

  20. skyskier Says:

    Seriously, I'm against extremely severe public beatings but for these people it's almost as if you just can't avoid it. They fully deserve it.

  21. Major Kong Says:

    Sigh. I guess things are tough all over.

  22. Coffeeman Says:

    It all comes down to perspective doesn't it? Getting angry at these people is no different than how the people quoted probably would view a similar article about people on food stamps.

    If we are honest, we will recognize the fact that many of us would not be saints were we in the same income brackets. How many of us play the lottery?

    What is being expressed is the net result of Capitalism run amok, Ayn Rand in the flesh. Being satisfied with one's economic status means not chasing MORE, which runs against our true religion…money.

    A lack of values is not a coefficient class or money.

    It isn't pretty.

  23. bb in GA Says:

    Back in the 80s our little ol' church of 400 had a personal connection in south India (Tamil Nadu) We started up an orphan children's home and school in a little town. We were actually able to support and manage it long distance for about 10 years before we turned it over to a larger ministry.

    Conversations I had with with Mr Raju, our director, revealed that you and I, Ed are Mr Schiff.

    Many Indians think that we in the US are all millionaires because, to them, all of us live in structures (there are millions who live on the streets in India) and those structures are substantial enough so that you can't put your fist through the walls.

    So when we bitch about anything, WE are Schiff in Raju's eyes.

    //bb

  24. comrade x Says:

    These bourgeoise need our help. It's obvious they are in pain and need government help. I suggest a 97% tax rate on all income over $1,000,000 per annum. Then they won't be tempted to buy more than they can afford and learn how to manage their money.

  25. Hazy Davy Says:

    I'm…disappointed, Ed.

  26. Jimcat Says:

    "Trump National Golf Club".

    Anyone who would pay money to belong to that deserves whatever they get.

  27. HoosierPoli Says:

    Shorter BB: "If you're not homeless, you're rich. Lick the bootheel of your betters!"

  28. John Says:

    This article really should be required reading for every citizen that is legally able to vote in this country. It pretty much sums up the driving force behind American economic policy for the last 30+ years, particularly from the right side of the aisle.

    "What's that? You can't afford basic things like food and clothing? Fuck you mister, I can't afford MY SECOND SUMMER HOME!"

    I have never been quite so violently ill as I am right now. People who make, per year, more than a sizeable chunk of their fellow citizens make in OVER A DECADE, complaining that they don't have enough.

    Whining that they don't have a separate bedroom for each of their four bouncing children.

    Fuck 'em. Everyone I knew (I happened to be an only child but I knew lots of families with two+ kids) had one room for their kids, and they used bunkbeds.

    Whining that they can only go to their summer home for one month this year.

    Fuck 'em. Everyone I knew was lucky to be able to afford the one, all-year home.

    Whining about the parking fees for their Audis.

    Fuck 'em. Everyone I knew thought just having a garage attached to their house at all was lavish.

    Whining about being "crammed" into 1,200 square feet and not having a dishwasher.

    Fuck 'em. Some of the families I knew were crammed into a few hundred square feet and didn't consistently have running water at all.

    " "Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu," he said. "But you suffer when you get the flu." "

    You know what happens when the rest of us get a flu? We take some aspirin and suck it up.

    It all comes down to a simple concept.

    " "Wow, did I waste a lot of money," Arbeeny said. "

    Fuck 'em all.

  29. Da Moose Says:

    Hard to believe that this is not an Onion piece…

  30. Kulkuri Says:

    Scott said, Man, I wish there was a word to describe the joy I'm feeling regarding the misfortune of these terrible, arrogant douchebags.
    There is a word for that, Schadenfreude. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/schadenfreude

  31. Major Kong Says:

    @bb

    There are indeed many poor in India but there are also some very wealthy people. Especially since we started offshoring our IT sector 10 years or so ago.

    In fact, it's a pretty good example of the two-tier society our 1% masters will have this place looking like in a few years.

  32. Sarah Says:

    There's a woman in my Philosophy of Democracy class who wrote about how government is an institution organized for the specific purpose of screwing people. This was just after we'd got done reading Hayek. She has a job and makes "too much money" to qualify for financial aid, so she whined about how those of us who are losing the musical-chairs game of job hunting are able to get federal grants and loans. There's another Hayek fan in there, a guy who's auditing the course and says he sent a daughter to Harvard University on his own dime and that he pays the top federal tax rate (bear in mind that there is no income tax in Florida). He audited my Ethics class last semester as well. Financial aid doesn't pay for auditing these classes, which are about $160+ per credit hour or about $500 per class, in-state tuition. He actually had the gall to strike up a conversation before class with me a few weeks ago, about how he was so worried about what Hayek foresees as the fall of democracy, which apparently happens whenever "people realize that they can vote themselves largesse from the government" and that democracies generally only endure for about 200 years because of that.

    @bb: What, exactly, are you suggesting? That anybody who has more than the clothes on their backs and the fat on their ribs shouldn't complain?

  33. anotherbozo Says:

    Apropos of the self-pity of the arrogant rich: see the 1971 film, "A New Leaf," with Elaine May and Walter Matthau. The first half is priceless: having squandered an inheritance that has inured him to the Good Life, Matthau has major difficulty coming to terms with the money well running dry, with a new self-image devoid of his personal art collection and private club membership. One of the best comic agonies on film. The rest of the film is funny but it's the first half that's original and delicious.

    I notice it's not available on Netflix. Probably suppressed by the 1%.

  34. cleter Says:

    "if you don't have money you don't understand the stress…of not having money!"

  35. acer Says:

    Any of you guys looking for a lucrative investment? I have a feeling we'll be living pretty large when Acer's Pikes 'n' Guillotines gets cranking.

  36. Turok Says:

    Eh…I sympathize with them. Just a little bit. No matter how much you make, seeing a 20% pay cut is gonna piss you off. Other than that, I do understand that they'd feel disillusioned. They pretty much sold their souls to be part of this elite group, but now it's disappearing and they're reevaluating their lives.

    But, the sympathy stops there. This is the epitome of first world problems.

  37. Cheap Jim Says:

    Aren't these folks supposed to be smart about money? Shouldn't they know you need, if you can swing it, to put something aside? No wonder all those banks fail; they employ idiots.

  38. ladiesbane Says:

    @bb: I understand the idea behind, "I cried for having no shoes until I met a man with no feet" philosophy. The farther anyone gets from utter, basic needs, the more he thinks of life in terms of quality rather than survival, and that takes him one step closer to Andrew Schiff and Marie Antoinette. It's important to be mindful how many people live that way, even in our own country.

    But the line of thought which says a struggling professor (excuse me, Ed) is the same as a rich-and-whining-about-it Schiff leads to Eric Cantor pushing deregulation to increase employment, because he wants to turn our poor into a class of serfs like those in India. We should be butt-kissingly grateful to be allowed to perform backbreaking labor for a nickel per day, with no medical insurance, OSHA, work comp, wage and hour laws, child labor restrictions, or unions to hold back the profits. He won't even charge us extra for all the contaminants he's giving away in the air, water, and soil. YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA.

    I understand the false perspective, I do. But there is a huge difference between saying, "we were so hungry we had to eat bugs, and it was awful" and implying that anyone who doesn't have to eat bugs to survive is a Monopoly millionaire.

    The latter is just a guilt trip to keep the angry peasants from revolting, and a pride trip to make the fiercely independent peasants cling to their not-quite-bug-eating station in life because they are Decent Folk Who Don't Want Something For Nothing.

    Being brainwashed into thinking that a living wage for a day's work is "something for nothing," and that Schiff's whining about earning in a month what so many people Americans earn in a year is justified…it's an amazing con job.

  39. Mo Says:

    Over two hundred years later, and the Jacobins still come first to mind when dealing with the 1%. At least, they do for me, and apparently I'm not alone here.

    Where are the tumbrels? Where is the guillotine? But, could I stand blithely on the sidelines knitting shrouds whilst watching the bloody beheadings? No, I'd probably be heaving my guts out into the gutter.

    The punishment aspect of justice is so damned appealing. But what we really want is less hogging of the pie, right?

    TAX THESE BASTARDS UNTIL THEY LIVE IN TRAILERS DOWN BY THE TRACKS.

  40. Sarah Says:

    @anotherbozo: Amazon has it, but on VHS only. I can't find the book it's based on (The Green Heart by Jack Ritchie) at all.

  41. bb in GA Says:

    Eat the rich, if you want to….you'll feel good for about 15 minutes. And then your lives will be no better, probably worse.

    Yes, I'm very thankful for everything I have and I don't want none of yours unless'n you're willing to give it to me.

    I am willing to share what I have (and do)

    //bb

  42. JohnR Says:

    Eh, I do feel some shreds of sympathy for some of those folks; they're people like all of us. I also still feel sorry for Marie A.; she always struck me as more of a teenage airhead than a rotten person. She was no Paris Hilton, anyway. As for the Bolsheviks – I have no sympathy for them; they were vicious ideologues, more comparable to Andrew Breitbart than to the Jacobins. I'm not sorry that some of these parasites are having to adjust to straitened circumstances ("They have no cake? Well, let them eat lead.."), but not all of them are the sneering recruiting-poster-boys for your local Communist Party. Some of them may even learn something useful from this shocking interruption in their more-than-comfortable lives. But $5.99 for salmon?! Man, I wish I could find that here; we grill salmon a couple times a year, and feel lucky to do that. I guess being able to afford living in NYC has its advantages.
    Oh, and to Major K: about your request for guillotine information – in my high school days I was for a short time the head salesman for an outfit we called Happy Jacques' New and Used Guillotines ("Get Ahead with Happy Jacques'!" was our motto), and I suspect I could root around and find our promotional literature if you were still interested. We had some trouble producing it, as I recall; our printer kept cutting off the headers, but it's mostly understandable.

  43. Major Kong Says:

    @bb

    I don't have a problem with the rich.

    I just don't want to have my job sent to China so my CEO can trade his Gulfstream IV in on a Gulfstream V.

  44. punkdavid Says:

    Bravo, sir.

    Brevity … wit.

  45. Arslan Says:

    "As for the Bolsheviks – I have no sympathy for them; they were vicious ideologues, "

    Right, because the Tsar's government, the Whites, the Basmachi, the fascists, and our neo-liberal leaders today weren't vicious ideologues.

  46. Ben Says:

    Yeah bb, you have a point. But thinking in terms of systems makes things a little clearer.

    Do the 2 billion+ people living on less than a dollar a day have a right to feel angry when the likes of Ed and you and me complain about things? Yuhp. Because we are in the top of a world system that benefits us, and they are on the bottom of it.

    But, at the same time, in America we also have a smaller, different system working within the larger world system. And this system has its own biases which benefit a select few while screwing over the rest. And the reason this story has everyone so het up is that the beneficiaries of that system are using their false hardship to further bias the system in their favor.

    Don't read the odious Megan McArdle attempting to do this, but do read Susan of Texas' FJMing of Megan McArdle attempting to do this: http://agonyin8fits.blogspot.com/2012/02/pity-poor-rich-man.html

    I think the difference is that Ed and you and me would like to see a more just and equitable distribution of resources (though our methods of getting there will certainly differ). While we're benefiting from our (largely unearned) position in the world system, we recognize it for what it is and try to rectify it. You can't say any of that for the people in the article, Megan McArdle, and their ilk.

  47. negative 1 Says:

    Everyone will be upset when their livelihood is cut, be it from $1 mil to $500K or from $20K to $10K. It's human nature. But what this highlights is these supposed masters of the universe are stupid, too. If you are making that far above scale in any position you should never place yourself in debt to the point where that HUGE economic profit would need to continue in order to maintain your lifestyle, because the market is designed to end them. Hell these guys are free-market prophets, don't they know that the primary job of the free market is stamp down economic profits? It's like one of the supposed primary benefits to capitalism.

  48. burple Says:

    Sergeant: Sir, sir, the attack's over, sir! the Zulus are
    retreating.

    Ainsworth: [dismissively] Oh jolly good. [He turns his back to the
    group around Perkins.]

    Sergeant: Quite a lot of casualties though, sir. C Division wiped
    out. Signals gone. Thirty men killed in F Section. I should
    think about a hundred – a hundred and fifty men altogether.

    Ainsworth: [not very interested] Yes, yes I see, yes… Jolly good.

    Sergeant: I haven't got the final figures, sir. There's a lot of
    seriously wounded in the compound…

    Ainsworth: [interrupting] Yes… well, the thing is, Sergeant, I've
    got a bit of a problem here. [With gravity.] One of the
    officers has lost a leg.

    Sergeant: [stunned by the news] Oh *no*, sir!

  49. burple Says:

    @arslan: I can't believe you would write that. Why would you want to dirty up a perfectly good rug??

  50. mds Says:

    "On a recent Sunday, he drove to Fairway Market in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound."

    Horrors! I hope he was able to ply his EBT card discreetly.

  51. JohnR Says:

    @Arslan: You're seriously saying the Tsar's crew were ideologues (vicious or otherwise)? Greedy, entitled idiots, I'll certainly go along with, but unless you define an ideology as including "of course we should be in charge; we were born to it", I can't say I agree with you. In any event, I'm not sure what your point is – I was responding to Bill, who said: "..right or wrong, there was a reason the Bolsheviks had the entire royal family shot, Anastasia included." My point was that the reason they shot the Romanovs had little or nothing to do with "revenge for the downtrodden peasantry!" That other groups also can be identified as scum-sucking ideologues doesn't seem to me to challenge my point. I could understand a peasant's revolt where the regime was killed in hot blood, and perhaps even sympathize with it. The killing of the Romanovs was just brutal, calculated disposal of a dangerous symbol, the same sort of thing that can happen any time a new dynasty overthrows an old one. By that measure, it was just normal human stupid viciousness, but the Bolsheviks were hardly different from the Khmer Rouge in their casual indifference to the people they used as their nominal justification. They don't get my sympathy just because they supposedly were 'revenging themselves upon the hated nobility'. They cared as little for the Proletariat as they did for the Plutocrats; it was all symbols to them, not people. Their goal was to force the society they siezed control of to fit into the Utopian box of their ideology, no matter what it did to the unfortunates who got crushed in the process.

  52. Hazy Davy Says:

    1) (I mean…I'm disappointed that you posted the easy target, and declined to line-by-line rebut it)
    2) Schiff responds: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/banker-bonuses-backlash-andrew-schiff-understands-why-people-210703011.html?l=1

  53. prosopopeia Says:

    While some of the people quoted in the article are undoubtedly deaf to the suffering of the 99%, the truth is that our spending adjusts to match our income, and re-tooling your lifestyle to match a 20% cut is in fact difficult. It's easy to mock someone saying, "but my children are all in private school"—but many public schools are terrible, and most children find changing schools fairly traumatic anyway. The pain of lost income is real for all but a tiny fraction of people: those who are too rich to figure out what to spend all their money on.

    Personally, I'll save my ire here for the press even bothering to report on the "suffering" on Wall Street elites when so many other people are suffering so much more.

  54. Tom M Says:

    I just don't want to have my job sent to China so my CEO can trade his Gulfstream IV in on a Gulfstream V.

    But, but, how then will he GET to China? I think you meant a Global XRS.

  55. Sarah Says:

    but many public schools are terrible, and most children find changing schools fairly traumatic

    I was a Navy brat (a job my father worked for the job security and the health insurance), and I relocated 14 times during my first 16 years of life. In the middle of the school year, too, at least 4 or 5 times, and I had to go to whatever school happened to be there at wherever the Navy chose to send us. Cry me a river.

  56. Shane Says:

    I think this is what all the cool kids are calling "first world problems"

  57. Major Kong Says:

    This sort of thing happens frequently in my line of work (airline pilot), since promotions are based on seniority.

    Somebody will upgrade to Captain and then run out and buy the big house.

    Then along comes a merger or a recession and they find themselves back in the First-Officer’s seat, with a 40% pay cut and a huge mortgage.

  58. Miki Says:

    That's 'cus there ain't nuthin.

    Time to re-qualify with the 38 ….

  59. Bernard Says:

    obviously they never learned to live within their own means and don't realize there is always another rung of the ladder. you can go up or down that ladder.

    comparing us to India just doesn't cut it here. false analogy. stopping thieves is what we have here with their false gods/MONEY. which kind of explains how little grasp of living these people have.

    screwing others to get over is what these people have been doing for over 40 years. and now the bottom is falling out. now who would have thought that stealing and living beyond your means would tead to such a "tragic" situation. Trust me, said the thief!

    as if these vermin ever cared about anyone but themselves and their exploitation of those below them. or how the other 99% have been doing.

    if only their jobs could be exported to India, now that would be only fair. considering how they screwed over those who weren't "fortunate" enough to be able to screw the 99% for everyting they could get out of them.

    just amazing to see such nonsense when someone pretends these people have "Problems."

    come see the people they destroyed, then we can discuss "problems."

    schadenfreude is such a small part of what this is.
    evil unleashed usually winds up eating those who unleash the evil. you know, that unusual Christian concept of you reap what you sow.

    Though that does leave a few exceptionals who might escape "payback." Let them eat cake.

    right cry me a river.

  60. johnsmith1882 Says:

    it fire joe morgan's itself. kinda beautiful in its own way. like a man sucking his own dick.

  61. eau Says:

    Wow. I just… What to say…?

    Wow. I can see why you struggled with this Ed.

    Wow.

  62. Bears Fan Says:

    It's hard to feel bad for these folks, but I suppose you can't blame them for much more than their ignorance. Particularly when it comes to those in the financial industry. For many, their entire professional existence has been little more than making huge sums of money doing things that had little value to our society. It was all they knew. They knew nothing else, so they couldn't actually conceive of the reality of most people. It would be like a middle class person trying to know what its like being homeless. You can only try to imagine, but you really haven't a clue. These people went from spending whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, to being like most of us, and actually having to go to the store and look at the prices. They don't realize it, but the change will probably do most of them good. Even if they get back to the days where they can afford anything, they will at least have the perspective of what its like to be a mature adult in the prime of their career and actually have to worry about paying the bills. It should give them a perspective that will translate into more empathy and compassion for their fellow travelers, and maybe that will make them less likely to be entitled douchebags.

  63. Anonymouse Says:

    @Sarah: speaking as another Navy brat, I found constantly changing schools less disturbing than having all the household goods (the ones with any sort of value, anyway) mysteriously going 'missing' far more upsetting. Clothes/records/your bed…all gone, gotta start over, but Dad's enlisted pay can't stretch to cover it this month, so you're sleeping on the floor and babysitting to buy clothes at Goodwill.

    Yeah, I find it hard to shed tears for people whose pwecious baybeeeze might have to share a room.

  64. Denn Says:

    Bear in mind that what we're seeing here is a consequence of the law of diminishing returns. The one-percenters have harvested the low-hanging fruit from the ninety-nine; it's now the top .01 percent squeezing their minions. The stratification continues up the food chain here.

  65. Surly Duff Says:

    @bb – I don't delight in the relative misfortune of the rich feeling the pinch of a reduced bonus pool (a fucking bonus pool mind you), but I sure as shit don't need to read or hear about their relative pain and suffering of having to cut their vacation home stay from four to one month this summer.

    I may not point and laugh as it does not improve my situation, but a hearty "fuck-you" can sure be cathartic.

  66. JazzBumpa Says:

    Not anything approaching an FJM, but I was not left functionally speechless, like Ed.

    http://jazzbumpa.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-hell-friday-shared-sacrifice.html

    Cheers!
    JzB

  67. Kevin Says:

    Hi! I work on Wall Street. I never got the really big bucks.. but I was paid $40, $50k and then $100k just because I asked for it. it helped that I actually knew what I was doing while masses did not.

    So a medium size 401k.. live within my means .. one. and only one sports car.. two houses .. three kayacks.

    and now I will play out the end.. consulting sounds good…

  68. Kevin Says:

    A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said.

    oh geez.. my girlfriend has a dog from a shelter.. a very nice exotic beagle/corgie mix

  69. JazzBumpa Says:

    Schiff reacts.

    http://jazzbumpa.blogspot.com/2012/03/andrew-schiff-responds.html

  70. Glen.h Says:

    It's the power of the free market in action. They failed in doing their jobs and the penalty is serious pay cuts. Did they seriously think the 0.1% wouldn't toss them to the dogs like anyone else if it suited them?

  71. Kaleberg Says:

    Hmm, $350K a year plus bonus. The austerity "morning in America" economy is working its way up, but I still don't think that's enough for change. We need to start hearing stories about having to idle the second private jet or selling the 10,000 acre ranch in Montana before someone who really counts starts rethinking our national suicide. $350K a year plus bonus is peon pay.