The bankers and Wall Street types really only have themselves to blame. With the ascendancy of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren by proxy), it’s clear that the populists are ruling the day in this Presidential election year.
Nobody’s been talking about the Koch brothers this time around, even though they’re probably spending more money than ever this year. It’s just not counting for anything.
So I heard a story the other day that the average Wall Street bonus is “down” to $140,000 this year (see chart below).
So, let me just point out that this is more than my annual salary, and I’m actually an attorney with over 30 years of experience. Back in 2008 This American Life ran a story about the collapse of the mortgage industry and how it almost took the entire economy with it. In that story, among other things, they profiled some of the young bankers who made so much money during the housing boom that they didn’t even know how to spend it that fast. One of the young bankers – a guy named Glen Pizzolorusso, recounts the following thing to host Adam Blumberg:
We would roll up to Marquee at midnight, with a line 500 people deep out front. Walk right up to the door. Give me my table. We’re sitting next to Tara Reid and a couple of her friends. Christina Aguilera was doing whatever, [she’s] Christina Aguilera. So Christina Aguilera and all her people are there. Who else was there? Cuba Gooding and that kid from Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. What was that kid’s name? Fabian Barabia? We ordered, probably, three or four bottles of Cristal at $1,000 a bottle. They bring it out. They are walking through the crowd. They hold the bottles over their head. There is fire crackers and sparklers. The little cocktail waitresses, so you order four bottles of those, they’re walking through the crowd of people. Everybody is like, whoa, who’s the cool guys? Well, we were the cool guys. You know what I mean? They gave me a black card. This little card with my name on it. There’s probably like 10 of them in existence. And that meant that I just spent way too much money there.
And of course, most of these guys are right back on their feet again, making lots of money – if not quite as much money before the 2007 mortgage crisis – and the people they fucked are often still under water. And so it goes.
This is of course the “rigged system” that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have talked about. It’s also the rigged system that Donald Trump has benefitted from, but he too has talked about that system. It’s what’s fueling all the outrage these days, and our friends the bankers only have themselves to blame.