Tax Wall Street Bonuses


Are you feeling sorry for Wall Street bankers yet? Poor babies; everyone is down on them. First, We the People are steamed that these bailed-out barons of finance are again putting billions of dollars of bonus pay into their pockets. Second, a special national commission is publicly grilling top bankers about the damage their greed has done to our economy.

And third, President Barack Obama is proposing to slap a greed tax on the biggest of the giants. Wow. Three strikes and you’re out, right? In baseball, yes; in bankerball, never.

Such human traits as modesty, shame and personal responsibility are not in the genetic makeup of Wall Streeters, so they have an answer for everything that’s being thrown at them. Start with those bonuses. yes, say the bankers, we’re stuffing ourselves with money that we should be lending to help Main Street recover from the crash we caused, but—hey— we’ve also started a few charities to help, you know, the little people.

So buzz off, killjoy. As for that commission digging into who caused Wall Street’s financial meltdown, the bankers’ answer is unanimous: no one. The jefe of JPMorgan Chase, for example, explained to the commission that a financial crisis “happens every five to seven years. We shouldn’t be surprised.” Uh, this is the worst crash since the Depression—and we are surprised.

And angry.

Then there’s Obama’s tax. Unfair, screeches the Wall Street flock, apparently clueless that their own greed caused the crash, which led to the bailout, which let them grab bonus cash for themselves. That’s the definition of unfair.

Not only should these sorry greedheads have their banks taxed to recover all of our bailout money, but we should also tax all of the bonus pay they’re ripping off.

Find more information on Jim Hightower’s work— and subscribe to his awardwinning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown— at