We know that Goldman Sachs has recently raised its base rate for CEO Lloyd Blankfein from $600,000 to $2,000,000 and then he gets on top of that bonuses (worth $12.6 million). In investment banking, a First Year Analyst with a Bachelor's degree can earn form $90,000 to $350,000 (including bonuses). A Vice President with a degree and 3-6 years experience can earn from $350,000 to $1,000,000.
Looking at the median pay scale of teachers in the United States, the Median Salary for a High School Teacher was listed as $43,355; for a Special Education Teacher in a Secondary School, the median salary is $43,889. As far as I know, these teachers don't get enormous bonuses for having successfully taught school.
There is something terribly wrong when the making of money by an investment bank that has no clear social value for the whole of society (except to make lots of money for itself) pays more for its employees than teachers who are equally well educated. Teachers are far more important because they pass on the values of the society to the young; they help students to live in the world; they prepare the citizens of tomorrow and yet the pay they receive is far short of the value of the job they do in society.
That pay inequality is the moral and ethical dilemma that most threatens the economy of the US.
Indeed, the problems this country faces today have NOTHING to do with public employees unions or teachers as the politicians and neo-liberal corporatists would have you think.
They DIRECTLY stem from an economy that now privileges one thing and one thing only - moving paper around on a trading desk - and placing all the power and influence in this country into the hands of the people who do this legalized criminal activity for a living.
Here is Graham Summers at zerohedge.com with more:
Ever since this Crisis began, the guys behind the bailouts and other “solutions” have used the law or legal precedent to justify their actions. Bernanke, for example, has cited all kinds of laws that give him the right to throw tax-payer money around, monetize debt, and all the other financial hocus pocus he’s engaged in. Same goes for Hank Paulson (who somehow managed to convince the government that he was an impartial figure despite making $500 million+ at Goldman Sachs).
But no one has EVER used the phrases “this was the right thing to do” or “this was a good, moral action.”
Perhaps I’m a naïve fool who belongs in a Disney movie or a Charles Dickens novel (where good and bad distinctions are always clear), but I don’t see the ethics or “moral right” of any of the stuff going on in our financial system today.
I don’t see how it’s “right” for the US central bank to destroy our currency so that Goldman Sachs can pay itself 2007 level bonuses again.
I don’t see how the same folks who created this mess (Hank Paulson, Bernanke, etc) should be allowed to try and fix it.
I don’t see how it’s “morally correct” to funnel tax-payer money to Wall Street BUT not to small businesses and the like (if we’re going to bail people out or help them, why not focus on the 17 million small businesses instead of the 10 biggest banks?)
I don’t see how it’s “ethical” to allow Goldman Sachs and other High Frequency Trading Program operators to “front-run” me and everyone else who participates in the financial markets (Goldman’s traders only lost money two days last quarter… that is statistically impossible unless you’re cheating).
Bottomline: I don’t see ANY actions that are truly aimed at helping MOST of us (the RIGHT thing to do). All I see are huge sums of money (my, yours, our children’s and our grandchildrens’) being thrown at guys who:
1) Made a ton of money pursuing reckless business practices, screwed up, and should go broke or be fired
2) Have shown ZERO responsibility for the actions they pursued that caused this Crisis
3) Have yet to offer any real solutions (or changes to their business practices) to help SOLVE the Crisis
Basically, we have a very small minority of Americans who believe they deserve a FREE LUNCH. These folks are Wall Street and the banks (the alleged pillars of capitalism).
The irony here is that the basic tenant of capitalism (and MORALITY) is responsibility for one’s actions. If you pursue reckless business practices in the name of greed and those practices turn against you, you SHOULD GO BROKE. You don’t get to keep everything, keep calling the shots, AND get other peoples’ money as a reward for your mistakes.
Never-mind the legality of this issue… it’s simply NOT RIGHT. End of story.
Let’s put this whole issue into perspective. Imagine two salesmen working at the same firm: Bob and Frank. Bob lies to his clients, embezzles money, and generally engages in business practices that could damage his firm. Frank, on the other hand, never lies, doesn’t cheat his clients, and always watches out for the firm’s best interests.
Now, what sane business owner would give Franks’ salary and commissions to Bob?
And yet, this is exactly the “solution” Ben Bernanke and others have been pursuing in dealing with this Crisis. They are giving OUR money to people who created a MESS. Again, forget about whether or not this is legal. It’s not right. Never has been. Never will be.
And I don’t think I’m totally misguided here.
The ENTIRE financial system runs on trust (credit and debt are issued based on your trust you will be paid back). If you want to fix the financial system, you need to restore trust.
Ben Bernanke is working overtime to make the banks trust each other again… but he’s sacrificing an even more important “trust” relationship to do this. That is the trust Americans have for Wall Street/ the banks/ regulators/ etc.
It may have gotten Ben Bernanke re-elected… but it’s going to destroy Americans’ retirement, incomes, and prosperity.
And that simply is not right.
Indeed, what bothers me most about elitists like Mort Zuckerman calling public employees the new "haves" in order to flame class warfare between unionized and nonunionized working and middle class people is how patently absurd it is on the face of it, and yet the meme gets repeated ad nauseum in the media and swallowed whole by so many in the populace.
You want to take aim at the "haves," take aim at the people Graham Summers is writing about and the corporate politicians in BOTH parties who do their bidding.
It seems so obvious to me and yet so many in the Tea Party seem to back the Koch Brothers, Zuckerman, Murdoch, Goldman Sachs, et al. over their own economic interests.
Say it with me, folks - this has NOTHING to do with unions, public employees or teachers and EVERYTHING to do with the Wall Street and hedge fund criminals.
Put these people in jail, where they belong, strip them of their stolen wealth, and tar them as the spoiled, privileged elites that they are and the country would be a much better and more equitable place.
Hell, it might even become a quasi-democracy again instead of the oligarchy it currently is.