The year 2010 wasn’t a good one for Wall Street. Earnings were down 51 percent, while employee bonuses were down 14 percent. Last year was even worse, with earnings dropping by half again and bonuses were down 13 percent.
These facts seem to defy the mantra of the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, which claims it is against rich Wall Street bankers.
However, the movement wasn’t one against crony capitalism, but rather a far-left movement which embraces extreme environmentalism, left-wing social issues and much more.
The movement also had zero to say when Jon Corzine’s MF Global declared the eighth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. If not for Corzine’s huge bad bets on European debt, the firm likely would still be around. Additionally, Jon Corzine likely would have been our Treasury Secretary.
The movement initially had a chance to garner wide support, and in fact it was gaining some support. Some colleagues of mine originally supported the movement as a protest against crony capitalism but have turned away as the movement has grown violent and without a cause. The movement had a real chance to seize on the fact that corporations with a lot of money buy off our politicians.
What is the truth about “Wall Street”? The term is misused by the media since in the big banks there are so many different divisions with people doing so many different things. Even as a whole unit, the banks are rapidly shredding jobs and employees fear being the next one to be dismissed.
And even in the investment banking units, things are far from rosy. To get into investment banking, students have to attend top schools and get great grades. Once they get a job, the average work week is 100 hours and the pay is about $100,000 a year. That works out to only about $19 per hour, which is below Occupy Wall Street’s demand of $20 per hour minimum wage.
The bonuses which are so derided by the populist Occupy Wall Street movement in fact push the wages of first year investment bankers above the minimum wage line. Additionally they work crazy hours, which according to a recent study published in The Wall Street Journal causes physical and mental illness.
One day a movement may arise that fights corruption and money in politics.
However it won’t be Occupy Wall Street and “Wall Street” shouldn’t be their main target.
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