Oh, the horror!
Apparently, something akin to panic has set in among the richest Americans, who are contemplating the possibility (although it seems increasingly remote) that they may be asked to make a small financial sacrifice to restore fiscal health to the nation that has given them so much. That’s right: Many among the wealthy are anxiously eyeing news from Washington about a possible tax increase.
That proposal hasn’t been debated anywhere with more fear than on Wall Street, home to some of the nation’s wealthiest and greediest capitalists. From the NYT:
Worried that lawmakers will allow taxes to rise for the wealthiest Americans beginning next year, financial firms are discussing whether to move up their bonus payouts from next year to this month.
At stake is a portion of the hefty annual payouts that are a familiar part of the compensation culture on Wall Street, as well as a juicy target of popular anger. If Congress does not extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the highest income levels, a typical worker who earns a $1 million bonus would pay $40,000 to $50,000 more in taxes next year than this year, depending on base salary.
Goldman Sachs is one of the companies discussing how to time bonus season, according to three people who have been briefed on the discussions. Pay consultants who work with major Wall Street companies say that just about every other large bank has also considered such a move in recent weeks.
With tax politics in Washington unpredictable, bank executives have spent months sketching out several options for their bonus plans, including the possibility of an earlier payout. Lawmakers have been trading accusations across a partisan divide, but after this weekend, it appears likely that a compromise will extend the tax cuts for all income levels.
Even so, the banks’ discussions about bonus timing underscore how focused the industry is on protecting every dollar of pay.
That’s rich. These are folks who manufacture nothing and whose collective scheming brought the nation — indeed, the world — to the brink of financial collapse. Yet, they have absolutely no sense of responsibility to the overall good.
And just how bad would it be if tax breaks for the filthy rich were allowed to expire? They’d still be paying less in taxes than they did under the Clinton administration, when the economy was healthy.
My, my, my. It helps you understand why the term “robber barons” had such meaning during the 19th century.