I continue to be amazed at the smug arrogance displayed by Wall Street types who came close to bringing down civilization as we have known it and now bitch and complain that they aren’t being appreciated enough.
Poor babies. Even the biggest bonuses ever paid apparently aren’t enough to soothe their hurt feelings.
Until now, my favorite example of the phenomenon was one Anthony Scaramucci, the hedge fund manager who complained publicly to President Obama that he and his fellow Wall Streeters were tired of being “whacked with a stick.” This, after news had broken that Wall Street’s top 25 hedge fund managers had an average income of $1 billion each in 2009, and that total bonuses on the Street this year were likely to set a record.
For comparison’s sake, Facebook made news recently when it announced that its total revenues this year may hit $2 billion. That’s right. Facebook’s total revenues — not profits, revenues — may equal the average income of just two of the top 25 hedge fund managers.
However, I would now like to nominate a new champion of grandiose self-pity in the person of one Robert Benmosche, CEO of AIG. You may recall AIG as Ground Zero of the financial meltdown, the beneficiary of an estimated $182 billion federal bailout.
Benmosche was brought in to lead the company after the meltdown and bailout, and to his credit has helped lead AIG to recovery. As he says in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“I was wondering if I might get a call from someone saying maybe ‘you were right,’ because we look better than we did last May and we can see the finish line from here, and it comes with a profit for the taxpayers. But as I learned in [Ayn Rand's book] ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ find your Thank Yous from within.”
Ayn Rand…? Really?
An investment of $180 billion in federal money helps rescue the company, and this guy sees himself as the hero in an Ayn Rand novel, a testament to the virtue of the independent businessman making it on his own? And he wants people to call him and thank him for it?
Personally, I think the guy ought to grab a telephone and start calling the hundreds of millions of American taxpayers who made his company’s success possible. But since that’s not likely to happen, I guess we’ll all just have to shrug our shoulders and find our thank yous from within.
– Jay Bookman