That’s what the staff of investment banks that invested in risky mortgage securities should get in bonuses. Before we spend a dime of taxpayer money bailing out these banks because they bet and lost, every penny that has been paid in bonuses to anyone involved in these transactions should be returned to the banks and used to pay off their debts. Sure it’s probably only a tiny fraction of what is owed, but if we are going to spend the money it’s the least that they can do.
British bank Barclay’s that agreed to buy the bankrupt Lehman Brothers last week has apparently committed to paying out up to $2.5 billion in bonuses to the top 200 staff at Lehman as part of the acquisition. I’m sorry but anyone who would pay out that kind of cash to the people that created this mess in the first place does not deserve a bailout.
I say if we are going to spend any taxpayer money, the only thing we should do is buy the foreclosed homes from the banks at current market values minus a discount for our troubles and then sell or rent them back to the occupants at a reasonable price and affordable terms. This would allow people to potentially keep a roof over their heads, keep homes occupied so that communities aren’t abandoned and allowed to rot and allow the government to eventually recover some of the initial expense.
These terms would of course be substantially less than what the banks are currently owed, but that is simply the price they need to pay for their foolish investments in the first place. I wrote about this more than three years ago and I hate to say it but I was spot on. This whole mess was easy to see coming and completely avoidable were it not for the greed of the bankers and their confidence that the Republicans would bail them out if they messed up. They need to pay up now, and anyone who was involved in this should be permanently barred from ever working in the finance market again. Perhaps if we let the geniuses who created this debacle rot on the vine for once future generations will learn a lesson. Or not.