[Marxism] The Ten Wealthiest Financiers in America Are Not Worth $900, 000 an Hour

Bonnie Weinstein giobon at comcast.net
Thu Jul 29 13:49:25 MDT 2010


The Ten Wealthiest Financiers in America Are Not Worth $900,000 an Hour
By Les Leopold
"On behalf of the 3 million young people who would have been their  
students, I have a proposition for you: Donate 50 percent of your  
2009 earnings to keep those 150,000 teachers in their classrooms.  
Each of you, on average, still would net over $935 million dollars  
for the year (you should be able to scrape by on that) -- and the  
money you'd forgo would ensure that 3 million kids would get an  
education. That the ten of you personally received $18.7 billion (not  
million) from your hedge fund proceeds in 2009 is quite a feat, given  
that it was the worst economic year since the Great Depression. You  
each got roughly $36 million a week -- over $900,000 an hour!  
Meanwhile, as result of the Wall Street shenanigans you helped  
engineer, 29 million Americans are now without work or forced into  
part-time jobs."
May 28, 2010 07:26 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/an-open-letter-to-the- 
ten_b_593096.html

Dear Messrs, Tepper, Soros, Simons, Paulson, Cohen, Icahn, Lampert,  
Griffin, Arnold and Falcone,

It's now estimated that about 150,000 teachers will lose their jobs  
next year because of the financial crisis touched off by your industry.

On behalf of the 3 million young people who would have been their  
students, I have a proposition for you: Donate 50 percent of your  
2009 earnings to keep those 150,000 teachers in their classrooms.  
Each of you, on average, still would net over $935 million dollars  
for the year (you should be able to scrape by on that) -- and the  
money you'd forgo would ensure that 3 million kids would get an  
education.

That the ten of you personally received $18.7 billion (not million)  
from your hedge fund proceeds in 2009 is quite a feat, given that it  
was the worst economic year since the Great Depression. You each got  
roughly $36 million a week -- over $900,000 an hour! Meanwhile, as  
result of the Wall Street shenanigans you helped engineer, 29 million  
Americans are now without work or forced into part-time jobs.

While you may not feel personally responsible for the crash, you do  
bear some responsibility since you are major players in the financial  
industry. (Funny how no one is accepting responsibility for the  
financial crisis.) As Leo Hindery Jr. put it, your industry is a  
"profit-driven, greedy, selfish institution that, with its unbridled  
compensation practices and current light-touch regulatory regime is,  
I truly believe, behind almost every major societal and economic ill  
that has befallen the United States since 1980."

As you know, you probably would have earned little or nothing in 2009  
if the American taxpayer hadn't bailed out the entire financial  
system. That $18.7 billion you collected didn't fall from the sky.  
Fearing another great depression, we poured nearly $10 trillion into  
the financial sector in the form of loans, liquidity programs, asset  
guarantees and the like. Those taxpayer subsidies should have gone to  
enhancing the public good, not pumping up obscene levels of private  
gain. Instead the net result of our mammoth rescue effort is that  
150,000 teachers are laid off while you collect more than $36 million  
a week.

It's a troubling saga of public decay: Your high-flying financial  
manipulations helped bring down our economy. Millions of people lost  
their jobs and were no longer able to pay taxes; businesses  
everywhere went under. And now state and local governments are going  
broke and slicing their budgets. Tens of thousands of teachers are  
losing their jobs. (Those of you who live in New Jersey are watching  
this play out with a vengeance, as school programs are slashed to the  
bone.) Meanwhile, you walk away with billions, courtesy of U.S.  
taxpayers.

I challenge you to explain this story to your children or to anyone  
else who isn't on your payroll. How can you justify making more than  
$900,000 an hour in an industry that is essentially responsible for  
the loss of 150,000 teachers?

Not to pick on you, Mr. Tepper, but you led the list by earning $4  
billion in 2009. That's more than $1.9 million an hour, or $32,000  
per minute. You earn more in one minute than the average entry-level  
teacher earns in one year! Please explain.

You personally can do something about this insanity. You can prevent  
the further deterioration of our public educational system. You can  
let America know that you are willing to right a wrong.

You know better than anyone else in the country how truly fortunate  
you are. And you know that you can easily afford to put thousands of  
teachers back to work, shoring up the public educational system that  
is at the core of our democracy. And let's be honest, you can cough  
up $9 billion and still be wealthier than the pharaohs.

In a saner world, we would have placed a 50 percent windfall profits  
tax on all financial earnings in 2009. That would have helped  
compensate for the massive public subsidies we provided to your  
industry. It would have replenished our local, state and federal  
coffers. But as a nation we are cowed by financial power. We simply  
do not have the will to challenge our distorted distribution of  
wealth -- at least not yet. However, with the stroke of a pen, you  
can help rebalance the scales.

In truth, I don't expect you to rise to this challenge. I suspect  
that if you see this letter, you will come up with a thousand and one  
reasons to dismiss my request. Some of you might point out that you  
are already giving hundreds of millions to charities and educational  
institutions. Or maybe you'll just be miffed that someone like me has  
the gall to make such an outrageous proposition. But it's not me that  
you need to think about. You need to think about those 150,000  
teachers and the 3 million kids who won't be learning from them next  
year. Your wealth will have little value if the society around you  
crumbles.

The time may come when the American people demand a modicum of  
financial justice and economic sanity. This would require something  
far beyond the current financial reform, which is basically a gift to  
Wall Street and your hedge funds. (After all, under this legislation,  
you'll still be able to pay only 15 percent tax on your earnings,  
which is virtually criminal given our revenue shortfalls.)

The time may come when we stop allowing financiers to earn billions  
while we gut our public infrastructure. I don't know when that will  
be or how we'll get there. But if you keep piling up your billions  
with no concern for the American people, you might just hasten the  
day when an angry and determined public comes knocking on your door.

Better you should put our teachers back to work. No?

P.S. If you employ those 150,000 teachers, I'll donate the royalties  
from my latest book, The Looting of America. After all, you're part  
of the reason the book keeps selling.

Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall  
Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and  
Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It Chelsea Green Publishing,  
June 2009.





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