Occupy Wall Street – Why We’re Fighting

The GOP and Republican-owned FOX News as well as some at CNBC and CNN have been rather dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street movement and describing the participants as anti-capitalists, a fringe group, mobs, law breakers, anti-American.

They completely ignore the fact that our banks are no longer participating in a capitalist society, instead we now have corporate socialism for banks and capitalism for the rest of us. Here are a few handy facts thanks to ThinkProgress we need to take note of: 

Bank profits are highest since before the recession…: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bank profits in the first quarter of this year were “the best for the industry since the $36.8 billion earned in the second quarter of 2007.” JP Morgan Chase is currently pulling in record profits

Banks cost households nearly $20 trillion in wealth: Almost $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed by the Great Recession, and total family wealth is still down “$12.8 trillion (in 2011 dollars) from June 2007 — its last peak.” 

Big banks don’t lend to small businesses: The New Rules Project notes that the country’s 20 biggest banks “devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.” 

The 10 biggest banks hold 60 percent of bank assets: In the 1980s, the 10 biggest banks controlled 22 percent of total bank assets. Today, they control 60 percent

The six biggest banks hold assets equal to 63 percent of the country’s GDP: In 1995, the six biggest banks in the country held assets equal to about 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Now their assets equal 63 percent of GDP

MotherJones has come out with a special report that features the top executives “who made out like bandits during the bubble and the bailout.” 

Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products Executive, 1987-2008
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: $181.8 billion 
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 91.2 billion 
CLAIM TO FAME: Mr. Credit-Default Swap. In 2008, his unit cost AIG $99 billion. (AIG then paid $1.5 billion in bonuses and awards.)
QUOTE: Before the crash: “It is hard for us…to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing $1 in any of those transactions.” 
HIS BONUS, 2008: $34 million
HIS HAUL, 2000-2008: $280 million 
AIG’S TARP: $69.8 billion 
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $112 billion  

Vikram Pandit, Citigroup CEO, 2007-present
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 373.7 billion 
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 91.2 billion  
CLAIM TO FAME: Ordered a $50 million private jet, announced huge layoffs, and jacked up credit card APRs—after getting bailed out
QUOTE: Told Congress last February, “My salary should be $1 per year with no bonus.” Didn’t mention that he took $1.6 million in stock options as Citi lost $18.7 billion in 2008.
HIS HAUL, 2008: $10.8 million 

Robert Rubin, Citigroup Board of Directors, 1999-2009
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 373.7 billion 
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 91.2 billion 
CLAIM TO FAME: As Clinton’s treasury secretary, he pushed to overturn regulations prohibiting finance-bank hybrids such as…Citigroup. 
QUOTE: Wishes he could have reined in Citi but “I don’t know what I could have done” as just a board member.
HIS HAUL, 1999-2009: $124 million
CITI’S TARP: $45 billion ($20 billion repaid)
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $328.7 billion

Ken Lewis, Bank of America CEO and President, 2001-2009 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 63.1 billion  
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 68.9 billion  
CLAIM TO FAME: Okayed $3.6 billion of Merrill Lynch bonuses when buying the troubled firm. Said he’d return $1 million in past earnings, but still gets a $53 million pension. 
QUOTE: He’s against regulating “the banks that caused this mess” because they’d been “held accountable by the toughest, most unforgiving master of all: the free market.”
HIS HAUL, 2008: $10 million
HIS HAUL, 2001-2007: $145 million
B of A’s TARP: $45 billion (repaid)
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $18.1 billion 

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO and President, 2005-present 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 98.1 billion  
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 74.6 billion  
CLAIM TO FAME: Cutting comments (“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!”) and cutting perks (“You’re a businessman. Pay for your own Wall Street Journal.”) 
QUOTE: Over lunch at the Four Seasons: “Corporations can waste a tremendous amount of money. It’s destructive. It’s wrong.”
HIS HAUL, 2008: $19.7 million 
HIS HAUL, 2005-2007: $95.7 million 
JPMC’S TARP: $25 billion (repaid) 
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $73.1 billion 

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman, 2006-present 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 53.4 billion 
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 53.2 billion 
CLAIM TO FAME: Oversaw Goldman’s risky bets on the housing bubble, then turned the investment firm into a bank so it could get TARP money 
QUOTE: Says the financial industry looks “self-serving and greedy in hindsight” but that he’s been “doing God’s work.” 
HIS HAUL, 2008: $42.9 million 
HIS HAUL, 2006-2007: $114.4 million 
GOLDMAN’S TARP: $10 billion (repaid)
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $43.4 billion 

John G. Stumpf, Wells Fargo CEO, 2007-present 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 38.4 billion  
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 52.6 billion  
CLAIM TO FAME: Made a tidy $12.6 million in first six months on the job 
QUOTE: Asked before Congress about his 2007 pay, he conceded that he’d gotten $67 million in stock—but “at the values that pertained in 2007, which wouldn’t look familiar to you now.”  
HIS HAUL, 2008: $13.8 million 
WELLS’ TARP: $25 billion (repaid) 
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $13.4 billion 

John J. Mack, Morgan Stanley CEO, 2005-2009, and Chairman, 2005-present 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 35.9 billion  
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 44.7 billion 
CLAIM TO FAME: Earned the sobriquet Mack the Knife by slashing jobs. His battle cry: “There’s blood in the water; let’s go kill!” 
QUOTE: Told Congress, “If you gave me no bonus in the best year, I would still be here,” but later griped that smaller post-bust bonuses led to “an exodus of key people.” 
HIS HAUL, 2008: $1.2 million 
HIS HAUL, 2005-2007: $77.7 million  
MORGAN’S TARP 
: $10 billion (repaid)  
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $25.9 billion 

John Thain, Merrill Lynch CEO, 2007-2009 
COMPENSATION MEASURED AGAINST THEIR FIRM’S BAILOUT: 16.8 billion   
TOTAL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR 2009, 2008, AND 2007: 30.7 billion  
CLAIM TO FAME: Asked for a $10 million-plus bonus as Merrill lost $27.6 billion in 2008. Then redid his office for $1.2 million and approved bonuses all around. As the firm’s hidden debts nearly scuttled its sale to B of A, he headed to Vail.  
QUOTE: Bonuses were “the right thing to do for…the reward of the people who were performing.” 
HIS HAUL, 2007: $83.1 million
MERRILL’S TARP:$10 billion
ADDITIONAL BAILOUT: $6.8 billion

ThinkProgress summed up the reasoning for Occupy Wall Street: 
In the last few decades, regulations on the biggest banks have been systematically eliminated, while those banks engineered more and more ways to both rip off customers and turn ever-more complex trading instruments into ever-higher profits. It makes perfect sense, then, that a movement calling for an economy that works for everyone would center its efforts on an industry that exemplifies the opposite.

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One response to “Occupy Wall Street – Why We’re Fighting

  1. Banks… 1stRegisterThen… Corporations… The Blue States… Governments… are artificial entities.

    Joseph Cassano… John Chambless… Vikram Pandit… Robert Rubin… Ken Lewis… Jamie Dimon… Lloyd Blankfein… John G. Stumpf…John J. Mack… John Thain are not.

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