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Peterson: Wall Street Bonuses Created Spoiled Schmucks

The former executive writes about his opinions

If there’s one book that will cause a stir in Wall Street, it has got to be Peter G. Peterson’s “The Education of an American Dreamer: How a Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way from a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond”. Bloomberg gives a glimpse of the scintillating book yet to be scheduled for publication this week. The report states, “‘I was quietly furious. To myself I was thinking, ‘What a bunch of spoiled and ungrateful schmucks!’, according to Peterson. In (his) book, he described receiving a $450,000 bonus at Lehman Brothers in 1974 and said other executive committee members garnered $350,000 to $425,000 each. The payouts followed a year in which partners hadn’t received any bonuses because the firm lost $8 million. ‘Men with $300,000 bonus checks in their pockets made it clear, in the form of serious complaints, that they were miffed,’ Peterson writes. ‘The bonus distributions were unfathomable, unfair, unconscionable! This came from people who had gotten nothing one year earlier, when the firm was on the brink.'”

Isn’t it time that someone who used to work for one of the largest banks in the country finally criticize the people who are refusing to take part in the nation’s credit meltdown? We’ve come to do the same to these people repeatedly but there are no signs that they’re changing their stand. The problem with Peterson’s accusations is that it is too generic these days. With the large number of executives who were bribed with retention bonuses, no one would actually take the blame for it. After all, retention bonuses will always be present especially in an economic crisis when they can proudly threaten to leave the company they’re working for. So when Vikram Pandit pleads to the Fed to use the bailout money for bonuses (and occasional side trips to the Hamptons with his colleagues), we’re calling on Peterson to identify the schmucks that he’s referring to.

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