It used to be that corporate CEOs
drew their narrowly focused business
ethic from the laissez-faire novels of
Ayn Rand — but today’s corporate
chieftains seem to be drawing their business
models from The Godfather and
Robert De Niro’s Mafia movies.
Take Goldman Sachs. Having been
bailed out with billions of our tax dollars,
this banking behemoth is now raking in profits and distributing the take
among those in “The Company.” So far this year, Goldman has set aside $16.7
billion to split as bonus money with its bankers — an average of $530,000 for
each of them!
With public opinion of Wall Street bankers already running at about the
same bottom-dwelling level of mobsters, such a huge take adds fuel to the
anger of hard-hit folks who feel robbed by financial greedheads. Thus,
Goldman’s top boss has warned the recipients of the bonuses not to flaunt
their share of the windfall by rushing out to buy $100,000 cars or loudly ordering
$5,000 bottles of wine in restaurants.
This caution against in-your-face consumption is right out of the Mafia
handbook! In fact, I think I saw it in a De Niro movie. Of course, Goldman’s
executives not only want to make such big money hits, but they crave respect,
as well — and they’re a bit touchy about being perceived as members of an
illegitimate syndicate. The company’s chief financial officer sounded almost
like an offended consigliere recently when he pleaded with the media to focus
less on the bank’s bonus culture and more “on the success of our business, on
how well we’re doing and how well our people are performing.
Yeah, life’s just not fair to bankers who’re making a killing at public expenses
and being paid such extravagant bonuses that they have to hide their windfall.
Next thing you know, they’ll be forming the Wall Street Anti-Defamation
League, and asking us to donate to it.