Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
We all remember having to bail out the big banks to the tune of $700 billion. In return we got to watch as the big banking institutions froze lending and continued to pay huge salaries and bonuses to the very folks who caused the economic meltdown with their irresponsible and greedy practices. Now, these very banks are spending millions to derail any legitimate financial reforms for America, while continuing to conduct business as usual.
So, what salaries did those who crashed our economy receive for crashing our economy?? Paywatch shows just a couple of examples of salaries for 2009:
* Citigroup received more than $45 billion in bailout funds—the largest bank bailout and employs nearly 50 lobbyists. Citigroup’s highest-paid executive, Institutional Clients Group CEO John Havens, received more than $11 million in 2009.
* At Bank of America, Thomas Montag, the head of global banking and markets, collected $30 million last year. And Kenneth Lewis, who retired as CEO at the end of 2009, could collect as much as $83 million over his retirement. The bank has lobbied federal officials and lawmakers on derivatives, executive compensation, oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
However, ridiculous salaries were not the only thing that the big banks wasted millions of dollars on. In this political environment they also spend hundreds of millions of our dollars on lobbying Congress:
For example, Wells Fargo increased its lobbying expenses by 27 percent last year. CEO John Stumpf received more than $21 million and was the highest-paid financial industry CEO in 2009. Because banks who received bailout money were forbidden by law to give their top executives bonuses or incentive compensation, Wells Fargo boosted Stumpf’s base pay by more than a whopping 537 percent to $5.6 million in 2009.
The banking industry spent a total of some $50 million lobbying last year, and the Big Six banks spent nearly half of that, Trumka said.
Of course this, coupled with the crashing of our economy has caused much justified anger throughout America. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wants to send a message loud and clear to these folks. After crashing our economy and being bailed out, they will no longer use the American worker as their own personal ATM. It is disgraceful that they now have more lobbyists than their are members of Congress:
Our message this year to all these banking CEOs is that hard-working Americans will not be their ATMs. Working Americans are mad as hell and we won’t take it any more. Big Wall Street banks helped create this economic crisis and should pay to create the jobs they destroyed.
The banking industry now has more lobbyists than there are Congress members in the U.S. House of Representatives. Banks also belong to trade associations such as the American Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that have been particularly active in lobbying against tighter financial regulations.
Go here to let the big banks know that we are not their ATM and that we are keeping an eye on their actions and indeed we are mad as hell:
It is time we fought back, not against imaginary boogey-men dreamed up by the tea-baggers but by those who really did long and lasting harm to our country and who continue to rape the American taxpayer and economy. Only when we stand together can we fight back against such powerful forces.