On Nov. 24, TheStreet.com’s Jim Cramer appeared on The Today Show.
On the air, Cramer told host Matt Lauer that despite the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street over the past year, lavish Wall Street bonuses would continue just the same — a brash thumb in the eye to struggling Americans who would neither get a bonus nor a bailout of their own anytime soon.
"What happened to these people? Nothing," Cramer said. "They got the money, they left. ... They got away with it, so why shouldn't the next guy try?"
And try they have.
According to a 2009 study on executive compensation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, a “who’s who” of Wall Street banks that grabbed federal bailout cash actually paid out bonuses to top-tier execs in excess of the actual profits earned by the financial institutions.
According to the New York State report:
- Goldman Sachs only earned $2.3 billion last year, grabbed $10 billion in TARP, then paid out $4.8 billion in bonuses in 2008 — more than double its net income.
- Morgan Stanley (Stock Quote: MS) only earned $1.7 billion last year, received $10 billion in bailout funds, then paid $4.475 billion in bonuses, nearly three times their net income.
- JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) only earned $5.6 billion in 2008 and received $25 billion from the government, but it paid out $8.69 billion in bonus money.
- Citigroup (Stock Quote: C) and Merrill Lynch suffered a combined $54 billion in losses in 2008. The banks received a total of $55 billion in bailouts and paid out $9 billion in combined bonuses.