Or at least they could end poverty in America’s largest city… with their bonus pool. It was reported today that Goldman made $13.2 billion this year; that’s after it set aside $16.2 billion for bonuses. 18.5% of NYC lives below the federal poverty line — that’s 1.5 million people. This means that a family of three would live on under $18,310 (for a single person it would be $10,830). If the Goldman bonuses were distributed to every person living below the poverty line, they would give $10,470 to each of these 1.5 million people — ending poverty in America’s largest city. Of course our mayor, the richest man in the city, could do the same by distributing his wealth; he’d still have several billion to spare. (But Goldman is more sustainable — their bonuses reappear every year!).
What’s funny about my mentioning of this is that this isn’t the first time someone has noted this exact same thing. The year was 2006. And the pro-capitalist, free market paper, The Daily News, editorialized,
The merry moneymakers at Goldman Sachs will end the year with $9.5 billion in profits, and they’ll divide $16 billion in bonuses – about $622,000 for each employee. We do not begrudge these conquerors of capitalism, but […] Goldman’s numbers offer a vivid example of the growing gap between the rich and everyone else in America. In the city, 1.5 million people live below the poverty line of $16,000 a year for a single parent with two kids. Goldman’s bonus pool could raise each of their incomes by more than $10,000. Something is wrong when one firm’s bonus pool is big enough to end poverty in America’s largest city.
I thought something had changed since the irresponsible heyday of 2006. Funny. Wait… “funny” isn’t the word for it. What’s the word I’m looking for?