Monday, January 11, 2010

Optics and Grumbling 

It is hard to sympathize with workers on Wall Street who are getting bonuses in stock rather than cash. They are still getting a full measure of compensation although it is deferred and they can't spend it right away. The move to stock is a charade to cover up what is generally known -- that compensation for 2009 will be unusually high for the few banks that did well at a time when unemployment is running at 10 percent. The unemployed and under-employed envy the success of the few, and they should since a part of the blame for the economic meltdown can go to banks' dumb lending and derivative packaging policies.

From a long-term view with optics in mind, it would be good if banks moved away from cash bonuses to more stock vested for the long-term. The move would remind employees that one good year does not a long-term institution make. One has to perform well year after year. There is an old cliche about Wall Street that long-term planning is lunch. Maybe now, they will think of supper too.


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