Those Wall Street leeches

The favorite activity of New Yorkers who are not in the banking industry is complaining about New Yorkers who are in the banking industry.  I certainly joined in when I was a New Yorker.  They outbid us for housing, they tipped too much, and in public places the younger ones often had a movie star's sense of entitlement without the easyness on the eyes, much less the ability to be consistently entertaining.  Or so we used to whine.

Then there would be a recession, and everyone in New York would realize that all those overpaid weasels were, um, paying our bills.  Bloomberg estimates that the cumulative tax loss to the city and state from the 2008 fiasco will be at least $33 billion--mostly in corporate income taxes, but $1.3 billion of that is just taxes on bonus income that evaporated in 2008.  And if you think 2009 is going to be a lot better, would you be interested in putting a downpayment on a beautiful bridge linking Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan?  No need to make a full payment until you get that bonus!

North of $50 billion seems like a better bet for the gap that the city and state are going to have to close over the next few years.

On the upside, it'll probably be a lot cheaper to get a nice condo on the Upper West Side.  If you can find a solvent banker to float the loan . . .

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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