Banker Bonuses in a Time of Crisis
Our own Clive Crook notes:
I think this FT leader is very good. First it says that public money underwrites the bonuses banks are getting ready to hand out. That is a familiar point but one that deserves to be emphasised. Then it puts its finger on something mentioned less often. These huge bonus pools are diverting funds that could be used to build capital, which the industry as a whole urgently needs to do.
I defended the banks paying bonuses that had already been agreed before the crisis. But this really is ridiculous, and the banks should have known better, if only for PR reasons. If they get an ugly new regulation regime, they'll have only themselves to blame. Whatever they really think, deep in their hearts, they're certainly doing their best to give the impression that they believe they are entitled to collect huge paychecks no matter what happens, and have the taxpayer pick up the tab for their mistakes.