Bankers’ Bonkers Bonus Brouhaha

Just as inevitable as the melting of the snow was the news that bonuses are back, big time. What was much more surprising was the suggested levy on bonuses by Barak Obama. Where the US leads, others follow? Or will it just trigger a race to the bottom (tax rate) with the Swiss and other less intrusive and less questioning states welcoming the banking pariahs, as Boris suggests.

That renowned rag of the revolutionary socialism, the Financial Times notes that

The main grievance is that the bonuses are not a reward for competence, effort, or any other quantifiable benchmark. In the aftermath of Tarp [Troubled Asset Relief Programme], they can even be likened to a corporate dole

And what’s this, Chris Blackhurst, one of those renowned fifth columnists at the Evening Standard, speaking to an anonymous banker

In the outside world, I went on, people do not receive a payout for merely doing their job. His face was a picture to behold — one of astonishing blankness. He really did not get what I was talking about. “But in the City…” he spluttered. Precisely. In the City. There you go. In the City it is taken as read that those pulling in a profit for their firms should get bonuses. But why?

I’m going to an ippr event tomorrow on this subject, so for once I’ll hold back on the expletives and half-arsed policy prescriptions. However its clear that pretty much everyone agrees, not just the great unwashed, that bankers do not deserve their bonuses, or at least that they have yet to persuade us of the unique skills they have which justify them.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.