Wait a minute, said Hamilton Nolan in Gawker. What year is this? Wall Street, after accepting a huge federal bailout, is preparing to award a record $140 billion in bonuses this year, while "we're cutting the pay of non–Wall Streeters in half, and lowering the minimum wage." So much for responding to the economic crisis by putting a stop to "fiscal profligacy."
Oddly, there was "little of that Tea Party outrage" we've come to expect over these record bonuses, said Johanna Neuman in the Los Angeles Times. "Maybe taxpayers have simply given up on Washington's efforts to corral Wall Street." Or maybe, now that the Dow Jones industrial average has hit 10,000 again, ordinary Americans have moved on.
Congress and the Obama administration told off the banks last spring, said Joe B. White in The Wall Street Journal, but they have gone on to other priorities, such as health care and Afghanistan. Now "technocrats at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury’s pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, have taken over the task of devising ways to make it harder for banks to reward risky behavior without killing competitiveness." But if taxpayers don't "simmer down" too, Wall Street banks still could be hit by another "storm of populist outrage" before long.
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