It’s been a rough couple of years for just about everyone as a global recession has made all of us, from the everyday Joe to CEO’s of multinational corporations, tighten our belts.
We feel bad for the regular folk who have suffered through this recession, but one group we don’t feel sorry for is big banks.
Big banks have begun reporting its third quarter profits, and the numbers are a mixed bag. Goldman Sachs reported a $428 million loss—only the second time in 12 years as a public company the firm reported a loss. JPMorgan Chase saw their profits dip four percent to $4.26 billion, but Citigroup reported a profit of $1.86 billion (however, analysts said the majority of the income is due to a one-time accounting issue).
Goldman Sachs CEO has complained about increased regulations and the tough economy as reasons for the loss. Whether Wall Street should be heavily regulated is an issue for another time, but there are certain aspects of the crying over loss that upsets us.
First, Goldman Sachs received federal bailouts to stay afloat. Afterwards, they proceeded as business as usual by posting record profits. Now they want to complain about the government messing with their affairs? How quickly they forget their jobs wouldn’t exist without the government.
The firm has also been laying off workers left and right after each report over the last several months have surfaced. Meanwhile, they have set aside $10 billion for employee bonuses.
The situation we have here, not just with Goldman Sachs but with all our national banks and lending institutions, is pure madness. Billion dollar companies making billions in profits are crying foul as profits dip. To compensate, they have begun to raise fees to punish the average American—harsh irony for the taxpayers who helped them stay in business.
We don’t begrudge anyone from making a fantastic living. We can only dream of making what some of the top earners at firms like Goldman Sachs make—and we’re also aware that we don’t have the skills or the drive to accomplish their job.
But when everyone else is struggling to get by with less, there’s no sympathy for Wall Street. And unless these companies learn to accept this new reality, the Occupy Wall Street movement will only continue to grow.