September 17th, 2008
10:12 AM GMT
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LONDON, England – Our inbox has filled in recent days with e-mails telling us where our viewers feel that the blame lies for the collapse of Lehman Brothers and this week's market turmoil. A few examples ...

"The banks & insurance companies of the world have caused their own demise."

"The crisis on Wall Street is the result of fat cats who should be investigated on gross mismanagement."

"They've had it coming. There is simply too much speculative money being generated by unfettered financial institutions, money for which there is no real equivalent in goods and/or services."

"Good that the smug finance professionals who were on the gravy train will get a real jolt with this and hopefully many pink slips."

It's clear that there's little sympathy for the bank staff that have suddenly found themselves among the ranks of the unemployed.

But while the "smug, overpaid" investment bankers and "professional gambler" traders represent the public perception of the banking industry, the vast bulk of Lehman and Merrill employees are more modestly paid backroom staff.

There are thousands of sales people, secretaries, researchers, clerks, human resources and catering staff caught up in this, who had no involvement whatsoever with the complex financial dealings that led their employers into so much trouble.

With food, utilities, general living costs and unemployment all on the rise, and with Christmas and all of its associated expense just around the corner, perhaps we should spare a though for these "ordinary" guys and their families who are likely to find it tough going as they search for a new job in these uncertain economic times?



soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Adrian,

    I could not agree with you more. I too was a "victim" if you will, of over exuberant, greedy management that went on spending sprees for ever larger assets and mergers in the name of lining their bonuses. This was in the era of the Telecoms dreams of taking over the world. We were a billion Euro company that had no real leadership. When I say leadership I mean that in terms of the entire team of people that were the backbone of the company. Those unfortunate ones who were sucked into believing that they were working for true leaders who were devoted to their well being and success. Then when it all started to crumble, they the leaders were left with their compensation packages of millions of Euros while everyone else were left to try and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

    So yes I do understand what you say and I do feel sympathy for those staff, and as well the customers and partners who believed in these unscrupulous and incompetent managers.

    September 17, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  2. NZG

    One set of people have been completely missed on this; the IT folks. These days these guys run the show for such financial institutions with their various risk models & quick computations.

    Yes, not everyone played a part in their complex dealings, but having said that people in other organizations doing the same job are paid less. So when I do see a reaction like “smug overpaid” I assume its for the entire gamut.

    All said and done my heart goes out to everyone in that organization for such a sudden collapse. I haven’t seen anything like it before

    September 17, 2008 at 11:23 am |
  3. jim

    yes i agree and may they suffer for a long time to come and you just hit the nail smack on the head

    September 17, 2008 at 11:26 am |
  4. James

    From a layman's point of view it seems inherently wrong that the bosses of these big companies earn such massive amounts of money and use it to build personal fortunes leaving very little for the actual companies themselves and when things go awry they run away with billions to their yachts and mansions and the staff who were already disproportionately compensated are the ones who get screwed. This is capitalism at its worst. Shouldn't there be some sort of regulation that protects against this kind of thing. Shouldn't the big fish have their assets seized and used to keep the companies afloat instead of the US government constantly bailing them out with more billions? It amounts to a pat on the back of those responsible when they're allowed to keep all their personal fortunes whilst the ordinary man on the street pays for their excesses. The government needs to kick big business out of its bed.

    September 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  5. Edward

    This crisis was due to absolute lack of discipline and loss of careful discrimination in investment. Who cares?

    September 17, 2008 at 12:25 pm |
  6. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Our troubles are systemic and culturally focused.
    Our business and graduate business education programs are to blame.
    We have created a culture where entrepreneurial risk–only involves other peoples money–not our own. There clearly is a view that human resources are just a commodity–to be reduced, increased, eliminated to reduce costs–without concern for their loyalty, expectations, nor personnel sweat equity investment in the larger whole of the organization.

    We are to blame as investors and board members for rewarding that behavior with continued funds.

    September 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm |
  7. Toby

    Sympathy for the staff that have lost their jobs now is in place, but for the average american misery is self imposed by voting for ruthless politicians. Crisis like the one you have now, will raise again and again, and for every time it occurs, the rich will get richer and the lot of you will lose. You seem to think capitalism won over communism in 1989, but missed the fact that also democracy lost to the liberalist dogma. As long as you vote for cooperate leaders to run the white house, deregulation will pave the way for wall streets sharks and your tax money will pick up the bill when the shit hits the fan.
    For a european, the US mindset looks a lot like the teenagers mind, short on experience, full of confidence and with a totally black and white judgement of reality. Don´t you understand that you can use democracy and the state to set limits for greed, without becoming a communist state ? Ever heard of a mixed economy ? The American dream is...a dream, unless you wake up.

    September 17, 2008 at 12:44 pm |
  8. S. Sandecki

    @ NZG

    I don't think you mean the actual IT guys, yes they developed these programs to analyze data and produce possible outcomes. This data was given to them by Analysisest and Spectators; and as to the actual mathematics behind it I'm sure it gets more in-depth.

    @ Topic

    It's sad, what will happen to all the employees of these buisnesses? Shouldn't the goverment be bailing them out in same way, shape or form as well? Something needs to be done in the future to protect employees of companies like this.

    Finance & Investment Forum: http://www.italkcash.com

    September 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  9. Denise

    Of course I feel sympathy for anyone who, though non-contributory to the current financial debacle, spawned by diabolically greed.

    However, just like the famous (...or infamous – depending on perspective...!) "WHISTLE-BLOWERS' who made news with the ENRON scandal, were there not any 'insiders' amongst this ostensibly innocent group of corporate plebes?

    If any of them had been aware of what was going on – even at the most basically cognitive level, and chose NOT to do something – while they still had a chance to benefit themselves from a more positive outcome, then....the "blue chips" are really now just falling where they may.

    September 17, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Martin

    My business recently folded. My customers were the big corporations but they changed the way they did business and after years of doing business with them and both profiting they just suddenly cut us off.
    The business executives who made that decision are now unemployed and I am an employment agent for executives. Or at least I was. Do I have any sympathy for these and all of there supporting staff, their partners in the crime. Not even a dash! You reap what you sow. Good luck finding a job people..........! I am now working for social security.. ha!

    September 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  11. Dagg

    Well, it may be true but they are partly victims of their own false expectations and wrong attitude about waht life should be. Why could someone have interest to be part of such organizations? Not because of enthusiasm that's for sure. No, it sounds good to be employee of a fancy financial institution and have large salary. Isn't that posh? This situation repeats allover the world. It is important to be part of some well marketed name. It is not important to work on something you love, or something you could feel proud off. Hmm, life and economy are great equalizers. Greetings from the Central Europe (where we have same problems but in a smaller scale)

    September 17, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  12. john t

    It would seem that one of the problems is in lack of accountability. Exactly as has been mentioned, the CEOs and others who get their "pink slips" could generally care less. They tend to get millions in severance packages, the condos in Hawaii, and etc. In the meantime the staff workers have to scramble to find another job.
    I can't help but wonder how much more efficiently some of these mega-companies would run if there were a clause in the CEO contract that said they forfeit all severance package benefits, stock, stock options, etc, if they are forced out because the taxpayers have to bail out the company. Of course some will argue that, if that’s in the contract, you wont be able to get the best CEOs available. But kind of seems to me that if what we have is the best we can get, we are in trouble.

    September 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  13. Funke Obijole

    May I know if the 'big' ones at the helm of affairs would be held accountable for this?

    Whatever, this is the time to beam the search light on other institutions in order to ascertain there 'health' status and avoid crowding the lower wrung of the economy ladder.
    This is simply tragic! Enough of addition of job seekers to the pull of unemployed.

    September 17, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  14. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Well said, Mr Finighan!

    I remember when the WTC was destroyed, and there was much talk about how the rich financiers who 'embodied capitalism' were the targets. That was rubbish, too.

    Enormous firms like Lehman Bros. have a small number of people at the top of the pyramid, who make obscene amounts of money. But such firms employ hundreds of thousands of cleaners, mail-sorters, IT specialists, to say nothing of typists, under-secretaries, copy-machine maintenance techs, vending-machine fillers, and maintenance crews.

    The collapse of an international colossus like Lehman Bros. will probably not hurt those few very rich, whose careers depended upon the rest of the pyramid, very badly. They probably had nicely 'diversified' stock portfolios, and hedge funds.

    If the staff-people had stocks at all, likely they bought stock in Lehman Bros. After all, it has been blue-chip stock for decades.

    Now, they have no jobs, and if they were stock-holders, their stocks are so much paper.

    I can see the t-shirt now: 'I'm an Investment Banking Secretary; How Would You Like Your Burger?'

    It's tragic, that nobody except their families remembered the infrastructure which made the WTC POSSIBLE, in the aftermath...

    It's shameful, that we have learnt so little in seven years.

    There, but for fortune, go you and I.

    September 17, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  15. Joseph

    Yes, of course bank staff deserve sympathy. They are innocent victims. The problem is that the greed factor is so entrenched that the SYSTEM allows the unsrupulous and incompetent managers to operate.

    When CEOs and other senior staff are paid millions of dollars in cash, stock options, or other fringe benifits based on the value of a company's stock price they will do anything from creative accounting, to stock manipulation to push the value of that stock up no matter what the real underyling value of that stock may be.

    It is a system built on BS and hot air. As George Soros said, the US Government, indeed many governments around the world left the risk management to the financial institutions. They held the mistaken belief that the market will find its own equilibrium and there was no need for regulation.
    Well, they were wrong and now we have to bail out private banks.
    Senator McCain, who until a couple of days ago would not have a bar of regulation is now saying he will shake the system up.

    Well, it needs more than just a shake up; it needs REAL CHANGE. That will be painful but it has to be done. McCain, who is part of the problem, is not the one to do it.

    September 17, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Jesper

    I don´t feel sorry for these people like I don´t feel sorry for Hitlers cook Saddam Hussein´s chauffeur.
    They had the their goods and prestige when everything goes well and tomorrow they still believe in capitalism and republicans.

    September 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  17. Lester from Alabama

    I keep hearing McCain talk about the success of the surge over and over again and demand that Senator Obama acknowledge how successful its been. To Senator Obamas credit he has done just this on more than one occassion stating that it has played a part in putting down the unrest… though truth be told the surge would not have been necessary had we followed Obama’s good judgement and stayed out of Iraq in the first place. When will the media and Senator Obama in turn demand that “out of touch” McCain admit that the economy is not “fundamentally sound”. Why does it seem as though he’s getting a pass on this. Certain media continue to pound Senator Obama on being wrong on the surge but hardly mention that Senator McCain is so wrong on the economy that his policies really put our nation at risk. He’s totally against the government regulating the market and now we see the affects of nonregulation. When there is no legitimate oversight…the sky is the limit for greedy corporate types and then the government really has to do much more than oversight to bail out the failing businesses just as we see now. God help us if we allow race to be a factor in this election. Things are getting pretty bad economically but for those who see only through the lenses of race or sex...they must be willing to endure even more bad policy or failure to keep someone out of the oval office who clearly has a far better plan for our nation than John McCain who admits that quote..."I don't know much about the economy". When will we wake up, think, and not allow fear to dictate our actions. Many will find an excuse not to vote for a black man but when its all said and done it will be just that...an excuse. Why not find an excuse to vote for the guy with new ideas versus John McCain who most experts and non-partisians agree will govern much the same way as Bush. WOW!

    September 17, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  18. Ray in Sydney

    Ugh Ghwwwat – let me clear my throat.

    After working in London's Financial district, I cannot stress how poorly treated the back-office were and how morosely disgusting those at the top of the company's acted.

    Whats really ironic in all of this, is the smug fat bankers who made millions then, won't feel pain. They surround themsleves in wealth and the trappings of their incomes and so called filthy genius. What is profoundly sad is the supporting staff. Fortunately for them they didn't make a deal with the Devil and sell their Soul for the almighty bonus at the end of the year.

    The banking industry is sick and twisted and it's only fair that they get a taste of their bitter medicine, which has been brewing in some demented chemists vile back-office.

    Go ahead – Slurp it down, and feel it, taste it... greed leaves a nasty end product you greedy disgusting vile Investment banking soul-less creatures.

    September 17, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Walter

    Remember they have familes and houses to pay for too

    September 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  20. uhay ohaka

    i feel so bad for these guys.it's so awful being in their shoes cos most bankers dn't have the spirit of saving.

    September 17, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  21. John Nicholas

    I think we should be careful about declaring any scapegoats, including directors, traders et al. Who has not relished the dinner-party competitions about whose property has appreciated the most?

    The investment bankers were yesterday's heroes. According to the Sage of Dunfermline, there were to be no more boom and busts. We were irrationally exuberant. That's how we push the limits of possibility.

    Glee at the sufferings of Lehman workers, whether Fuld or tea lady, is the mirror of irrational exuberance, and originates from the same common source in our individual and collective psyches.

    History shows, in the scale of centuries, that ultimately cycles do not end with prolonged booms, but with big busts that lead to restructuring and rebirth. Individuals often have to do the same.

    September 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  22. uhay ohaka

    i really feel for these guys.it'awful being in their shoes cos most bankers dnt have d spirit of saving.

    September 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  23. Thevan

    The banks & insurance companies of the world have caused their own demise. For too long they have exaggerated on their products and services they have offered. For too long they have prayed on the lack of intelligence in people. For too long they have abused and used the people’s wealth for their own personal gains and greed. For too long they have been allowed to function as legalized loan sharks. For too long they have been unchecked and unregulated necessarily. For too long they have abused the systems when communism broke down. Doctors took the Hippocratic oath to save their patients, banks & insurance companies should take the Hippocratic oath to safe guard the wealth of the people. They should focus on products and services for the benefit of the people not for their own fat pockets. The current financial mess could bring about a revolution

    September 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  24. franko

    From 1980 to 2006 the income tax burden paid by the top 5% Income producers in the U. S. has increased fro 36.84% to 60.14% of the total U.S. income tax burden.

    Obama wants to continue and increase this dramatic redistribution of wealth.

    How much more do Obama followers think our economy can absorb?

    Taking away from the Investor Class and giving to the Spending Class does not work in an economy that needs more private capital investment.

    With the second highest corporate tax rates and the highest level of financial reporting and disclosure in the world, what international investors will invest in the United States?

    Corporate tax rates in Europe are 30% lower than in the United States.

    Most IPOs have been moved from the U.S. to Europe because of the U.S. Sarbanes Oxley financial reporting laws and regulations enacted in 2002.
    With the Investor class keeping less than 50% of every dividend earned, what U.S. Individual invest will invest in U.S. corporations that pay the second highest tax rate and are the most regulated in the world???

    Run the numbers, under Obama, for every dollar of corporate profit, a U.S. investor can only put 30 cents in his or her pocket.

    Under Obama, when the investor dies he or she has to then pay 15 cents of the 30 cents in estate/death taxes.

    Only net 15% on every dollar of investment income from investments made in the United States???

    So, in light of the risk in business and investment, as we have all come again to learn and appreciate of late, WHY INVEST AND SAVE IN THE UNITED STATES?????

    I blame the current financial industry crisis on the socialistic wealth redistribution policies promoted over the last 25 years by Democrats like Obama.

    September 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  25. Mike Rust

    with their big money they cashed in over the last years this money should last for ever

    September 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  26. realtor

    sorry folks but that might be sad but cheap exploitation of feelings.The way financial system is way over due some changes,it is not financing anymore but rather a handful rich people 'vanilla and exotic' optioning their way to,well,some more money.Yes most of you americans believe in no holds barred wealth and capitalism but it is not gonna work,it should be somehow stopped and rationalized together with 'encroaching' globalization.Finacial vampires would not cry uncle,they will try to persevere till their last blood drop,and most probably cnn editors won't like my ideas,bear it though world needs a balance and those handful rich man needs pruning,if not all mankind is doomed to lose.I hope I made some sense for you over zealous money traders.thanks.

    September 17, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  27. Hank Shiver

    For years, a group of the rich have called for deregulation in the financial community. The GOP cut back on funding for regulators and cut regulations. Those appointed by the Republican President are using taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street. It is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest of the US citizens.

    September 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  28. NM mijo

    Adrian,

    This financial environment of "let's see what we can get away with" began years ago when Mr. McCain's "economic advisor" former Senate colleague, Phil Gramm, virtually single handedly gutted federal law, law that came about due to the Great Depression, that protected us from this kind of activity. I'm sorry but the Republican Party reeks of this kind of character.

    September 17, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  29. Jennifer

    If the government, which is supposed to be the American people, is bailing out these banks that have the Americans' money in them and hold the mortgages on all of our homes that we are paying for, then why do the Americans' not get their debts paid? Why is AIG getting our money as payment/accounts and the governments' and we Americans are not benefitting from this. We as working Americans are getting screwed from both sides and WE ARE FED UP WITH PAYING EVRYBODY ELSE'S WAY!!! These banks were mismanaged by the people running them and those individuals need to be held responsible (remember that word?) for their actions. That is one MAJOR problem with corporations today in the US. Huge retirement payouts for somebody who has been there for just a few months is absolutely ridiculous! GET REAL CORPORATE AMERICA AND GIVE US OUR MONEY BACK!!!

    September 17, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  30. Sam

    It is always terrible to loose your job unexpectedly. My empathy goes out to those who were unprepared for this eventuality and had no real hand in the poor decision making process that helped lead up to it.

    The frustrating thing, is that many of those who are responsible for this will escape with minimal damage, handsome severance packages, the ability to put away vast sums of money due to huge (if temporary) profits and their associated bonuses. These people will not be held responsible for the amount of damage the ripple effect from this situation will cause. Since their are no real consequences for them, why in the world would they avoid doing it again?

    September 17, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  31. Steve Minnick

    While I agree that the "backroom" and "rank & file" should not be hurt by the actions of their bosses, the bosses should have to pay a much higher price than is extracted.

    The "bosses" and others who have benefited greatly from their own greed should be stripped of all their assets, and I mean all. They should be made penniless and their assets used to pay back the American taxpayer who is bailing the butts out of problems their greed and poor judgement created.

    The penalties extracted should be commiserate with their actions. Why should they and the brokers walk away from these financial fiascos with their wealth, when they are destroying our wealth and then in a double dip, making us, as taxpayers, pay for their screw-ups. It is too bad that congress is so invested with these people they won't help the us, also the "rank and file" and "backroom" people.

    September 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  32. Vineeth

    We feel pity for those back office staff who suffer for the greedy and oversmartness of the highly paid investment jokers.These suckers made the life of millions of investors,workers miserable and should be accountable.With one CEO pay package you could pay thousands of employees and workers unions should take this matter serously.All the so called big names like Lehman, Goldmans,Merril and Morgan Stanleys has gone burst and many are likely to follow and declare bankruptcy.How many companies like AIG the US govt is going to bale out when the list seems unending.This is a lesson for the greedy and unscrupulous fly by night operators in the financial market who play with public money.

    September 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  33. MW

    Why bailout any of these corporations? We need to re-think and re-invent and put back regulation and come up with new regulation for the financial industry. They have changed the game with computers and financial instruments dreamed up with no regard to the future.

    September 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  34. frank

    They are not helpless victims..please.
    In december 2007 Lehman and Sachs had these massive bonus pay outs.
    Lehman alone dished out 8.7 billion dollars in bonuses.
    These poeple will be fine unless they wasted that money too.
    All 28.000 of them got their bonus. I did not hear any complaints.
    I thought it was weird, when they announced these massive pay outs, cause I wondered where these profits came from.

    My local bank also had these massive profits...as a client I wondered where it came from and why it never trickles down to the clients(that is a joke, but these people gambled in a financial bubble and got busted)

    Its like the oil markets, crisis in georgia no oil price hike... i thought "that is weird since a pipeline leak in nigeria does cause price hike". A week later Gustav comes along the price goes up nearly 5 dollars again. I don't remember weather causing 5 to 10 dollar price hikes every year.

    They had this wunderkind, another gambler, predict the 200 dollar oil barrel price a month later it started dropping, wunderkind comes along and changes his mind... everybody is loosing money left and right. Today the price is 88 dollars per barrel, wunderkind is nowhere to be found.What happened? China and India decided not too become the big oil consumers anymore? They lied, they made up all kinds of reasons to hike up the oil price, just to profit and now the bubble crashed. It is a giant pyramid scheme.They know it,we know it. So they are just reckless gamblers.

    Wunderkind Arjun Murti could not predict this collapse in his little bubble.Where are all these wunderkinderen now? If they could predict anything Lehman would have dodge this bullet easily. Fire them all with their math degrees and statistic models.

    September 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  35. Kathleen

    About AIG. Why is there no mention being made of the troubles IAG top officers (the father and two sons) were in several years ago? This is not a company that was just affected by the current financial crises. This is a hugh company who's philosophy has been on the edge of pure gambeling for years. I think the American public should be reminded of this.

    September 17, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  36. Noel

    $85 Billion to AIG.....I guess those of us who balance our checkbook ea month.... pay our bills on time....Limit our spending to what we know we can afford......are just "FOOLS"....I guess living responsibly is a vanishing life style! Arrrrrgh!

    September 17, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  37. Shar

    Bin Laden expressed a desire to destroy the US economy. Could all these problems on Wall Street be connected with that threat or did the financial institutions do it all by themselves?

    September 17, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  38. Ryan Pereira

    I think in a nutshell, America has no rules or regulations for a first world country and this makes the greed manifest itself more at the expense of the laid back financial system and the average Joe Blogg.

    Why in the first place have so many financial derivatives and options been allowed to initiate and grow. Isn't it common sense that once Man gets a whiff of money then there's no end to what can and will be done to achieve it at the cost of the US economy and the world.

    Why should a few handful of top CEO's and Execs be allowed to run such empires and receive handsome pay packets when one knows that a misuse and collapse of this system would trigger economic upheaval and hardship for the rest of us? Where is the conscience here or is there no word like that when it comes to self-fulfilment.

    I say that the US Goverment needs to step in and completely regulate the finanance and banking industry at the cost of losing out to incoming investor funds, because that is what the US Government has done in the first place:

    TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE REGULATION SO THAT THE US CAN ATTRACT AND RETAIN BILLIONS OF HARD EARNED MONEY FROM GLOBAL INVESTORS

    September 17, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  39. CONRAD FILIPIAK

    WELCOME TO THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF AMERICA.
    All the crisis was created by the thieves and took all the money . now we as taxpayers must burden it. We are now like venezuala and russia now. The government can do what they want.
    WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR CONSTITUTION THAT THEY ALL ARE IN VIOLATION OF.
    The democrats and republicans should be ashamed of them selves for their greed to.
    The thieves have created the housing boo, now bust, same as our oil prices whick inturn destroyed the world economy.
    General motors is so glead that there sales are growing in china?? But now they want money from the taxpayer. They dont care about american jobs or the people. Just the money, so let china give them the money.
    I THINK I WOULD BE AGREAT IDEA IF EVERYONE WOULD STOP PAYING THEIR MORTAGAGES AND SEND THEIR BILLS TO BERNAKE AND PAULSON???Let them figure out a way to deal with that.
    We the american people pay the bills but they give money to countries all over the world. We cannot help Katrina victims, but better yet we can rebuild other countries.
    When are americans going to stand up for what it right. Our people deserve new homes built by the government. Not other countries. We could do this and spend less money that we are now giving away.
    Wall street wants to act like a casino then they deserve to go belly up and the government must stay out of it. LET IS TAKE ITS COURE.

    PLEASE READ AND BRING PUBLIC ATTENTION TO SENDING THEIR MORTGAGES TO BERNAKE AND PAULSON.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH CONRAD FROM FLORIDA

    September 18, 2008 at 2:22 am |
  40. cliff burford

    Stupid, greedy, rapacious human beings will not learn a damn thing until there is blood on the streets; let 'em all bleed.....and the self-serving bureaucrats, who the public naively believe are the gatekeepers, with them.

    September 18, 2008 at 3:54 am |
  41. Paul

    I completely agree. There are just a "few" people who empty the banks and companies with their salaries and bonusses. Lack of responsible management, also for employees and their families. These last ones and consumers are paying the price for it, in taxes, job losses etc.

    From my job perspective, I see what real costs are of products ( banking or FMCG) . Issue are the huge bonusses and " living expenses" management has. Not everywhere, but there are lots of companies who have that.
    This causes costs of basic living fof normal people to rise ( groceries etc). Is it worth to pay 6 USD or more for 2 pounds of tomatoes? What does the farmer get? are the costs these executives let us believe real?

    I have sympathy with the normal hard working people, just happy they make it every month, and now most likely to be laid of. Sad, but that is the world we live in.

    September 18, 2008 at 7:05 am |
  42. Cristian

    The world economies have allowed too much financial speculation, and now everything crumbles. Financial organizations have gained billion dollar profits without delivering real value to society, on the contrary, by being a tremendous burden to all us ants that ever dealt with them.

    I can't say I feel sorry. Money should be seen as what they really are – small pieces of paper or plastic. Printing more may build you an empire, but it will be made of paper.

    September 18, 2008 at 8:09 am |
  43. frank

    Now the greedy ones have jumped on oil and gold now.
    Hoping to make a killing down the road. The oil and gold price are rising rapidly.They are claiming that gold and oil are safe investments.Really?Oil? In the end someone else is going to be left holding the bag, while everyone who jumped on the gold wagon early is gonna make a profit.
    While the prise of gold is rising, someone is selling and making a lot of money.Those who are buying are hoping for a higher price down the line.Those who sell on time will make a profit, maybe even cover their losses in lehman or on of the others. The last guy who buys the gold before the prices declines will be the big looser,the idiot ,the bad investor.He will be forced to hold on to the gold untill the next price rice or he will accept his losses and sell cheap to the same guys who sold high in the first place.The cycle is then complete.These guys can afford to sit on the gold and wait for the next crisis.

    September 18, 2008 at 8:31 am |
  44. sebastian

    @franko

    What a statement:

    "From 1980 to 2006 the income tax burden paid by the top 5% Income producers in the U. S. has increased fro 36.84% to 60.14% of the total U.S. income tax burden."

    This is not due to the fact that the tax rate hase risen for those top 5%, but due to the fact that their relative income has been on the steep rise for centuries, meanwhile the income of ordinary US working class people fell.

    Thus if the income of the top 5% grows manyfold, meanwhile the rest of the population has moderately increasing incomes, of yourse the %share of total income tax paid by those 5% rises too. The question is, what do they do to have such income. After all, usually they build their wealth on the work of thousands of others, who earn less and less each year....

    You might want to understand the numbers, before you produce them as evidence for your poor conclusions.

    2nd very poor statement:

    "Most IPOs have been moved from the U.S. to Europe because of the U.S. Sarbanes Oxley financial reporting laws and regulations enacted in 2002. With the Investor class keeping less than 50% of every dividend earned, what U.S. Individual invest will invest in U.S. corporations that pay the second highest tax rate and are the most regulated in the world???"

    Every company doing business in the US has to consider most aspects of SOX (Sarbanes Oxley) and need to invest heavily to be compliant. So there is no big advantage to go to Europe.

    Divident tax, currently at 15% in the US, will be at 25% in Europe from 2009 onwards, through the new "Withholding Tax".

    On top of that, income tax is higher in almost every European country. So yes there is a case to invest in the US if it comes down to numbers.

    Why wouldn't people want to invest in the US?
    Because of failed policies?

    - An unstable economy
    - Overboarding budget deficit (Coming from a surplus after the Clinton administration by the way)
    - Incredibly high deficit in the balance of trade (-70bn in August alone)
    - Rising inflation
    - etc.

    Why risk your money in a country that has been battered economically over the past 8 years?

    So "franko", do the maths again and come up with new truelly enlightening arguments....

    September 18, 2008 at 9:06 am |
  45. john doe

    hey guys with all due respect global financial exploitation needed a comeuppance but sadly always the majority salaried normal men will suffer.cream of the crop have accumulated soo much money, I guess their 6th generation grand children will be OK if they never work.There's something wrong with this 'forget producing, hedge and swap your way to heaven' mentality and believe me this money for only few policy is even worse in undeveloped or so called developing countries.salaries are very low,only a handful of managerial or boss favorites make money.this is a dicey situation for all but I believe financial authorities and bosses US and Britain especially should monitor and please regulate the finance mess.

    September 18, 2008 at 10:38 am |
  46. Greg Atkinson

    It is funny how we always blame someone else when things go wrong in the markets. The people responsible for the latest market turmoil is all of us!

    We all seek higher returns and this market demand drives investment banks etc to seek ways to satisfy our demand.

    The banks may have made getting credit a little too easy for some people, but at the end of the day it was up to an indvidual to decide if he or she wanted a loan or to take on debt. Nobody was holding a gun to thier heads and saying sign here.

    We were all happy going along for the ride when things were good, so we need to all take some blame when things go off the rails.

    Looking to blame the bankers etc to cover our own guilt does not solve anything.

    Greg Atkinson
    http://www.shareswatch.com.au/blog/

    September 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  47. Osman Bux

    If you count the cost of all those executive jets, prostitutes, unnecessary travel expenses and per diems, executive retreats, lavish advertising budgets, preposterous executive bonuses and salaries, etc. etc. etc. it probably amounts to more than what they needed for their bail-outs. And, the funny thing is that these expenses are paid for by the poor sods who invest in, and fuel these unscrupulous wealth raping machines. The investors themselves are to blame for the status quo. At them, I blatantly laugh my ass off at their losses. Ha!

    Companies (and the executives that run them) that build their wealth from other peoples money should be HEAVILY regulated. This should include company expenditure and limitations to individual profiteering, unless of course these same fat cats have all their own money floating around on their own ships. At least that way these 'captains' would steer a more safe course and not put their passengers at risk of being on the proverbial titanic. The sad thing really is that these trading pukes are allowed to gamble recklessly with OTHER PEOPLES money, and when they win, they get the lions share of the profits, but when they lose it's the poor suckers who gave them the money to gamble with that take all the loss.

    I think that it's only fair that every element involved with these companies should suffer when they fail, from the top all the way down. As another comment suggested, the executives should be stripped of their wealth when these companies go down. Regulation should see to that. In fact they should all go to jail and rot.

    Seriously, if you want to invest your money, buy commodities, not worthless paper. That way these unscrupulous investment banks would not exist.

    Who the F$$$ invented this system anyway?

    September 18, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  48. cliff

    On second thoughts:

    How about if all the deposed senior and middle managers, (whose carelessness, greed, and irresponsibility caused the chaos), are 'persuaded' (they would feel a moral obligation if they had any ethics or scruples) to donate their golden parachutes and last year's bonuses to a fund to help the needy; i.e. all the service and support staff, such as cleaners and security guards, who have lost their jobs and are completely blameless for this obscene financial debacle.........everyone knew they had it coming, so why didn't the lazy bureaucratic megappotamus DO SOMETHING........?*?*?*?!!!!

    September 19, 2008 at 4:00 am |
  49. Patty

    In response to Lester in Alabama
    First Barrack had no vote on the Iraq war since he was not in the Senate yet and he probably would of voted with the majority of his party
    at the time to go to war. He was campaigning in Chicago at the time
    he said this and his biggest contributer said he had to take that position-so we really do not know how he would of voted. My quess is he would of voted for it since most democrats at the time did vote for it
    and he has never voted against his party. You have to remember a majority of Americans thought it was the right thing to do – go to war. The problem with the war was how it was fought. John Mccain fought with Rumsfield time and time again-I think he even called for his resignation. He had the insight on how to start winning this thing and so far he has been right. Now for the economyI would like everyone to google the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005
    John Mccain was co-sponsor of this bill but I guess it never got to vote. Where was Senator Obama. John Mccain had it right. If this bill has passed Freddie and Fannie would not of ben able to buy up tthese sub-prime loans and therefore would of stopped that nonsense. I have asked CNN to do some stories on this and start asking congress why this was not implimented. I hope they start doing there job and report things we need to know as Americans.
    I also know Mccain Tax plan is the the best for this economy. Businesses will be taxed higher whether you are a small business with just a couple of emplyees or a large business. When a business has a larger tax bill they will either eliminate jobs or prices will increase and that hurts everyone.

    September 19, 2008 at 8:43 am |
  50. Michael erickson

    The NEW Bank(s) – The NEW Hidden TAX...

    The NEW Bank(s) – The NEW Hidden TAX...with all the hoopla over the failing banks the government has found a way to create a new hidden tax on us that is beyond realization. Just think the bailouts of banking institutions have reached an all time high beyond normal people’s comprehension.

    And then there is the salvation of A.I.G. (American Investment Group) who is not really a bank in the truest sense of the word, but they do have a great deal more impact on all of our lives than most can even understand.

    Just think, the government now owns 80% of A.I.G. after “loaning” them some 80 Billion Dollars at a very “SWEET” interest rate to be paid back when? In other words the “government” stands to make a LOT of money. In the meantime you, others, and I have paid the premiums on such things as home mortgages, car insurance, health insurance, etc., well you get the idea! Not only are these necessary items in our day-to-day lives, but also this amounts to nothing more than a new TAX again at OUR expense.

    Worse, is that the people who run these companies are getting paid huge amounts of money for their ill management of our invested funds. The economy is in such disarray that I doubt that we will ever get to the bottom of this in our lifetimes. If this were not bad enough the two parties running for national office want us to believe that they have the answers for the problems that THEY have created.

    One has to ask why it is that JOE citizen is putting up with this. Voters need to be asking themselves just who can grasp the realization that this crap needs to be stopped. If it comes down to letting these companies fail then so be it. We cannot continue to keep bailing out the companies that who have disregarded the rules of good economic practices. If they (the government) insist on these tactics then it is high time that they also pay to bail out YOU and me. After all isn’t that what we should expect?

    To continue to keep putting lipstick on this pig is not acceptable nor should it be tolerated!

    September 19, 2008 at 10:04 am |
  51. Leonardo V. M. Ramos

    Actually the global financial market crisis is not an economic or finance source, it's an ethical crisis that begun with Enron case, where not just Enron executives were involved but executives of several companies and banks.
    It is at least irresponsible position when you create a system based on huge liquidity without considering an low liquidity possibility and giving as guarantee a title many times in the interbanking system.
    Wouldn't be a problem if you showed in your finance demonstration that you have high risk assets values, but once when you hide this risk and show only the assets value as if all was of one kind; there's a lack of transparency here! And the thing is, nobody was worried about this because it was making money; that's the point, ethic is just a detail when we talk about making money?

    September 19, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  52. Patty

    I just heard Jim Craemer say SEC chairman should be fired and Up-tick rule needs to be put back in regulations. John Mccain said the same thing in hi speech yesterday.

    September 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  53. Bill

    That some CEOs, company presidents, stock brokers and account executives will get pink slips is all well and good. However, what "they" have done, to put their companies, employees, taxpayers and shareholders at risk is criminal. These individuals are smart, calculating people. They knew years ago, when they first started marketing the subprime products, that they were building a house of cards. I personally know that some of them were warned. They chose to do it anyway out of greed because they would make a lot money personally. This was not a case of bad luck or unforseen results. Now everyone else is left to pick up the pieces, and they still get to keep the money they recieved in the process.

    I want to see these individuals prosecuted on a massive scale. I want to see jail time, massive fines and property confiscation imposed on the executives in charge. Only then will we begin to get a better class of competent, thoughtfull people in charge of the companies we all depend on.

    Bill

    September 19, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  54. DJ Beer

    Government is missing another huge problem – Taxpayer credit card debt!

    If we taxpayers are going to bail out banks, then government should force banks to lower credit card interest rates to under 5% (preferably 0%) as a condition of the free loan bailout of banks by taxpayers!

    September 19, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  55. Peter de Lepervanche Brisbane Australia

    The Robber Barons of earlier days obviously came back to weave their magic again. This time they were aided by the Ratings Agencies.

    Plenty of what went on breached numerous obligations, many of them legal, so it remains to be seen how the governments punish these rogues, if at all.

    Lack of full disclosure is the central sin. No one disclosed that the schemes were anchored on such low class borrowers.

    These US Bankers have hurt the world more than any Talliban radical.

    Cheers

    Peter from Brisbane –Australia

    September 20, 2008 at 12:55 am |
  56. Bill Koch

    CNN and all the new organizations are missing a point - that it takes two to make a loan...a lender and a borrower. The borrowers in the hot markets, CA, AZ, FL, NV are just as responsible for this mess. They GAMBLED that their houses would go up in value and they could refinance. When the oil price hike hit along with higher interest rates, new buyers could not afford loans and house prices began falling, because the Ponsi scheme fell apart. When house prices began falling, people started walking from their mortgages.

    I say to the banks, go after those who signed a loan and have the borrower repay. Why should I, a homeowner in the rust belt, pay for the overheated excesses in the CA, AZ, FL and NV. Many of those borrowers financed lifestyles they could not afford based on assumed increases in house value. Now, it's time for them to pay for their excesses.

    September 20, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  57. Brent

    I can't wait to see what add-ons members of Congress from both parties will attach to this bailout bill! I hope CNN will investigate and monitor how many pork projects will be added to this ridiculous “bailout” scheme. From where I stand it looks like it’s another “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” scenario. This money will evaporate into thin air and end up lining the pockets of the well heeled. This is a tax on every citizen of the USA for the careless actions of millionaires who run the country and big business. I can’t help believe there is some kind of deep conspiracy at work. I really believe that they have figured out that the average guy is a fool and for proof look no further than the nomination of Sarah Palin!

    September 22, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  58. AL

    I do not have any sympathy for the 'ibankers' and they should be made to pay back their bonuses and forfeit severance packages.These individuals are one of the most arrogant people on the planet with their 'know it all' attitude.The sad thing is at the most they can be fired from their jobs under current rules and contracts and not face legal prosecution.The bailout should take place by recovering money from these individuals and many of these have even flown the coop to other markets like Hongkong, Dubai and Mumbai, where they should be tracked down and prosecuted.No bailout at the cost of taxpayers money. The future compensation of the 'survivors' should be monitored by the US regulators.There should not be any fear of this undermining the quality of ibankers because we have already seen last week what the 'best of the best' have achieved so far.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:39 am |
  59. Chris Hoskins

    Just watched on CNN the big wigs saying bailing out the companies is protection for the people. Wrong, that’s protection of the companies. Protection of the people would be let the companies who earned it fail, and may slow down a repeat. Protecting the people who lose their jobs/savings/homes should be better support from their government in the hardship that would be sure to affect many. Invest the money, time and focus on how to help the people affected become self-sustaining again. How to, that’s something I thought the politicians were being paid to sort out. Better unemployment? Probably not, though maybe a temporary special money assistance? Temporary housing? Support in founding a local business? Or maybe training/schooling for a new job possibility? That in my eyes would be protecting the people. How the government assists the people, the politicians should work out.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  60. Linda Drews

    The Republicans are going to shove their bailout plan down our throats with scare tactics just like they did with the the Iraq war.

    September 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm |

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