Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, January 20, 2014

Sam Polk, a former hedge-fund trader: In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million -- and I was angry because it wasn't big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. Eight years earlier, I'd walked onto the trading floor at Credit Suisse First Boston to begin my summer internship. I already knew I wanted to be rich, but when I started out I had a different idea about what wealth meant. I'd come to Wall Street after reading in the book Liar's Poker how Michael Lewis earned a $225,000 bonus after just two years of work on a trading floor. That seemed like a fortune. Every January and February, I think about that time, because these are the months when bonuses are decided and distributed, when fortunes are made.

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DRJIMMIES

 

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I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn't fair; that wasn't right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn't really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. What had seemed normal now seemed deeply distorted. ...

Dozens of different types of 12-step support groups -- including Clutterers Anonymous and On-Line Gamers Anonymous -- exist to help addicts of various types, yet there is no Wealth Addicts Anonymous. Why not? Because our culture supports and even lauds the addiction. Look at the magazine covers in any newsstand, plastered with the faces of celebrities and CEO's; the superrich are our cultural gods. I hope we all confront our part in enabling wealth addicts to exert so much influence over our country.

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Gordon Gekko Greed is Good

#1 | Posted by paneocon at 2014-01-20 02:17 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn't really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist."

Probably the most telling statement in the article. The myth that people who make these huge salaries because they are 'producers' doesn't hold up to any scrutiny at all. Some of the least productive (or even destructive) careers pay the best.

#2 | Posted by Sully at 2014-01-20 02:29 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I see this all the time with my friends. The money isn't given to those who are the most valuable in society. They money doesn't make them happy. The money is never enough. Nothing is enough.

#3 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-01-20 03:07 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I love money and can definitely say I can not get enough.

#4 | Posted by MSgt at 2014-01-20 05:55 PM | Reply | Flag:

yet there is no Wealth Addicts Anonymous. Why not?

Because liberal policies are in place to ensure no one becomes wealthy.

Stupid article.

#5 | Posted by boaz at 2014-01-20 06:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

Poor Boaz, thinks he would be wealthy if it wasn't for those dang liberals.

#6 | Posted by bored at 2014-01-20 09:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

liberal policies are in place to ensure no one becomes wealthy.

No one is wealthy?

Boaz, put down the stupid pills for one day.

#7 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-01-20 09:35 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Boaz also thinks liberals cause flat tires and broken shoe laces.

#8 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-20 09:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

My bad... "boot" laces. Only liberals wear "shoes".

#9 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-20 09:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

Because liberal policies are in place to ensure no one becomes wealthy.

Stupid article.

#5 | Posted by boaz

You are straight-up stupid.

Are you sure you don't want to blame this on the gays and then go in your bedroom to fantasize about tom selleck in the 80s?

#10 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-01-20 09:47 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"..yet there is no Wealth Addicts Anonymous. Why not?"

Because 'wealth addiction' is not in the statistical abstract. Neither is 'homophobia'.
Just so you might not incur the wrath of a liberal science worshiper, Drjimmies. They have no mercy, allegedly, for people who make statements outside their doctrine.

#11 | Posted by Diablo at 2014-01-20 11:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

"my bonus was $3.6 million -- and I was angry because it wasn't big enough. I was 30 years old"

I was going to mock her but if true that does sound like insanity.

#12 | Posted by Tor at 2014-01-20 11:36 PM | Reply | Flag:

Ah yes, one more angle on the income inequality issue, those that make lots of money or are wealthy have some sort of sickness, and they get that income for no reason.....

This is almost formula in its implementation, pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it......

But this is the best part of his rules......Never go outside the expertise of your people.

Here is a question for you liberals that hate greedy corporations, if corporations are so evil why do they pay these people soo much, I mean if they don't do anything for anyone? If they are so greedy why do they give bonuses that are sooooo large? Why not just keep it for themselves?

#13 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-01-21 12:03 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

#7 | Posted by ClownShack
"put down the stupid pills for one day."

Speaking of addiction...

#14 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-01-21 12:05 AM | Reply | Flag:

I can not get enough.

#4 | POSTED BY MSGT AT 2014-01-20 05:55 PM | FLAG:

That's exactly the point. You can't. You won't.

#15 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-01-21 12:05 AM | Reply | Flag:

Here is a question for you liberals that hate greedy corporations, if corporations are so evil why do they pay these people soo much, I mean if they don't do anything for anyone? If they are so greedy why do they give bonuses that are sooooo large? Why not just keep it for themselves?

#13 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS AT 2014-01-21 12:03 AM | REPLY | FLAG:

That's cute.

#16 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-01-21 12:07 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

How much will Rcade pay me to leave this website? I want money to fail like this guy.

#17 | Posted by Diablo at 2014-01-21 01:13 AM | Reply | Flag:

Lol he should be angry. A good hedgie earns 100 million with a good year!

#18 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-21 08:08 AM | Reply | Flag:

I call it millionaires disease.

You make one, you need two. Then four, then eight, then 16, them 32 mill, etc.

You focus only on more millions. And you lose sight of everything else. And on the way you lose friends, family, health...and finally the money......because you never had enough. I personally know someone who blew up at 36 million. One bad deal in mbs blew him up. He was an ----- and many of those he burned on the way up celebrated his demise. I think he may have gotten a Fed vacation too!

#19 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-21 08:14 AM | Reply | Flag:

It was s really bad tranche!!!

#20 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-21 08:15 AM | Reply | Flag:

The guy speaks a lot of truth. The problem in this country is mis-allocation of capital. The foundation of all of our ills along with mis-allocation of capital is the Federal Reserve. When you have unsound money being printed without control, it often goes to the corrupt and those that bring no true value to society. It compromises production of real value and the free enterprise system. It creates a 2 class society with the destruction of the middle class. It produces total corruption in financial circles along with the elite political class. We have become what we are because we didn't listen to the framers of the constitution but instead to "do-gooders" with a relative value system.

#21 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-21 09:09 AM | Reply | Flag:

#21

I think you have a misunderstanding of the framers position on this. It seems they thought the culprit was accumulation of inherited wealth (you know, like they had in England).

If there was one thing the Revolutionary generation agreed on -- and those guys who dress up like them at Tea Party conventions most definitely do not -- it was the incompatibility of democracy and inherited wealth.

With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property. Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed in his own words), "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural." Smith said: "There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death."
www.economist.com

#22 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-01-21 11:23 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#22 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-01-21 11:23 AM | Reply |

You validate my point. They believed in silver/gold as legal tender and not the perpetual printing of fiat money which destroys the wealth of the many and enriches only the very few. It also steals from those who work hard for what they acquire and often rewards the irresponsible and corrupt. It doesn't reward legitimate creativity and value production but allows the perverse and "hangers-on" to benefit at expense of honest/responsible. I also agree that only minimal amounts of wealth should be allowed to be passed on in perpetuity. If not, it allows the dynasty of madness to be fostered on nations such as the Bushes, the Kennedys and the Clintons.

#23 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-21 11:33 AM | Reply | Flag:


#23 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-21 11:33 AM

Your assertion that abandoning the gold standard is the reason for wealth inequality is absurd. The gold standard didn't stand in the way of the Gilded age of the early 20th century.
I see you haven't given up in using the retort to try to increase the value of your metal holdings through baseless fear mongering. Get help.

#24 | Posted by DRJIMMIES at 2014-01-21 01:11 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

If not, it allows the dynasty of madness to be fostered on nations such as the Bushes, the Kennedys and the Clintons.

#23 | POSTED BY MATSOP

I'm less concerned about their wealth than that of say, the Koch brothers or the Walton heirs, who own more wealth than 100 million "ordinary" Americans.

In other news, it was reported that 85 people own more wealth than 3.5 billion "ordinary humans". Is it really possible that anyone is really that much more valuable than everybody else? That much more "hard working", that much "smarter"? Or maybe they're just a lot more ruthless than healthy human beings.

#25 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-01-21 03:00 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Lol, classic. So now wealth creators are the problem? The bill gates, Warren Buffetts, and Carlos slimms of the world add value. Same with the Kochs and Waltons.

Wealth is earned, not distributed. How would you gentlemen propose growing the economy? Growth, or redistribution??

#26 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-21 05:21 PM | Reply | Flag:

How the h*** can 87 people earn half the wealth of the entire f****** planet?

#27 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-01-21 06:53 PM | Reply | Flag:

I advocate the execution of any worth more than $100,000,000. (It's a good round number.) Or in the alternative, stripping them of all their wealth above that number.

#28 | Posted by moder8 at 2014-01-21 07:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

That was a HORRIBLE article, not worth the electrons used to create it.

Complete and total bunk.

#29 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-21 07:50 PM | Reply | Flag:

Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation, as the McDonald's C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary.

These people do not create jobs or new wealth. They are on the winning side of a zero sum game which transfers wealth from your pocket to their pocket. Many just feed on other people's hard earned savings. All the while their taxes trend down.

wavey davey doesn't get it because his paycheck might suffer or dreams vaporize if this problem were fixed.

#30 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-21 11:18 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

30 What unmitigated bull crap. You cross from 'these people' to CEO and back again offering ZERO alternatives. You get upset at 12 million, when Zukenberg is netting 19 billion. I would say your anger and class envy is worthless class warfare.

I asked you scholars here, how would you create jobs? The left here has not offered ONE IDEA on how to create a job. Just more hating. Redistribution is what your demanding. Is that going to create jobs?

#31 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-22 07:44 AM | Reply | Flag:

"These people do not create jobs or new wealth. They are on the winning side of a zero sum game which transfers wealth from your pocket to their pocket. Many just feed on other people's hard earned savings."

This is a completely false narrative.Primarily because wealth creation is not a zero sum game. And any money being transferred from one person to another is completely voluntary. Unless, of course, you count the welfare bailouts. Both kinds.

Bankers, especially those in investment banking, funds management, and venture capital, don't just create jobs. They create entire industries. By provding the funding for them. And what's more important than the fact that they are gtting rich is that they are making others rich in the process. Retirees, entrepreneurs, investors, and so on. They are needed. But sometimes they fail. and when they fail, thier clients lose money. Unless the government comes in and bails them out.

I don't believe the author is a wealth addict. He is a success addict. For people who grew up without money, wealth is probably the best indicator of social value. being paid a lot of money indicates that you are providing a service that is rarer and more unique than those provided by the average man-on-the-street. It's not unlike men who have sex with numerous partners. Not because they need to have sex, but because they can do something that few other men are able to accomplish. They do it because they can, and others can't.

People who grew up rich don't have this problem. Money is always a given, so the accumulation of additional wealth doesn't serve as positive societal feedback. They don't understand the concept of wealth being created or money being earned. Which is why they tend to gravitate to politics, because the accumluation of power provides the same sort of positive feedback as the accumulation of wealth.

#32 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-22 08:52 AM | Reply | Flag:

"I asked you scholars here, how would you create jobs? The left here has not offered ONE IDEA on how to create a job. Just more hating. Redistribution is what your demanding. Is that going to create jobs?"

It's going to buy votes. Which at the end of the day is going to serve the larger purpose of trnaferring control of created wealth from those who created to the government. In theory, this would be done for the benefit of the 99%-or whoever. But it also makes the government the ultimate plantation owner.

There are three problems with "job creation." First, there has to be a job available. Currently, there are plenty of jobs. Second, the worker must posess the skill necessary to do that job. We're short here. Wages for skilled workers continue to rise. We're importing skilled labor because we don't currently have enough locally. And you can't just arbitrarily make someone a skilled laborer. They have to want to do it. And if they don't, there's nothing can be done about it.

And if you're an authoritarian, do you really want a self sufficient society? Isn't it a hell of a lot easier to leverage control over a society that is dependant on you for day-to-day survivial?

#33 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-22 08:58 AM | Reply | Flag:

WaveyDavey,

The problem of short term profits driving CEO bonuses is huge. This leads to playing games with the stockmarket, buybacks, layoffs, flipping subsidiaries for no other reason than to maximize a bonus. The only solution I can see is to link their bonuses to long term performance, such as 10-20 year windows. In the meantime they can live on their salaries. The stock market adds no real wealth to our nation. It creates no new jobs, except for those working inside. It is a system of bleeding wealth from the real producers in farming, manufacturing, construction and mining.

Reforming the tax code back to a progressive system and effectively clamping down on tax cheats like Marc Rich will do more for balancing the budget than cutting "entitlements". Rich was once the largest tax fraud case in the history of the United States involving hundreds of millions of dollars, until he gave $1 million to the Democratic Party through Clinton. Helluva deal. Rich and his partner bought the largest copper mine in the world from Zambia for pennies on the dollar. His partner pocketed $8 billion when that stock went public. The Copper Company now takes $60 billion a year out of Zambia by moving the sale artificially to a tax free country before making any profit leaving Zambia with $50 million a year in income from the mine and an average wage of $900 a year. Is this the kind of "redistribution" you prefer? It dwarfs all the right wing whining over "entitlements".

Restricting Capital flight will go a long way to preventing tax cheating by the superrich. This forces them to invest in their own country as well, which can create jobs. It is an essential requirement and assumption in mutually beneficial free trade.

The only way to make Corporations serve humanity instead of the other way around is for Government to step in and write regulations which promote the general welfare. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is deliberately designed to do exactly the opposite, as are all the free trade agreements promoted by the USA. Their scope must be curtailed.

#34 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-22 11:39 AM | Reply | Flag:

I advocate the execution of any worth more than $100,000,000. (It's a good round number.) Or in the alternative, stripping them of all their wealth above that number.

#28 | POSTED BY MODER8

This coming from the lawyer who advocates letting pedophiles loose on technicalities.

#35 | Posted by DixvilleNotch at 2014-01-22 12:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

"The only way to make Corporations serve humanity instead of the other way around is for Government to step in and write regulations which promote the general welfare."

???

The role of a corporation, or any other business for that matter, is to serve it's customers. And in that way they are serving society. And it's odd that you target corporations, because under any measure you can't force a corporation to do anything, only the people who make up that corporation. And if you are going to demand a role that goes above and beyond simply doing that which society asks of them, are you going to demand anything else from anyone else.

What you are describing is fascism in it's purest, most unadulterated form. A society where government dictates how people will behave, for the good of the kollektiv. And without regard for the will or desired of the individual. It's authoritarian. And that's OK, but you need to be honest about it. And understand that, while in some instances the government may enact authoritarian policies you support, they are equally free to enact those that would remove your freedom or put you in a disadvantageous position.

"This coming from the lawyer who advocates letting pedophiles loose on technicalities."

It's not very moderate either...

#37 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-22 02:54 PM | Reply | Flag:

A society where government regulates how people will behave, for the good of the kollektiv.

FTFY as there is a big difference.

#38 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-01-22 02:57 PM | Reply | Flag:

I advocate the execution of any worth more than $100,000,000. (It's a good round number.) Or in the alternative, stripping them of all their wealth above that number.

#28 | POSTED BY MODER8

I advocate that you attend Jealousy Therepy.

#39 | Posted by wisgod at 2014-01-22 03:26 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

"FTFY as there is a big difference."

Semantics. And no difference.

Regulation: a law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority, especially to regulate conduct.

You'll need to explain the difference. Because I don't see one. Can't find one in the dictionary. Governments use regulations to dictate how society will behave.

#40 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-22 03:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

Big ideas!! So where are your big ideas regarding job creation? I find it quite telling you haven't offered a single idea MB!

#41 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-22 05:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

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