Jose Manuel Barroso, former Portuguese PM, but most of us would have known him as the top dog / EU Commission President from 2004 to 2014. In this period he oversaw and orchestrated the greatest bailout of the banking industry ever and then to finance this massive bailout a European wide programme of Austerity was visited upon all of us.
Some have described this whole exercise as one in which “profits were privatised and losses socialised”. The bankers walked away with huge bonuses based on banking profits (profits privatised) but when they free and easy banking casino activity resulted in Massive bank losses, the taxpayers of Europe had to pay (losses socialised)
Well, he is in the news now because since retiring he has taken up a new job with Goldman Sachs !!! The exclamation marks are significant because this is one of the really big players in the banking world who made huge profits in the lead up to the 2008 crisis and continues to make huge profits. Many MEPs and heads of EU governments have spoken out strongly against him taking up this job, especially with this bank. But theres not much they can do. Juncker, current Commission & some legal advisors have said that should he “ethically compromise” himself he may be in danger of loosing his 15,000 / month EU pension. When is the last time you ever heard of a banker “ethically compromising” himself? I have a feeling Barroso will continue to enjoy his peanuts of a pension, peanuts when compared with what Goldman boys get paid.
The 2nd Bank story is really a joke if it wasn’t true. Wells Fargo, perhaps the biggest bank in USA were found to have been generating fake accounts over the last years, not just a few TWO Million including 500,000 fake credit card accounts ! Its Business Development Division took its responsibilities just a little too literally.
Well, they were caught and “severely punished” (not my words) by being fined a little over $185 Million. That may be a lot of money to you & me, but in 2015 Wells Fargo’s accounts show that it made $21 Billion Profits, so the pittance of a fine was about 0.01% of one years profit. Not even a slap on the wrist.
The bank though did take it all seriously enough to fire about 5,000 over-enthusiastic employees who had been encouraged to develop the bank’s business. The main “encourager” over a number of years was an executive called Carrie Tolstedt, most of the fired people came from divisions which she had headed up. But Carrie(56) was one of the in-crowd, well she must have been, because instead of getting fired she decided a few months ago to leave the bank after 27 years, and her “severance package”? wait for it.. was $125,000,000, 125 Million! Perhaps this was to make up for the fact that her final year’s salary was only $1.7 Million.
As an aside and by comparison with Carrie’s situation, now that she is getting on towards retirement, lets see what’s available for the elderly. A Social Security Check in USA is what we’d call in Europe your pension after having worked for 35/40 years. It varies depending on years of work and salary, but it comes in at between $8,500 & $21,600 per year (Average about $16,000) Recent figures published by the Dept of Soc Security showed that for 65% of the elderly this payment represented more than 50% of their total income, and that for 25%, 1 in 4, of USA elderly this Soc Security check was 100% of their income. Its an ill divided old world we live in.