Earlier this year, Bloomberg calculated that the top 10 U.S. banks receive a $83 billion a year in subsidies from the government, due to their cheap cost of funding & the preferential treatment creditors give them because they assume the government sees them as TBTF.
In November, a NYT analysis of a Johnson Associates survey found that the top eight U.S. banks set aside $91.44 billion for bonuses in 2013.
This absurd amount in bonuses, given the subsidy banks get, is even MORE absurd when you think through all the OTHER ways they profited this year do to criminal activities. (See my roundup of SOME of the 2013 bank crimes, and my top three worst offenses). And the fact that 10 million people were displaced from their homes during the foreclosure crisis—as many as live in the entire state of Michigan!
But what could banks do with that money instead?
They could give those bonuses back to the people they made homeless.
Another idea, from Charles Cuff, is to divide that money up among the 46.5 million people living in poverty (as reported in the 2012 Census). $91.44 billion dollars would give each of them nearly $2,000.
Now, some may ask, “Don’t banks give money to charity?” They sure want you to think so.Goldman made a big show in the NYT about its charitable donations ($241.3 million)—which employees COMPLAINED about. But Goldman set aside $10.4 billion for bonuses in the first 9 months. So their charitable giving is 2.3% of the amount they will pay out in bonuses…to employees who make BASE salaries in the $150-$250K range.
See NYTimes, “The Charitable-Giving Divide”