Chancellor Osborne was quick to visit the bureaucrats in Brussels when a cap on bankers' bonuses was imminent. PM David Cameron fought the cap all the way. Is that because banking is crucial to the British economy or because fat cat Tory supporters want their pound of flesh? Is it because Cameron too is too close to Goldman Sachs?
A few high-profile links to Goldman Sachs in 2012 were reported as "The head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi a former high-ranking executive of Goldman Sachs, Mario Monti the technocrat Prime Minister of Italy was an international adviser to Goldman Sachs, Lucas Papademos the PM of Greece was a top man in the European Central Bank and manoeuvred Greece into the Euro, Michael Hintze a billionaire of a hedge-fund worked for Goldman Sachs in several senior roles but he is also the number one financial backer to the UK Conservative Party. But the list goes on and on.
Gavin Davies previously held a position as head of the economics at Goldman Sachs and is a donor to the Labour Party. His wife worked for Gordon Brown. Samantha Cameron wife of David Cameron worked for Goldman Sachs executive Mike Sherwood after he led a buy-out consortium in 2005. Former Goldman partner Sebastian Gregg is a confidant of Prime Minister Cameron. Their friendship started at Eton and continued at Oxford University both being part of the infamous Bullingdon Club.
Ex-Goldman chairman Richard Sharp was one of four City figures employed by Chancellor George Osborne to start the brutal austerity drive of the Treasury."
The British government opposed the EU bonus cap but has since dropped the matter. "The cap limits a bonus to no more than the employee's fixed salary or double that if shareholders specifically agree" and there lies the rub. Salaries can simply be set higher and shareholders can authorise big pay-outs.
The government maintains high cash incentives attract the best workers but the track record of bankers shows that is meaningless.
As the same government represses wages in the public sector, including health, we are left to conclude banking work is more important to the Tories than saving lives.
"The TUC's General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: "It is time that their pay came out of the stratosphere and back to planet earth" but Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the BBC report.
But why would they bother to comment when they have the system sewn up, at least for now?
Goldman Sachs and the mystery of ‘revolving door’ bonuses -- Why are banks giving out bonuses to execs who leave to work for the government? Shareholders at several banks will vote on proposals that would allow them to determine the details behind the bonus plans.
Would you prefer bankers to be doing “God’s work,”—how Lloyd Blankfein described the role of banks in 2009—or the government’s? And if a banker does government work, is he also, somehow, doing God’s work, and therefore deserves celestial pay?