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Chump Change…chumps, change?

goldcoinsEarlier this week, Governor Paterson announced his new budget for New York State and in case you’ve had your head in the sand as a result of the crappyass news coming out of Massachusetts or the even worse news coming out of the Supreme Court, the budget numbers are brutal. Brutal in their bigness, brutal in what it’s going to mean for those of us who live here and don’t work for Goldman Sachs (but more about that later).

One of Paterson’s cost-saving proposals cuts 1.1 billion dollars from the education budget, which comes to about $405 million dollars for NYC public schools.

400 million. Gosh. That’s a lot of school lunches, school aides, new teachers, library books, science equipment…heck, for 400 million dollars you could build whole freakin buildings. Lots of them.  But I guess cost-saving measures are best enacted on the backs of those who can’t really fight back, right?

Perhaps we should look at it differently. You know, really? 400 million? That’s nothing. Chump change. Just a little mad money to tuck in your bra before you go clubbing, in case you need to make a mad dash for the first class lounge at British Airways.

Chump change, that is, if you work at Goldman Sachs, which just announced  that is setting aside a mere 16 billion dollars for the bonus pool this year. According to the story in the NYTimes, if that money were spread evenly among the 37,000 employees, each would take home about 400,000.  That won’t happen, though, because of course if everyone were to benefit equally from the company’s record-setting profits, that would be, gosh, socialism or something. And that would be bad.

Nope, only the “top producers” will see the big big numbers in their bonus envelope, while the lowly folks who do the crap like answer the phones and swab the terlets and keep the calendars and fix the computers and patrol the hallways, they will get a lot less. They make less to start with of course, and they don’t live in Greenwich, and probably their kids go to public school.

Which brings me to my point. If Goldman Sachs used its bonus pool to cover just the cost of what’s being cut from the NYC public school budget, GS would still have fifteen billion five hundred and nintey-five million dollars.

(Do you know that to do that substraction problem, I had to use the computer’s calculator? Mine couldn’t handle all those zeroes.)

There it is:  Goldman Sachs could cover the budget cuts to the public schools and keep FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS in their coffers. That’s a lot of mad money, if you ask me. (And believe it or not, GS employees are peeved that the bonus pool is so low this year. Truly, have these people sold their souls?  Or rather, it’s clear they have sold their souls, but what the hell is the going rate for a soul these days?)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if that would happen? If the “big producers” at Goldman could decide, gosh, let’s do something for the city where we work, for the not-rich people who work for us–hell, let’s do something just to be nice.

Never gonna happen. Scott Brown will start voting with John Kerrey before Goldman et al start acting in any way other than devoted self-interest.

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One Response to Chump Change…chumps, change?

  1. Dick Horwich January 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    One of the best ideas I’ve heard about the budgetary problems (and one of the least likely to be implemented).

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