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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Matt Yglesias writes

There’s so much insanity in this piece about financiers whining about how everyone hates them that it’s hard to know what to pick out. I’ll just say this. Of all the things these guys don’t “get” — and there are a lot of them

Heh indeed. They don't get it or this or that or the other thing. Let me count the ways.

1. Many people (including Yglesias and me) think it would be very good for society if smart people got out of finance. They can be very productive. The fact that they are very smart and work in finance is a social cost of finance. This is a very widespread view. A thing that stunned me was the article in Business Week (or Fortune maybe) which celebrated wonderful MBAs who were public spirited enough to actually manage manufacturing corporations rather than selling out for the big Wall Street bucks. When MBAs who manage make the cover of a magazine, something strange is going on.

2. No one who doesn't believe in the tooth fairy believes in banks' balance sheets or profit and loss statements. "My bonus is justified because my desk generated profits" is like "My bonus is justified because my desk is the round table and my spitoon is the holy grail." Even people who aren't as smart as you aren't total idiots.

3. I know you are doing the same thing you did in 2007 when you received a 7 figure bonus. We aren't saying you deserve lower compensation now. We are saying that your 7 figure bonus was a mistake.

4. in 2007 median household income was $50,233.00

5. Most people consider income of $ 250,000 to be obscenely rich.

6. Most people are mad as hell with you.

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