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Robber Barons

Definition:

Robber baron is a term that revived in the 19th century in the United States as a reference to businessmen and bankers who dominated their respective industries and amassed huge personal fortunes, typically as a direct result of pursuing various anti-competitive or unfair business practices. The term may now be used in relation to any businessman or banker who is perceived to have used questionable business practices or scams in order to become powerful or wealthy (placing them in power of everything having controlled most business affairs.)

The term derives from the medieval German lords who illegally charged exorbitant tolls against ships traversing the Rhine river (see robber baron). There has been some dispute over the term’s origin and use. It was popularized by U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson during The Great Depression in a 1934 book. He attributed its first use to an 1880 anti-monopoly pamphlet in which Kansas farmers applied the term to railroad magnates. The informal term captains of industry may sometimes be used to avoid the negative connotations of “robber baron”. Recently the term “Robber ‘Boomer’ Baron” has been used to describe the undisciplined greed of financial ‘robbers’ during the financial meltdown in 2008 and 2009.[citation needed]

Nearly 700 at Merrill in Million-Dollar Club

For nearly 700 lucky Merrill Lynch employees, 2008 was a million-dollar year, even though the brokerage firm lost $27 billion.
On a day the chief executives of eight large banks were questioned about their industry’s excesses on Capitol Hill, Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general of New York State, raised hackles by disclosing how Merrill Lynch distributed its 2008 bonus pool. The payments, made just before Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America in December, have already stirred anger for being paid earlier than usual. And Mr. Cuomo made it clear that the bulk of the bonuses were paid to a small portion of Merrill Lynch’s 39,000 employees.

“Merrill chose to make millionaires out of a select group of 700 employees,” Mr. Cuomo wrote in the letter, which was sent to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday night.

The disclosure again puts Wall Street’s compensation system, which has long rewarded select individuals with handsome bonuses, under the microscope.

Many of the questions at Wednesday’s hearing in Washington centered on whether banking chiefs would take bonuses, and Mr. Cuomo has homed in on the payments made to executives by banks that have received more than $350 billion from the federal government. That banks have collectively lost hundreds of billions of dollars has only fueled public scorn.

According to the Financial Times, this is how the Bonuses broke down:

Nearly 700 Merrill Lynch executives had cash bonuses of more than $1m each for last year, New York’s top law enforcement official disclosed on Wednesday.

$121m paid to the top four

next 10 recipients took home $128m

top 149 bonus recipients got a total of $858m

In all, Mr Cuomo determined that 696 employees of Merrill Lynch received a bonus of at least $1m (each) for the year.

Nuff said, these greedy creeps are living high off the hog of the American taxpayer. We do not want outrage, We want ANSWERS!!!!!

What Conflucians want:

DISGORGEMENT

COUGH IT UP

TELEVISED TRIALS

PLACED IN STOCKS

FLOG THEM

WEARING SIGN BOARDS IN FRONT OF UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICES

COUGH IT UP GLUTTONS

MONEY BACK AND ACCOUNTABILITY

MAKE THEM HOMELESS

TARRED AND FEATHERED

RUN OUT OF TOWN ON A RAIL

DRAWN AND QUARTERED

COMMUNITY SERVICE AT SOUP KITCHENS, UNEMPLOYMENT LINES AND SHELTERS

DEFENSTRATE

DISMEMBER

FREEZE ASSETS

INDICT

TARGET INDIVIDUALS NOT INSTITUTIONS

START INVESTIGATING

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22 Responses

  1. How about this for an answer: We came, we saw, we stole. And you guys in congress made it easy for us to do just that.

  2. I want more than answers! I want my money back and accountability!
    Also, NYC tabloids on the stimulus
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/nyc-tabloids-on-the-stimulus-deal/

  3. I just found the same Cuomo letter and posted it below while you were writing this. It’s is positively obscene. And as they testified yesterday, it was like pulling teeth to get them to take ANY responsibility for their behavior. I think part of the condition should be massive firing at the top–make them all accountable. They won’t suffer anyway, now that they have their $60 million bonuses to “get by on.”

  4. I want disgorgement.

  5. I think they should be placed in stocks on the White House lawn, and members of the public should be allowed to flog them. After that, they should be sent to Guantanamo for a nice long “vacation.”

  6. Everyone write me one word you want and I will add it to the post as we go!

    So what do you want to happen to these criminals?

  7. perries, Isn’t disgorgement a great word? It brings all manner of horrible pictures to mind of things to be done to this bunch of thieves. If a company is in the red and management is taking money out, it is theft. Bring on the televised trials!

  8. Wearing signboards in front of unemployment offices stating how much they were paid and their companies lost could be interesting for these guys. Screaming and spitting would be allowed but not hitting.

  9. Isolde – yes it is and how did you know those mental pictures are rolling through my mind as well. Cough it up, gluttons!

  10. MAKE THEM HOMELESS

  11. How about tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail?

    Drawn and quartered?

  12. fif – here you are. I thanked you on the previous thread for posting that letter.

    Taggles: I want them to do community service at soup kitchens and unemployment lines and homeless shelters.

  13. Dispossess, disgorge, dismember and defenstrate

  14. If someone offered you money wouldn’t you take it and use it as you wished since no strings were attached?

    How about we through out all the bums in Congress who OK’d this deal with absolutely NO OVERSITE?
    They are now trying to close the proverbial barn door after the fact.

  15. KarenO,

    If I knew the money was stolen or if I knew it would destroy my country’s economy, no, I wouldn’t take it.

  16. Karen: you are right. We are being distracted by the executive compensation. I’m sure the gov’t is taking this opportunity to make us mad at bankers who received money as opposed to our dear leaders who gave it to them.

    Maybe those super smart Congress types figured all these folks would ‘re-invest in America’ by buying stocks in the current fire-sale on Wall Street?

  17. Freeze assets, disgorge, indict. Target individuals not just institutions. Start investigating:

    Stanley O’Neal – Merrill CEO until Sept 30, 2007, 160m severance.

    James Cayne – Bear Stearn CEO until Jan 9, 2008, cashed out for 60m. He was at that bridge tournament while his bank collapsed.

    Angelo Mozilo – Countrywide CEO until March 30, 2008, cashed out for 150m.

    Richard Fuld (Lehman – former)
    John Thain (Merrill – former)
    Robert Willumstad (AIG – former)
    Chuck Prince (Citigroup – former)

    Hedge funds
    Private equity funds
    Foreign banks’ US ops

  18. thanks, taggles, for the great post!

  19. Ah, Defenestration!

    Does anyone remember learning about the Defenestration of Prague (how I first learned this wonderful word)? We had to study it in high school.

    It’ s highly relevant.

    There were actually two Defenestrations of Prague that have gone down in history, but apparently there were many more as this was a favorite method for the Czechs to get rid of abusive overlords and politicians that they were through with…Hmmm… The first involved King Wenceslaus (yes, he of Christmas carol fame).

    “The first defenestration occured in 1419 with the First Defenestration of Prague. In this defenestration Hussites threw seven members of the Czech Town Council out of Prague’s New Town Hall window. The members of the council may have survived were it not for the Hussites wielding pikes below the window. It is said that King Wenceslas IV had an apoplectic fit and died of a heart attack when the defenestration was reported to him.

    “The Second Defenestration of Prague occured in 1618. In this second defenestration, two vice-regents of the Austrian monarch and some governors of the Czech lands were thrown out of a tower window at Prague Castle. They were not killed, however. They fell onto a pile of garbage (mostly straw) which had accumulated in the castle moat. Obviously the irate group involved in this defenestration didn’t plan as well as their Hussite forbears.”

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/lutheranism/99284

  20. Motto: We must plan well.

  21. Vivisection! 🙄

  22. Chinese water drop torture (err, treatment)

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