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CBS Slams Wall Street Bonuses, Stokes Class War Rhetoric

     It was a perfect triple-play of anti-free market, pro-regulation and pro-Democrat bias – with some old fashioned class warfare thrown in for good measure.


     In a segment of CBS’s Nov. 12 “The Early Show,” reporter Priya David cited a Bloomberg report that Goldman-Sachs and Morgan-Stanley have earmarked $6.8 billion and $6.4 billion respectively to pay end-of year bonuses.


     “What’s got many on Main-Street and Capitol Hill angry is that some of the $700 billion bailout package could go into the pockets of Wall Streeters, to pay their bonuses.”


     One of those angry was Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank, D-Mass. “These are people who lost enormous amounts of money,” Frank said. “How do you give a bonus to someone for having failed so badly, as many of these people did?”


     That’s quite a charge coming from Frank, who’s own connections to the failures of government-sponsored entititees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went unmentioned in the story.


     As the Business & Media Institute has reported, Frank was romantically involved with a Fannie Mae executive for a decade, has received more than $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie, and staunchly defended the government-sponsored enterprises from Republican calls for much-needed reform.


     Frank also claimed that, “All of the money is supposed to go into new loans. None of it is supposed to go into compensation of any kind for the employees.” Yet later in the report, David said that wasn’t the case, “The bailout package specifies the top five executives of a company cannot get a golden parachute, but doesn’t limit compensation for any other employee.”


     Also missing from David’s report was any serious attempt to understand why the struggling companies would pay bonuses. She mentioned having spoken with “several compensation consultants who said that even in this economy firms are worried if they don’t pay out the bonuses, they’ll lose their top talent.”


     But neither those consultants nor anyone else appeared in the piece to argue that paying bonuses might be in best interests of the companies and, ultimately, the taxpayers who now have a stake in their success.  


     David capped off the report with a dash of class envy, noting that even without bonuses, the mean annual salary for a securities industry employee was nearly $400,000, “ten times more than the average U.S. employee.” The report then cut to a “woman on the street” interview. “You have people losing their houses, people on the street that can’t feed themselves,” said the woman, “while these people [Wall Street workers] are just banking on it.”