Don’t like the notion of Wall Street employees receiving bonuses? Shoot the messenger – as Adam Green at The Huffington Post has done.
In a Feb. 2 post on The Huffington Post, Green said it was bad form for CNBC “Street Signs” host Erin Burnett to even think about considering the other side of the anti-Wall Street bonus argument, since some Wall Street banks received TARP funds, courtesy of the taxpayer.
“There are, though – well, how should we say this – the taxpayer money is not being used to pay the bonuses,” Burnett explained on NBC’s Feb. 1 “Meet the Press.” “I think people could understand if you work for a company – right? If the three of us worked for a company, your guests, and I lost $10 billion but Steve [Forbes] over there, he made a billion dollars. So overall the company actually loses money, but Steve went and did his very darndest for that company and he made money. So should he be paid for his work? That's essentially what we're talking about here.”
However, this wasn’t an acceptable explanation for Green. In true Huffington Post classiness, Green attacked Burnett for a being a shill for Wall Street bonus receiving employees. And, although the anti-Wall Street bonus crowd has gotten their message out – with President Barack Obama and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., receiving plenty of media coverage for their anti-bonus/anti-profit tirades, Green was upset that the other side might have its voice heard.
“[I]sn’t it good to know that you’re, how should I say this, stupid?” Green wrote, impersonating the thinking of Burnett. “You thought an executive’s ‘bonus’ was a bonus! Silly member of the public. If only you understood.”
Green might not have realized that in some cases, a bulk of the salary that some on Wall Street receive are performance-based and come in the form of bonuses – similar to a way a waiter or waitress would earn tips for their service. A segment by CBS correspondent Anthony Mason on the Jan. 29 “Evening News” explained this:
“Oh, it’s more than likely that the bonuses paid to these financial services people accounts for 50 or 75 percent of their total compensation, and it’s geared to revenue that they brought in or success they brought into the firm,” Scot Melland of Dice Holding explained to Mason. “So it’s more akin to a sales commission than what you or I would think about as a bonus.”
Even though it’s a point Green has yet to have been able to grasp, he still dished out the vitriol on Burnett.
“[W]hat she’s doing here professionally is a real problem, and it’s NBC’s problem at the end of the day,” Green wrote. “The public simply can't afford to have economic news given to us by Wall Street ‘embeds.’ We need Burnett to listen to her Wall Street sources, be skeptical of them, ask them very tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions, and be willing to report negatively on them when they abuse the public trust. If they never talk to her again, so be it. Donald Rumsfeld won’t talk to some reporters either -- and where is he today? Disgraced in history.”
Green also complained that there weren’t enough “progressive” voices on the “Meet the Press” roundtable, even though liberal Democratic Sen. John Kerry,
“It’s also worth noting that the guests Meet The Press invited on to discuss the economic crisis were Erin Burnett, Steve Forbes, and Moody's Mark Zandi -- all Wall Street voices,” Green wrote. “There was no progressive voice like Paul Krugman there to stick up for the public.”