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March 12, 2014

DiNapoli Report on Wall Street Bonuses is Only Half the Story

Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, released the following statement today in response to New York Comptroller DiNapoli’s annual report that average Wall Street bonuses have surged to more than $164,000 with an overall bonus pool exceeding $26 billion:

 “Wall Street’s return to record bonuses, combined with their quiet but successful push to defund the ‘financial cops’ who are supposed to be policing them, leaves our economy at a high risk of another financial meltdown.  These gigantic bonuses create irresistible incentives for Wall Street risk taking and recklessness, while the financial cops – like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – have been deliberately denied the resources they need to protect America’s families, farmers and businesses from another catastrophic crash.”

Kelleher contrasted today’s news with the White House’s recent decision to slash its budget request for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by more than 10%, from an already grossly inadequate $315 million to just $280 million for an agency with responsibility for markets larger than $400 trillion.  That budget request is just a little more than a pathetic 1% of Wall Street’s bonuses. That is a huge victory for Wall Street’s campaign to defund the financial regulators who are supposed to prevent Wall Street from the high risk gambling that caused the last crash. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton released a statement detailing the severe impact of these cuts, which he said “portends a self-inflicted wound upon the essential goal of appropriate and needed oversight and enforcement.”   

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