This is what happens in other democracies when bankers try to reward themselves for helping to ruin the world economy:
Britain has a rival when it comes to bashing bankers. After a furious row over pay packages at Amsterdam-based ING in which thousands of customers threatened to make mass withdrawals, the Netherlands is now vying for the title of Europe’s most bonus-hating country. A growing Dutch political storm could end with a blanket ban on bonuses to financiers who work for institutions bailed out by the taxpayer. ING customers mobilised on Twitter and other social networks to protest at bonuses paid to bosses at the bank, one of the biggest in the country. The threat of direct action raised the spectre of a partial run on ING, terrifying the Dutch establishment. Fred Polhout, union organiser at the bank, says: “People were outraged. We heard about the bloated sums being paid again in the City and in New York; but suddenly the issue exploded on our own front door.”
Why no outrage here? Why allow Wall Street bankers to keep the huge bonuses they were awarded for sparking the worst economic slump since the Great Depression? Why not consign the masters of the universe to Sing Sing or some other black hole for perpetrating the fraud at the heart of the securities industry? While we’re at it, why not penalize rather than reward GE and other corporations for shipping American jobs overseas?
As Chris Hedges recently noted, Americans are discouraged by the mainstream media from questioning the big lies, and are, for a variety of reasons, in deeper denial about them than Europeans:
We are taught by all systems of information to chant the mantra that the market knows best…. It does not matter that the middle class—the beating heart of any democracy—is disappearing and that the rights and wages of the working class have fallen into precipitous decline as labor regulations, protection of our manufacturing base and labor unions have been demolished. It does not matter that corporations have used the destruction of trade barriers as a mechanism for massive tax evasion, a technique that allows conglomerates such as General Electric to avoid paying any taxes.
These things will matter, of course, but apparently not until a lot more jobs are sent overseas, nest eggs dry up, modest inheritances are spent, pensions and health benefits disappear, utilities are turned off and homes repossessed. Meanwhile, most Americans continue to walk around with “kick me” signs on their backs. You and I can’t see these signs, but politicians and their corporate bosses can.