Bailout To Bonuses: Bank Execs Raking In Taxpayer Cash

Just weeks after the CEOs of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were openly criticized by many for taking corporate jets to testify before Congress, the Associated Press is reporting that $1.6 billion from the original financial services bailout will go to salaries, bonuses and fringe benefits for executives.

Benefits for employees were wide in scope: cash bonuses, stock options, driving services, use of corporate jets, professional money management, home security and country club memberships were all given. “The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines,” the AP reported.

After reviewing Securities and Exchange Commission documents, it appears that at least 116 banks have received nearly $200 billion of the bank bailout so far. The executives of the recipient banks received an average of $2.6 in salary and benefits from the bailout funds.

Granted, this is almost two orders of magnitude less than the amount of funds given out, but with the economy sliding deeper and deeper into recession, these banks are drawing ire from the public. With so many people losing jobs, the funds being received by executives overseeing failing banks seems unfair at best.

At worst, you are Goldman Sachs, where Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who oversaw the bailout funds, used to be the Chairman and CEO of the bank. The top five Goldman executives received over $25 million on average.

In need of consolation? At least they received funds for professional financial management.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson