'Doubtless I will get criticized for suggesting that bankers like me are Christ-like, given that we are now being made to suffer for the sins of others as a result of this UK bonus tax. But I am past caring. I'm going to have my say anyway (even if the comparison of bankers to JC is rather tongue-in-cheek).
UK Chancellor Alistair Darling fails to understand that many of the people who will suffer because of his one-off 'success' tax on banker bonuses are not those who caused the financial crisis, but ordinary people, like me, who were left to try and help sort out the mess.
And, by applying the tax to bonuses of just £25,000 ($40,700), Darling is targeting many of the 'little' guys in the City - the people who have a relatively low base salary and who work extremely long hours under intense pressure, just to pick up a decent bonus at year-end. I, for one, have worked as hard as I have ever worked this year, yet my relatively small bonus will now be taken away. And why ? Because I am rich ? (No, I am not). Because I caused the financial crisis ? (No, I did not). It's because I'm an easy target and the UK government is playing politics.
But what really makes my blood boil is that the real culprits in this financial crisis appear to have gotten away scot free. The traders, managers and bosses responsible for the mess were fired long ago - and walked off with big exit payouts. Take ex-Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'Neal, as an example. He ramped up risk over there, destroyed the firm, and walked off with $161.5m.
And then there's former Bear Stearns boss Jimmy Cayne (remember it was the failure of two Bear hedge funds, that were full of toxic assets, that are regarded as having started this crisis). Sure, old Jimmy did end up losing $900m when Bear was sold on the cheap to JPMorgan, but he is still said to be worth around $600m. And, just a couple of weeks before Bear fell last year, Cayne and his wife closed on the $27.4 million purchase of two adjacent apartments on the 14th floor of the renovated Plaza Hotel at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, New York - some of the most exclusive real estate in the world.
And what about Joseph Cassano, the head of AIG's Financial Products Group, the unit that was responsible for the failure of that firm, who is said to have walked off with $280m in cash and $38m in bonuses shortly before he was fired last March ? And, even then, he was given a $1m-a-month consulting contract! Finally, there's Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin. Although Fred agreed to forego $326,000 in annual pension, he is still getting $560,000 a year for life. Where's the justice in all this ?
As usual, it's many of the little people that are going to end up being disadvantaged. I can't afford an expensive tax lawyer to help me save money, and, despite the threats I occasionally make, I know that I'll never be able to relocate abroad to get away from all this madness. No, I'm stuck here. But that doesn't stop me from being mad, because I've been shafted yet again. In fact, I do feel Christ-like. Like Jesus, I am being crucified for the sins of others.'
1. 'Jesus, of course, died voluntarily. You are being forced to forego your bonus. Jesus died in pain. You are just getting taxed. Get over it!'
2. 'Yes, we are the wrong target. Once again, it will mostly be the little people that end up getting screwed'.
3. 'Be thankful that the UK taxpayer enabled you to keep your job by bailing you out. And you don't have to move abroad to avoid bonus taxes - go to Middlesborough!'.
4. 'Yep, the Jesus analogy is rather far-fetched, however I was recently talking to someone who had moved to the UK from a certain African country. He pointed out that he could see a parallel between the way the government in the UK has whipped up hatred towards bankers, and the way the government in that African country deliberately whipped up hatred towards a certain ethnic group. Whilst we have not seen machete attacks on bankers (yet), and while I will no doubt be ridiculed by drawing on this parallel, it is interesting that my African acquaintance could see it quite easily'.
5. 'Typical banker - offensive and self-regarding'.
6. 'The UK taxpayer didn't put a single penny in my bank. It's about time this appalling government started looking inwards and shouldering some of the blame for this mess'.
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