Feb 4, 2009
What? We've had a rough year!
The stories of luxurious perks being cancelled on Wall Street are flowing faster than the champagne at a day trip to the spa for AIG executives. The banks that received federal bailout money are oblivious to the fact that they have any duty to exhibit good judgement and care with how they spend taxpayer money.
This week Wells Fargo cancelled a 12 day all expense paid trip to Las Vegas for its top performers and their guests. The trip is an annual tradition at which Wells Fargo has footed the bill for up to 1000 people as they wined and dined and were entertained at private concerts by the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Cher and Huey Lewis (OK Huey’s not as impressive as Cher, but still…).
This year the accommodations were at the new Wynn property, Encore, one of the most expensive hotels in Vegas. The festivities were set to begin this Friday but when word leaked out to the AP, Wells Fargo tried to defend the trip by making this statement, the Las Vegas trip provides a "unique opportunity" for Wells Fargo employees and employees of newly acquired bank Wachovia Corp., "to focus on continuing to do all we can for U.S. homeowners.” (Rubs eyes, accompanied by squeaky sound.) Did I read that right?
And it’s not just Wells Fargo, they all are living well beyond “our” means. Other recent stories include:
* Citigroup is selling their $50 million dollar luxury jet.
* AIG has cancelled day trips to the spa for its top executives that included pedicures and massages.
* Wachovia cancelled a Greek cruise.
* Morgan Stanley cancelled a trip to Monte Carlo for its top employees.
This is the reason I became so angry when the automotive executives were scrutinized and criticized when they asked for a government loan. It was right to ask them these questions but why in the hell did nobody bother to ask these bankers about their spending habits and how they planned to clean up their act. Nope, Congress just ponied up billions of dollars and trusted them to do the right thing. No “Bank Czar”, no action plan, no elimination of executive bonuses and salaries. Here’s your money, now run along.
The bankers were apparently too stupid to figure out that after GM sold the company jet the press would be turning their attention to them. Hopefully they’ve learned that they can’t hide this type of activity and that it can’t be justified, especially now, in the dire situation we find ourselves in.
Each one of these arrogant assess ought to be smacked upside the head repeatedly and then forced to go live for a month with a family that is recently jobless and close to losing their homes. Then come back and tell me how your little trip to Vegas is going to allow you to help these people. I have an idea, get your head out of your ass and quit scheming up ways to keep your perks and start putting things right by figuring out what you did to contribute to this freaking mess and then change it. But be forewarned, it may include a healthy dose of good old fashioned hard work and honest dealing.