I thought it would happen. No, not Simon Cowell describing Cheryl Cole’s performance as ‘incredible’ on the X-factor (most surprising) but that one day we’d wake up and it was if the credit crunch had never happened. So here we are discussing banker’s bonuses. Hang on a minute aren’t there 2.5M unemployed? Ah yes, our old friend the lagging indicator. It’s a technical device aiming to reassure by positing that it’ll be alright in the end. Meanwhile, back in the real world you might like to try telling that to those looking for work and trying to feed families. Remember it was the taxes of all of us, victims of the recession included, who bailed out the banks. So it’s now time, apparently, for a Christmas bonus to the tune of £6 Billion. Here’s one man who had a good economic crisis, Robert Peston, commenting on another who had a not-so-good one, Mervyn King:
And, as a matter of social justice, very few would fail to share his frustration that taxpayers have bailed out British banks to the tune of a short trillion pounds only to see the bankers making plans to pay themselves fabulous bonuses once again.
And weighing in for the defence (of said bonuses) we have Lord Griffiths, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs:
We have to accept that inequality is a way of achieving greater opportunity and prosperity for all
So that’s alright then? Increasing inequality could be a measure of success. The Bible is not quite so sure. Is there not a passing resemblance with the money changers in the temple courts, charging the poor on their way in and then heading off to count their profits? ‘Well, Jesus, it works like this. We have to provide a suitable financial incentive for the changers; otherwise, well, it hampers creativity and would threaten the Roman tax base. They just wouldn’t get up in the morning.’ Except the crucial difference is that in the current situation the poor have paid for their pitch in the first place.
Fair enough, we will eventually get some money back from our nationalised banks. But the premise that this group of workers require an astronomic bonus to do their jobs properly is surely built on dodgy foundations. So here’s an exciting possibility for your next TV show, Mr. Cowell. Select 24 of the country’s most senior bankers, collect in their Christmas bonuses of the the last 3 years (to fund the programme) and take them off to boot camp where they have to come up with the best financial idea that would benefit the country. Each week, 4 victims of the recession will act as judges and the great British public will vote for those they want to stay in. And what happens to those who go home? They get to draw the jobseekers allowance until employment comes their way. And the winner gets the satisfaction of blessing us all. What greater motivation could there be?
For prayers on money matters click here.