As a sign of the end of the Great Recession, or as the heralding of the roots of the next one, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s investment bank, are set to hand out $30 billion in combined bonuses to employees this year.
The companies are referring to them as earned, but let's call it what it is.
The firms, which received historic bailouts from U.S. taxpayers in order to keep their jobs on Wall Street, are now using that same taxpayer money to go back to business as usual. It's all further evidence that no one in the financial district learned anything from the Great Recession and what's worse, they don't care.
The Bush and the Obama administrations didn't put in any safeguards to make sure this very thing didn't happen. Taxpayer dollars were given away by the billions to people who created the mess, but without any safety measures to make sure they didn't repeat their mistakes.
It's difficult to be surprised that we're now being treated like chumps.
The solution would have been to get a contract in place back when the financial world was clamoring for our help, just like that uncle who always needs a little money to pull things together.
But no one in Washington even asked them to come up with a timeline, much less an actual repayment plan. Everything was done on the honor system with the same people who were trading securities that couldn't be sustained in the first place.
Perhaps, they're not sure how the rest of us are required to do business, and ironically, by the very institutions who are doling out our money.
It's very simple really, which any small business owner or average homeowner could help the bigwigs on Wall Street to understand. It goes like this: a company or a person borrows money and before they take large amounts out of the company or their savings to spend deliriously upon themselves, they pay the loan back.
Today, that's all wishful thinking. There is no provision to force any of these institutions to repay the American taxpayers, so that the money can be spent on new roads, better schools, that argued-over health-care system or a myriad of other things that might actually benefit the ones who put in the money in the first place.
However, this is America, which means there's one clause in all of this that gives us some say-so in how our money is spent. That's when we all gather together to vote, and it's so powerful that large blocs of voters have been known to change the way things are done, just by getting behind a single idea.
No one in the financial arena of Washington or New York is listening to the American taxpayer right now. It's as if they think we're so exhausted from that job hunt that we don't have time to realize we're being cheated with repercussions for years to come. But we can prove them wrong.
Go to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml, and find out how to write your representative. Demand that we have a say, not only in how our money is spent, but when and how it will be paid back. Make everyone in this country play by the same rules, otherwise democracy really is coming to an end.
As it stands now, we bear more of a resemblance to the royalist government of 1775 that thought taxation without representation was just dandy. But it was the average men and women who came together back then to show the world that enough was enough. Use your voice and your vote and stop taking this one on the chin and in the wallet. Put meaning back into the idea of a democratic nation.
Ask Martha how to get to your dream and receive a free gift of Martha's new Big Adventure book, The 3 x 5 Game -- www.marthasbigadventure.com.