Saturday, February 07, 2009

An Often Overlooked Fact about the Wall Street Execs

In response to this article in the Wall Street Journal, an astute reader sent in this letter:

You imply (" 'Idiots' Indeed," Review & Outlook, Jan. 31) that limits on the outsized pay packages of Wall Street executives would somehow cause capitalists to go on strike. The problem with your characterization is that there are precious few capitalists on Wall Street. Capitalists are people who put their own capital at risk and who succeed or fail as their ventures prosper or die. As evidenced by the compensations in financial firms, this hardly applies to the executives in question, since they profited more than handsomely even as they ran their firms into the ground. What these individuals have done is to enrich themselves while putting shareholders, investors and increasingly, taxpayers at risk. There are many characterizations for this type of individual. Capitalist is not one of them.

Klaus Chavanne
LaGrangeville, N.Y.

I've also been wondering precisely what makes these scoundrels on Wall Street either capitalists or conservatives? I've heard both these terms associated with them many times in the media; ditto for GM & Chrysler execs. But would any real capitalist or conservative ever turn to the government as they have?

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