July 23rd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Did Wall St. learn from last year's meltdown?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Only months after being bailed out by billions of our taxpayer dollars... Wall Street is on track to pay employees even more than it did before the financial meltdown.

The Washington Post reports that so far this year the top 6 banks have set aside 74 billion dollars to pay employees - that's up from 60 billion dollars at this time last year - before the bottom fell out.

Washington is up in arms over this... with lawmakers blasting these financial institutions for going back to old habits. They are also promising to pass legislation to increase oversight on Wall Street pay days.

In last night's press conference - President Obama said Wall Street hasn't changed its behavior yet, saying: "I'd like to think that people would feel a little remorse and feel embarrassed and would not get million-dollar or multimillion-dollar bonuses."

All six of the top U.S. banks got federal bailout money last year. Three of them - Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase - have since returned those funds. Yet - they still benefit from other emergency federal programs.

All of these banks - except for Morgan Stanley - posted profits this quarter. Some bank executives say it shouldn't be surprising that compensation goes up as performance improves.

Here’s my question to you: Did Wall Street learn anything from last year's meltdown?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Russ from St. Paul, Minnesota writes:
Of course they didn't, we bailed them out. The only way you learn from failing is actually being allowed to fail. It's like giving $1,000 to a friend with a gambling addiction and then being surprised to hear he blew it all at the track.

Gary from Scottsdale, Arizona writes:
Certainly not. No more than the political hacks at all levels who've cheated on their wives and never seem to learn. Money, like sex, corrupts and the Wall Streeters are no different from politicians – they just have a different objective.

Investors should sleep with one eye open.

Carolyn from San Jose, California writes:
Absolutely. They learned that if fleecing their investors takes a turn for the worse, they can turn around and fleece the government and the taxpayers.

Linda from Santa Fe, New Mexico writes:
No, they didn't learn anything. Until there is either some sort of regulation preventing excessive compensation or some legislation making it mandatory for shareholders to approve compensation packages, they will keep doing as they have been.

C. from Birmingham, Alabama writes:
Wall Street is the greatest evil on this planet. It is a cesspool of greedy, malevolent old profiteers. They are incapable of learning anything that doesn't fill their pockets with more money.

Hank writes:
They learned that if they screw things up badly enough the government will give them money!

James from Idaho writes:
No, Jack, Wall Street didn't, but I sure did. My community credit union never looked so good.

Filed under: Wall Street
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Randy T

    Were they supposed to? The gov't keeps trusting people who went into careers that taught them as a college course that "greed is good". What you have in this country is a few millionaires and billionaires calling all the shots for the rest of us. Their problem is the other 90% of americans who want their piece of the pie, and they are not willing to share one crumb.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  2. Brendan

    Yes I think they learned something from last year. Wall Street learned how to duck and cover from the blame storm that was over them about the atrocious economy when Obama first came into office. Now the entire country is focused on healthcare reform so they are coming out of their crawl spaces and handing out billions of dollars.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  3. J. Weidenbach, NYC

    I'm afraid it's business as usual, Jack. If some of these companies can afford to increase salaries and continue paying absurd multimillion-dollar bonuses, their tax bracket must be too low. I guess they don't think about the industries they destroyed or the lives they ruined, not just at home, but around the world. I'd like to see some of that money used to improve the quality of life in the slums of NYC instead of buying third vacation homes.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  4. hank, montreal

    Yes! They've learnt that, especially by moving Wall Street types into key and strategic gov't and para gov't posts, you can shake down the government at will for any amount of money. And that occurrs always with the blessing and assistance of the Federal Reserve.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  5. C.K.

    Greed doesn't change people Jack, as you can see, what lessons?

    July 23, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  6. Al

    Did we? Nope.

    Advance, NC

    July 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  7. Chuck

    Sure it learned a lot.
    A new set of lies, a new height of immorality and hypocrisy, an even
    lower maybe even nonexistent sense of accountability to the public.
    They share a lot in common with our elected representatives.
    Just think of our congress as the minor leagues of thieves and Wall St
    as the majors.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Chico in Chicago

    Yes Jack, They learned that the bigger the bet, the bigger the payoff. Win or lose. If they lose, the treasury bails them out.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  9. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: It didn't learn what is most important: integrity, quality and vision. Major companies shed employees to improve their bottom line. The banks took a hard line on holding down interest rates. The result? Million of unemployed workers; the little people getting a pittance for interest on whatever savings they have – and the beat goes on for those running many of these companies and financial institution. So, they learned to do more with less and they learned how to preserve their executives financial fortunes.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  10. KEITH

    No, they didn't learn anything.
    As long as you can buy regulators, have inept regulators,
    etc., nothing will change.
    No new regulation laws needed, just enforcement of
    existing .

    July 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  11. Scott Rose, Panama City fl

    Of course wall street learned a great lesson, wall street can do anything it wants and the american people will just sit and take it - just pay everyone anything they want,especially those who caused the problem in the first place. No banker left behind is the new catch phrase. what should happen is that every banker who is shown to have been at fault should be tar and feathered and hired only by walmart to be greeters.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  12. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    What were they supposed to learn? Learn that they will be bailed out of their problems? Learn that the taxpayers are a bunch of suckers?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  13. Lucy

    No, of course they didn't learn anything, but did anyone really expect them too? We're talking about people who work with money all day, what do they love and what do they think about...MONEY!! Nobody said bankers were smart, just greedy.
    San Francisco, CA

    July 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  14. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Even Wall Street was probably surprised to learn that even during financial meltdowns all the old suckers remain, and new ones continue to be born every minute. We the taxpayers and we the shareholders have become we the suckers because we continue to allow Wall Street greed to go unchecked.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  15. Nancy, Tennessee

    Wall Street learned that no matter what they do they'll get by with a little help from their friends, the taxpayers. Let them pay out their big bonuses and when they go belly up, they aren't too big to fail because they just did. It's time for taxpayers to put their foot down and let their Congressmen know its not okay to give away the store to these greedy companies.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  16. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Never underestimate the power if cash

    July 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Gary H. Boyd

    Certainly not. - no more than the political hacks at all levels who've cheated on their wives and never seem to learn. Money, like sex, corrupts and the Wall Streeters are no different from politicians - they just have a different objective.
    Investors should sleep with one eye open.

    Gary H. Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  18. John Poggendorf; Prescott, AZ


    You BET Wall Street learned from last year's meltdown. It learned all too well!

    It learned the US government is indeed bought and paid for and will run the printing press until IT melts down too. It learned it can do what it wants, when it wants, and at whatever cost it wants because no matter what the taxpayer will pay the bill. And it's learned that lip service was all that was required of it this time, and all that will be required of it next time when all of this happens again.

    What a frightening scenario William Butler Yeats posed 1919 when he asked "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  19. seeksense

    No way.
    Wall street only cares for money.
    That will never change.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  20. James In Idaho

    No Jack, Wall street didn't, but I sure did. My communitty Credit Union never looked so good.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  21. Steve Smith

    Yes Jack, Wall Street learned what we all learned. It learned that no one goes to jail for stealing from its customers. It learned that aside from kicking low earners into the street, the real salaries and bonuses stay-in spite of the slight of hand, the ninja creations and all the other scheming that used to put you out of job and possibly in jail. It learned that a good conscious can be bought and that the rest of us are behind the times, not to mention out of the mix. Finally, don't you wonder why there is almost no political hay being thrown around-considering that we are told that this is the worst crisis since 1929?
    Could it possibly be that the people who made a lot of money on all of this are spread far and wide and are elected? ....or am I just imagining things?
    Steve West Chester

    July 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  22. Charlie in Bremerton, Wa

    They sure learned how to beg for money.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  23. Ken in NC

    Wall Street learned that they are like the “Little Rich Kid” that can do whatever they want to do because their good ole “Rich Uncle Sam” will be there to clean up their mess and take the heat for them. To bad they have a limited ability to learn but it’s ok because they will learn the next time, and there will be a next time. Stupid is as Stupid does.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  24. Aldo Ybarra-Rojas

    Sure they did, they learned that they can break the law get rich and no ones going to do anything about it.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  25. James Richmond VA

    Wall Street Banks learned that greed pays and that they can get away with all they want. Tax them for health care reform.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  26. Ron Williams

    Yes Jack, they learned that the rules do not apply to them. The rules only apply to us folks that make under 250,000 a year.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  27. LouieG in Phoenix

    Of course Wall Street learned something, i.e., how to do it better – without getting caught

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  28. hankmanscott

    They learned that if they screw things up badly enough the government will give them money!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  29. Christopher

    They only thing they've learned is that they can get away with it.

    Brussels, Belgium

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  30. ivan (virgin islands)

    Yeah Jack they learned how to sit back wait until the spotlight is off of them then go right back to the same old way of doing business.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  31. ikke

    There was a problem on Wall Street? Most of my friends that are in banking have not seen a lifestyle change. For them it is business as usual... "Baked Air" we used to call Banking .. and that is what it still is.. "Baked Air"

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  32. Dwight

    Jack, I hope that Wall Street learned, but more specifically, I hope that they learned the correct lessons. I hope they did not learn that they can do whatever they want and Papa Government will be there to bail them out. Perhaps only time will tell.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  33. Marsha Lloyd

    No and they will not learn as long as we the people and the government allow them to totally control our money and lending procedures.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  34. Tony (Pittsburgh, Pa)

    Yes, they learned that as long as they all misbehave the same way at the same time then they will all be in trouble of failing all at once and the government will not let that happen and so they will get bailouts.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  35. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Yep! Grab the money while it's there. These money mongrols have no shame. All the banks should be turned away without any bailouts if the economy bottoms out in the Fall. They only paid this money back so they could justify bonuses and will be back knocking on Uncle Sam's door real soon.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  36. Carolyn, San Jose CA

    Absolutely. They learned that if fleecing their investors takes a turn for the worse, they can turn around and fleece the government and the taxpayers.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  37. Flora

    Did Wall Street learn anything? Definitely! However, the better question may be, "Did they learn anything to benefit the public/consumer, or themselves? I believe they may have learn better ways to protect themselves as they gain more wealth - kind of like going to prison and coming out more experience.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  38. frankie

    Not much. They might have how bad they have to be to get stopped. This is the same kind of reason why we need a national health care alternative rather than waiting to see whether the insurance companies will police themselves.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  39. antonio japa

    HA! that's a good joke – did wall street learn anything. HA! well, maybe i shouldn't be so cynical. they did learn something – that the congress, the media (with minor exceptions), and the american people are even bigger stooges now then when bush/cheney stole the 2000 election!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  40. Gary In Lexington

    Of course they did NOT learn anything. Greed is a very potent drug, and they are all addicts. Their uncontrollable arrogance, egos larger than life and an insatiable desire to feed their greed, will always result in their receiving totally outrageous salaries, bonuses and stock options. If the boards of directors will not do their jobs on behalf of the stockholders and employees, then it is time for Congress to do something. I was a SVP/Mgr in corporate banking for 30-years, and I finally walked away from a very lucrative career...I literally could not stomach the despicable behavior exhibited by Executive Management and the Directors as it related to our clients, employess and stockholders.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  41. Bernadette Loesch

    We have learned the following: Wall Street is out for Wall Street and no one else. It is not a smart move to invest with Wall Street unless one is prepared to lose lots of money without going on the bread line and most importantly, not to ever trust corporations ever again. The United States is a capitalistally run nation, not a free and democratic nation as we are taught at a very early age.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  42. Joel B.

    Investment banking is laughing all the way back to their office. They will do whatever they can up to and over the line as long as they stay out of jail.

    We allowed this to happen, and only limits on compensation, and risky lending practices will bring this back under control. All they had to do is pay back the TARP funds, and now they are free to continue the excesses that required them in the first place???

    America got it right last November at the polls, and those who would have elected McCain continue to show us why.

    Thanks for my health care savings.


    July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  43. dawn

    Did they learn anything.... They learned how to "work the system".

    July 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  44. Susan Garba

    em...what meltdown? Life has always been good on Wall St... remember?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  45. Linda - Santa Fe NM

    No they didn't learn anything. Until there is either some sort of regulation preventing excessive compensation or some legislation making it mandatory for share holders to approve compensation pkgs. they will keep doing as they have been.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  46. Samuel C(harowsky)

    Nope. Bubble and burst is the nature of capitalism, and it will continue to happen every 15-20 years until the McCarthy era propaganda wears off and the people realize that Socialism isn't Stalanism/Communism, nor has socialism ever been instituted in its true form.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  47. Mike


    YES, they learned to cry WOLF and get a hand out to help offset their pay. Why not everyone is doing it, isn't it the thing to do these days, that makes it OK right?

    They should have all been allowed to have lose their jobs and then maybe they might have gotten their heads out of their south pole.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  48. Gerry Phillips

    The US owns these company's yet does not exercise any influence? If a major corporation operated in this manner the stock holders would go to war. Mr. Obama is no different than his predecessor: they both are only concerned about the big money, to heck with the people. And I voted for him; ONCE. Gerry

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  49. Bruce, Austin, Texas

    They learned that by and large, they do not have to pay for their misconduct. Until such time as wall street returns to being more of an investment vehicle and less of a casino, my money goes elsewhere.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  50. RitaV

    Wall Street finally coming up for air. The better question is did Obama? Why doesn't he stop while things are finally looking up.
    Enough with government healthcare, goverment motors, government bank... Does he need to be CEO of the entire country b/f he stops??

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  51. Marc

    Yes, they learned that they have more power than the government and that while doing things that seem reasonable to most of us (like cutting pay and bonuses when their trades blow up) are nice, but not even really necessary.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  52. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    Wow ! They have learned a LOT, and it wil be FATAL to us !

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  53. John Elton

    Yes, it seems they did learn a thing or three...they learned they can save their butts with taxpayer dollars, then go back to business as usual. They learned that the Federal Government is their partner in increasing profits at the expense of the national economy, and they learned that all of the media coverage will have no effect on their ability to do it all over again...see ya in another decade or so for the next round of the Golden Age of Corporate Greed and malfeasance...

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  54. Mark in Arkansas

    Yes. They learned how gullible the American taxpayer is. They learned they can blatantly steal from the system, run it into the dirt, go to Congress and beg for money to fix it, then come out stealing more than they did before.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  55. Mark Lynch

    Yes, they learned that it is okay to capitalize your profits and socialize your losses!

    Mark, Michigan

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  56. Theresa

    Jack, come on...........you know that the ONLY measure of character in this country is how much money you make and have.........
    Please................what makes you think ANYTHING is going to change on Wall Street ??

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  57. Morten

    We (the taxpayers)already own some companies GM-Chrysler-AIG and so on – lets take the profitable road this time and just nationalize all wall street firms – then we can cut the 14 BILLION and put it into something meaningful like healthcare

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  58. s.s.

    I think the comments in the article already answered that question.

    Of course not. Did anyone actually think they would?

    We need to treat them like the 5 year olds they act like. Give them rules, watch them like a hawk, and punish them severely when they break the rules.

    The time for nonsense is over!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  59. al from hawaii

    Wall St. learned that, as they suspected, they are untouchable because of the ties between big money and Washington. It's unlikely to change, because the big money calls the shots. Since when have you heard of a member of Congress leaving with less than that with which they arrived??

    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  60. Dami

    i think that wall street are learning but believe that wall street should not receive a higher pay for its employees doesnt wall street think that the economy is in a big enough financial heartache and we should be using any spare money that is around to pump back the money back into more needed areas of soceity


    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  61. Mike Oliver

    The opportunity to learn a lesson doesn't mean you will learn it. Greed like prejudice can show up whether you had your hand slapped for being greedy at the dinner table or at the bonus trough. The same lesson learned rule can apply even if you teach others not to be prejudiced, you can still react to a man of color with anger and prejudice even thought you know better and taught it to others.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  62. Jim Williams

    "Greed is good," is not just a Gordon Gecko line from the movie "Wall Street" it is a Wall Street mantra. Until greed stops driving the market greed will continue to drive compensation.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  63. timothy olinghouse

    yes Jack the financial institutions learned that they can financially rape the citizens of the US and get by with it without facing any penalties

    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  64. Suzanne Ostro

    Yes, they've learned that one of the glories of capitalism is that if you are a bank, it doesn't matter how immoral, incompetent, or how stupid your actions are, you will always be bailed out and never suffer any consequences.

    New York, NY

    July 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  65. Don Gordon

    Re Wall St's learning anything–

    LEARN?! Are you kidding?! They get to laugh all the way to the bank (every day)–their own banks! They bring to mind (I'm old enough at 75 to remember) Al Capp's character in his "L'il Abner" comic strip, J. Roaringham Fatback III, the corpulent bank president–a human figure but with the flat nose of a pig... Capp was perhaps the greatest satirist since Jonathan Swift, of "Gulliver's Travels" fame–

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  66. Mathieu

    I don't think the banks have learned they're lessons. In my opinion, a human doesn't change it's ways as long as it benefits from those methods, only hitting rock bottom where change is the only path back to financial survival is change inevitable. With the Federal bailout, the banks never were worried about going out of business and have now learned that if they are threatened by the market, cry to mommy that comes to their aid in fear of the repercussions of a bank meltdown.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  67. Sharon in Chicago, IL

    Certainly: They learned that any bad behavior will get bailed out; more importantly, Congress and the President learned nothing in that many Americans who supported CHANGE during 2008 using credit card donations are now being charged usurous rates by these same people and, if the President and members of the Senate and House who got money from me for CHANGE expect another cent, they are going to be sadly informed of what I think of their performances.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  68. Craig in Washington

    Of course they did, Jack. They learned that they are above reproach, free to do anything they want. They learned that no bet is too reckless, and that there are unlimited amounts of taxpayer funds available to backstop their losses and guarantee their bonuses should things go awry. They learned they are invincible.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  69. Steve San Antonio,Texas

    They learned the same lesson Donald Trump and Willie Nelson learned... If you owe the government $700,000.00 They Own You... If you owe the government $700,000,000,000.00 You Own Them.

    And they taught us a lesson too... make sure you DON'T get it in writing!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  70. Robin, Yreka, CA

    Yeah; they learned that the goverment will bail them out if they act like fools.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  71. Sara in ND

    Sure – they learned they are free to act with impugnity, which means take federal handouts, double my credit card interest without any cause whatsoever, and congratulate themselves with huge bonuses made up of other people's money, while congress wrings its hands ... and goes on vacation. We taxpayers are nothing but saps and patsies.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  72. M Donovan

    Sounds like they learned how to be better at being greedy. I wonder how much of that 74 billion dollars goes to the lower level employees.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  73. Ralf Nicholson

    Dear Jack,

    wall street have not learnt nothing from last year not from 10 years ago or 20 years ago ...wall street is a Madoff in Hiding a major Pyramid , nothing to learn but for the dealers to invent new tricks big new tricks to Madoff small investors, forget about last year!
    Big fish will always eats small fish .

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  74. syed

    Wall Street learn, of course not, and from what ?.It is the common people who will never learn. Dow Jones going up means corruption is rampant and only the super rich are making money and getting richer. The president has to learn to rein in the Dow from going too far above average of 8000.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  75. Katrina

    Apparently Wall Street still thinks it is a entity unto itself. Like many who are not moving toward changing how we do things such as Health care, Wall Street wants to maintain the status quo.
    When will Wall Street remember we are all Americans & in this together.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  76. Karen Buchanan

    Yes, Wall St. executives certainly did learn something. They learned they can do anything they like and the American people will pay the price.

    Greenwood, SC

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  77. shawn

    Good for Wall Street, lets tax their bonus' to pay for healthcare. Shouldn't they people you made us sick to death, help pay for it?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  78. Claude, Toronto

    They learn they can continue business as usual and afford to give themselves even more bonuses. The government is there to prevent to big boys from going belly up. It's a little bit like going to the casino with other people's money... nothing to loose.
    Why would they not give themselves big bonuses?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  79. chuck

    How stupid are the American people!? The GOP's "no regulation, give to the rich, trickle down" policies are what caused this mess. Now they are defending greedy insurance co's who cancel policies when someone gets ill & would rather deny & let them die. Are there really people stupid enough to trust ANYTHING these GOP hypocrits say?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  80. Will from Perkasie, PA 18944

    I can't believe you have to ask that question. But you did, so here goes....

    my opinion is has the American people learned anything from this?

    TRUST NO ONE, not government ,and especially not greedy scumbag sharks.

    The United States Citizen Bailout Initiative. Give the tax payers massive sales tax decreases for a start....and enlisted two year terms on wall st so the bloodsuckers don't buy them like they all are now.


    It really don't matter because China will own it all by 2020 anyways!

    Spend it like you got it isn't that the motto? Its our culture. Change needs to hit everyone square in the face.

    OBAMA till 2016, hes all we got. The rest are bought and sold.

    One man cannot change this himself.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  81. Thom Richer

    You bet your life, Jack! They've learned that White Collar Crime pays and pays big. They've learned they can do whatever they want at the expense of the working class. They've learned that Congress and the White House are in their pockets. They've learned that we are as dumb as they come.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  82. Keith

    There is not much to say on this topic. If you have kids, whenever they do something wrong, just reward them with their favorite snack and see what happens. Full stop!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  83. Jim Sloan

    It doen't appear they di dn't learn anything from the meltdown last year. With unemployment rapidly moving to 10% and with job creation stuck in neutral because opf their reckless behavior they now feel they are entitlled to take the profits to further enrich their already too rich life style.
    What should be happening is the profits need to be loaned to main street America to create the jobs we need to recover and return some dignity to the average wage earner so he can support his family in their modest life style. I am sure while our Congress Vacations on our dollar that Wall Street will be having a ball handing out money like it is candy to the already rich over paid people on Wall Street.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  84. ryan

    No, they have not and they never will. The only thing they really care about is making money and lining their own pockets. They need to pay us taxpayers back! If they reformed wall street then that would affect how much money they could rob from people. We need to get the top people out of wall street and new people in. Then we could reform wall street.


    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  85. Brendan in Phoenix, AZ

    Look at the profit line. If they're making money, they've learned. Simple as that.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  86. Ray Evert

    Oh Yeah They learned that they can undertake deceptive financial practices, create complicated, unregulated security schemes and give themselves gigantic bonuses and, when things all fall apart, the government will rush in to bail them out.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  87. Peter Benton

    Yes they did learn something. They have proven the old adage that you can fool some of the people all of the time. Unfortunately those people are sitting in the halls of Congress. They also learned that all that money that they pay out to assure that only the dim wits get elected is money well spent.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  88. John from Canada

    Yes Jack, they learned they can deystroy one third of the world's wealth, never go to jail for it and we'll we'll foot the bill...what?.... Britney has a new boyfriend!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  89. Joe from Missouri

    By their own logic, If compensation goes up as performance improves they should have been paying to work there last year. I'm really tired of the elite getting all the favors. A company rampant with nepotism and the 'good ol' boy' practice of hiring unproven employees should suffer the growing pains of educating these morons. I hope that legislation is put in place to let them fall on their collective asses next time this happens. Anyone with any moral fiber would feel at least a tinge of guilt from rubbing this in our faces. Why don't they loan California they 28 billion they need and suffer the loss of fewer millionaires walking around the office.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  90. Mike Campolo

    It's clear they learned nothing , but it's also safe to say the "meltdown" is just the beginning of a major super volcano!!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  91. Randalll

    Obviously the banks learned from the current crisis.

    They learned they can do what they want, pay themselves as much as they want and the US government will rescue them if (make that when) they screw it all up (again).

    July 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  92. Chris

    Wall Street has not learned anything, and will continue to run their companies for their own benefit, and not for the benefit of all. My husband's employer cut his salary by 3%, and some others had to take a 5% cut. I dropped out of college because of the lost wages. He will never see his income go back up to what he was earning before, at least not for several years. By the time he recieves his previous wage earnings, Wall Street will have repeated the mistakes that took our country down this hole, and he will once again have to sacrifice his salary for Wall Street.
    Chris, Greenville, North Carolina

    July 23, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  93. Carissa Juroska

    The banks know it is still business as usual. Until the American people are willing to change the status quo, by more than voting another party into office, it will remain the same. We need to rid ourselves of the powerbrokers that have remained in the Senate for decades. Term limits would be a good place to start.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  94. steve L

    How to get free money jack!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  95. Jane Gayle

    Certainly Wall Street has learned from last year's meltdown; however, they have repaid most of these funds and still believe in free capitalism and profit. Therefore, for legislature to increase oversight on Wall Street pay days is absolutely ridiculous. This is more federal control and goes toward socialism as does this federal health insurance control.

    Jane Gayle
    Lake Charles, LA

    July 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  96. Joan

    Remember the toxic assets that they were allowed to take of the books, or we should say reality, like real accounting instead of creative accounting. Well if we make them put the toxic assets back on the books there would be no profit, that is reality, but look at who is in control,, the banks, and the American people are being conned!!!
    The jerks who have ruined the lives of so many people continue to get away with their game. It is time to shut them all down, put the heads of the companies in jail, that is where they all belong, because they are all doing a switch and bait, just like Madoff.

    Chicago, IL

    July 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  97. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes, they learned that, unless we tell them otherwise, they can play fast and loose with other people’s money, over pay themselves, underpay their investors, destroy the financial system again and we taxpayers will bail them out again. Their friend “W” told them it was OK. Unless we get regulations in place that make their business more transparent, they will keep on doing it. No company should be too big to fail. Can you spell monopoly?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  98. Dean H. - San Francisco

    Of course not. It happens all over the country from school districts to corporate boardrooms. You hear the same cry over and over "We have to pay a huge salary to get top talent". The problem with this is it's the executives who are included in this largesse are the ones who make this call. You can't expect altruistic behavior; it's naive to do so. Though it occurs it me that we have two problems that could cancel each other out, we need 300 million more to pay for health care, Wall Street is handing out billions in bonuses. Have them pay for it. It would be politically popular; though I'm sure the financial lobby would hate it.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  99. Todd in NC

    Hey Jack remember that there are thousands of middle class workers who do their day-to-day jobs keeping the financial industry working that are included in that bonus pool. I am one of those workers who do not receive a million dollar bonus but DO deserve to be rewarded for the hard work I do every day to keep the system working.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  100. Brian Smith PhD

    No they have not Jack, and they are not going to either and here is the exact reason why. Some time around 1960 -1965 firms like Arthur Andersen, infamous for the ENRON scandal, started hiring recent grads from liberal universities that in turn had been teaching a "cash flow" economy as opposed to a "cash and carry" economy, (i.e. buy everything on 30 NET extended credit and pay it back the next month). Therefore, the economy switch from capital holding to simply how much cash flow potential your company could produce. Bottom line, it is the fast buck that works on Wall Street now. Wall Street is only mindful of what they can earn today. So no, no lessons learned. They will get what they can for today and worry about yesterday's lesson some other day, which never comes. PERIOD.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  101. J A Panelli

    Wall Street can careless what we think about how they run their show. Wall Street is about making more and more money, and they know how to work the system. The right question is ... Have the American people learn the lesson yet about what Wall street is all about? I'm afraid not. If I was dictator for a day I'd tax those mega bonuses at 90-95% and put that money in a fund to be used next time their Companies need a "bail out"

    July 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  102. Jim Stanton

    Yes they learned to take even more risks. Why, the reward is much greater because they can not fail. We we taxpayers will ngive them more money to cover their loses. Are we stupid or what.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  103. Fred Roosli

    They sure did. Make even more risky investments, pay higher bonuses and do it quickly. Then relax. If the investments don't pan out over the long term, ol' reliable Uncle Sam will bail them out again. I just wish I had a smarter Uncle...

    July 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  104. richard a. winkler

    Sure, they learned that they can bilk the government and taxpayers anytime they want. Goldman Sachs and Morgan are up to the same old tricks as before and we paid for it.

    The rich get richer and the rest of us take gas.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  105. AJ

    The financiers who have remained on Wall Street through this crisis have learned that they may continue to line their already bulging pockets with more undeserved money, so long as they continue to stay within the gray lines drawn by those who run Washington...The majority of Americans forced to learn a lesson from this recession were not those who currently run or ran Wall Street...

    -AJ, New Jersey

    July 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  106. Rick from Ct

    No but what are we gonna do about it ? Talk, that seems to work so good for us any other time, If we don't really try to do something for the country that will add to its greatness, WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER!

    July 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  107. george

    jack wall st. dosent realy have to worry about lessons learned........they now know for sure when the poop hits the fan the fed will bail them out.
    most americans were never for a wall st. bailout bailing them and the auto industry out just sicken's most of us.the only time these two companys look down is to see who there stepping on or when there trying for congressional sympothy..........ie looking for our tx. dollars.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  108. Jerome

    Yes, they learned how to cook their books to show a profits and pay the government back with money they got from other bailout programs the public don't know about.they will give themselves big bonus from the money invested by the small investors who now think that we are in a to new bull market. It business as usual for them.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  109. Mike Davis

    Sure Jack, Wall Street learned a lot. They learned that the US financial system is like a video game with an 'invincibility' option turned on–nothing can harm them and they have unlimited 'lives' in the game. Most certainly they have not learned to fear action from a Congress that is paralyzed by the need to spend their time trading political insults rather than taking on the challenges that threaten to further unravel the economic vitality of this Nation. Maybe I am just cynical and calling them bad names will really cause them to change their ways.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  110. P. Coffee

    I give Wall Street the benefit of a doubt.
    They aren't all arrogant, rich guys who try to put one over on us.
    But some are - just like our Sec. of Treasury who put one over on us by cheating on his taxes and getting the great job anyway. Lesson learned?
    I don't think so.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  111. Iraj azarm

    No, it seems business as usual. With 9.5% unemployment, and rising, banks should channel more financing to help businesses that increase employment, instead of paying more to well-paid employees.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm |

    No, they haven't learned a thing. They should have been stopped during the Bush administration. That did not happen as the GOP took care of the wealthy. That is why we have this big mess.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  113. kenny

    no the wall street gang have known since nixon they can get away with anything and get paid twice for it.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  114. Elhadj Diallo

    Obsolutely not. These people are still getting bonuses by the millions and want more. Also this health care reform is like getting into a car accident and your car insurance will tell you where to go, how much it will cost and the check goes directly to the shop. If you wish to fix your A.C while you’re there, you are on your own. I kinda like that since i wouldn’t have to do any work except finding a way to get to the clinic.

    Elhadj Diallo

    July 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  115. dick

    They sure did Jack.
    they learnt that they can plead that they are going under, get abail-out from the tax payers, then give their C.E.O.'s etc a wopping bonus for getting the company in such a mess ,(if it ever was)?

    July 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  116. albert mcmahan

    I beleive that they never learned any lessons nor will they as long as the taxpayer is still their crutch. Also, even though Morganstanley didn't have any profits last quarter, they did however purchase SmithBarney. Is it my understanding that they did recieve some TARP money? I feel that we as taxpayers demand that all of Wallstreet needs to be regulated if for no other reason than to keep them from continuing to create the type of toxic documents that brought them down.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  117. Dan

    These greed mongers didnt learn a darn thing.Only thing that matters to them is profits.I say let the dow fail along the greedy bank system.This country would be better off with out both.
    Dan in pa

    July 23, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  118. Kevin

    They learned that when they are told, "We are from the government and we are here to help you" never to trust, especially now. They learned that the help in the form of stimulus and bailouts sponsored by the Anointed One comes at the for future control for individual compensation and control of the business. More wealth sharing, just different methods. Lincoln predicted where threats to our way of life would come from.

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

    — Abraham Lincoln.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  119. Female

    Wall Street learned something very important. If it ever gets in trouble, help is available on K Street. Money is more important than people and Wall Street bankers will get aid. You and I never will.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm |