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NCC Head Challenges Goldman Sachs on Bonuses

(RNS) The head of the National Council of Churches is challenging investment giant Goldman Sachs to use half of its $20 billion bonus pool to help rebuild Haiti after its devastating earthquake.
Haiti’s entire gross domestic product (the basic measure of a country’s overall economic output) is $8.5 billion, which is less than half of Goldman Sachs’ bonus pool. The government’s bail-out in 2009 left Wall Street’s biggest name with a contentious amount of money.
Last September, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said, “Compensation continues to generate controversy and anger. In many respects, much of it is understandable and appropriate.”
In light of the dire need in Haiti, the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, and George Hunsinger, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, urge Goldman Sachs to donate half of its bonuses to Haitian relief.
Kinnamon and Hunsinger said in a statement that by doing this, “They will outmatch the Haitian GDP, and improve not only their image but their tax liability… and surpass the $100 million that President Obama has pledged to Haiti, by a monumental factor of 100.”
In Haiti, hundreds of thousands are feared dead while 1.5 million are homeless, and experts say these figures are only going to worsen without a major intervention.
“Relief for Haiti needs to come in the form of grants, not loans,”
said Kinnamon and Hunsinger. “The last thing this stricken nation needs is more debt.”
According to a report from The Center for International Policy, cited by Kinnamon and Hunsinger, Haiti spent $57.4 million on foreign debt in 2003, compared to receiving just $39.2 million in foreign assistance for education, health care and other services.
Haiti needs grants and $10 billion — or even $8 billion, which is half of Goldman Sachs’ recently scaled-down bonuses — could make the difference.
“A golden opportunity is knocking for Goldman Sachs,” Kinnamon and Hunsinger said.
— Kimberlee Hauss

  • Henrietta22

    It’s always nice to have people keep track of your good fortune and then decide how you should distribute it, isn’t it? And just think it would beat President Obamas pledge to Haiti.

  • nnmns

    That really is an immense amount of money! It could do a lot of good. But of course, as Henrietta points out, it’s not ours to dispose of.
    On the other hand, there’s no law about making a suggestion.

  • Christopher Mohr

    And exactly why do they have that money? because we gave it to them to bail them out when they were about to sink. They owe us one, and this would, in part, make good on that debt.
    They’re flush enough anyway. They can live without bonuses for a while.

  • Henrietta22

    Here’s a suggestion nnmns. The National Council of Churches could suggest to all it’s member Churches, and other Churches not members of to figure out what one year of taxes they would have to pay if they had to pay taxes, and put in all in pool and give that tidy amount to Haiti. Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear what that total would be? And think how they could help Haiti.

  • jestrfyl

    Even if we set aside the obscene amounts of money involved…
    A bonus is paid for work well done, often above and beyond expectations. These caricatures of bankers are expecting this as part of their compensation. So call it that – salary, wages, dough-to-go, whatever, But don’t try to couch this in some pretty envelope. Let them bear the tax implications and deal with the stock holders when they have to justify these amounts. It is simply a slight of hand card trick to make it sound like something else.
    Hear me say, “We can see what you are doing and we are neither impressed nor amused. You are NOT worth that kind of money.”

  • cknuck

    If the trickle down thing didn’t work here it certainly won’t work in Haiti, the wrong people will simply get rich that money will never get into the right hands and the poor will remain poor.

  • jestrfyl

    You and I are in total agreement on this one! It’s a February miracle!! Actually, I think it is simply common sense.

  • cknuck

    jest that genuinely makes me happy. (all jokes aside)

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