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May 7th, 2010
03:42 PM ET

Job opening? $22k an hour

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

You know what Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and the island nation of Kiribati have in common?  In 2007 they each made about the same amount of money.

You know what Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and the island nation of Kiribati have in common? In 2007 they each made about the same amount of money.

You know what Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and the island nation of Kiribati have in common? In 2007 they each made about the same amount of money. $68 million. I’m no enemy of capitalism, and I love the notion of folks getting ahead, but doesn’t that seem perhaps a tad excessive?

I return to the smiling Mr. Blankfein because in the wake of his visit to Capitol Hill to defend Wall Street, he has continued to suggest that people should not be angry with his staggering income because, after all, he earned it.

Well, let’s look at his theoretical time sheet. We’ll assume he’s a hard worker, never takes vacations, and even on holidays catches up on paperwork. But the financial markets are closed on weekends, so he gets 260 working days in a year. I’ll further assume he’s a steady laboring guy; your head doesn’t get that shiny without a lot of hair pulling and sweating the details. We’ll say he is at the office at least 12 hours a day; so 3,120 hours for the year.

We do some math, carry some ones, and Bob’s your uncle, turns out old Lloyd’s going rate is just under $22,000 an hour. Or $363 a minute. Which raises a question: How can anyone possibly “earn” that much, in the sense that most of us understand the concept of earning?

Pro athletes, heart surgeons, plumbers, hookers, and hit men don’t rake in that kind of dough. Heck, load up an airport van full of them all mixed together and they’d still collectively be paupers compared to the oh so valuable Lloyd.

For that matter, take your run-of-the-mill extremely well-paid professional, say some gal who pulls a million a year, which is not just Slurpee money. If she started working at the age of 21, she would not get to clean out her desk and book a tee time until she was almost 90 years old; and at that point she would have made only what Senor Lloyd banked in one year.

So while he certainly received, scored, banked, snared, and/or got a lot of money that year, his argument that he “earned” it, I suspect for many working folks, rattles like a counterfeit quarter. Or 272 million of them. But who is counting?


Filed under: Opinion • Tom Foreman • Wall St.
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