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Free Market Elitists Gone Wild!!

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In light of this sea change, you'd think the big hedge fund operators and investment bankers on Wall Street would cool it for a while with their gigantic salaries, especially after the taxpayer bailouts and subsequent antipathy shown toward the CEOs of companies like Citibank and Goldman Sachs--not to mention the public display of outright hatred for Bernie Madoff.

But alas, they haven't changed their ways (notwithstanding the allegations of fraud and the recent Congressional investigations of Goldman Sachs) and continue to feel entitled to their extraordinary salaries, even though they do nothing to create jobs or manufacture products. As a matter of fact, all they really do is buy and sell stocks and commodities and make lots of money for themselves and their rich clients.

And how much do these guys make? There was a recent story in Bloomberg news about how the top 25 hedge fund operators in the U.S. earned over $11.8 billion in 2008, with the top one, James Simon, raking in an astronomical $2.5 billion just for himself.

To put this in perspective, the median yearly salary of a medical doctor in the United States today is roughly $200,000, which is a lot more than the median salary of most Americans, who earn roughly $42,000 a year. Now I don't care how smart or clever a hedge fund operator is, there's something very wrong with an economic system that not only allows an individual to make $2.5 billion manipulating stocks and commodities, but creates an environment where he feels entitled to it, even during the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression.

And it's not just the elitists on Wall Street who feel entitled; it's also the CEOs of multinational companies whose salaries have continued to go up despite the current recession. Even worse, these same CEOs, many of whom make tens of millions of dollars per year, continue to export American jobs while at the same time blocking or sabotaging any type of pro-worker legislation.

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John F. Miglio is a freelance writer and the author of Sunshine Assassins, a dystopian political thriller. His articles have been published in a variety of periodicals, including Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. His most recent articles (more...)

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