While Wall Street's critics might refer to the stock market's financial dealings as a complex numbers game, right now Street watchers are focused on one number: the Gag Number.
(AP Photo/David Karp)
That's what a "public relations specialist" referred to as the number Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (pictured at left) would receive for his annual bonus without sparking a line of bonus-bashing speeches from lawmakers in Washington, according to a report in The New York Times Thursday.
While many banks have recently disclosed bonuses for their top executives, Goldman has taken its time in announcing Blankfein's bonus, the paper notes.
Goldman took money from the federal government's bank bailout in 2008, but the bank has since paid back the money with interest and recorded record profits.
The delay has caused many to speculate about how much Blankfein will receive such as a report in The Times of London that his bonus will be $100 million, a startling increase from the $68 million bonus he received for 2007. Blankfein didn't accept a bonus for 2008.
A Goldman spokesman dismissed the London newspaper's report.
"There is speculation, and then there is stupidity," said the spokesman, Lucas van Praag, told the NYT. "This speculation transcends the simply stupid and takes it to an entirely new level."
The newspaper notes that whatever Blankfein receives it will be the benchmark by which other banks set their bonuses. JPMorgan Chase has yet to announce how much CEO Jamie Dimon will receive for his bonus, which is expected to range between $15 million and $20 million.