I disagree. Many of those bonuses are owed to sales professionals who were operating under the understanding that they'd make that kind of money. Since they were hired and employed under that understanding, they should get paid, on time, full amount, if they hit their quotas. Not paying them is the same thing as not paying Joe Salesman because you decide -- after he's brought in the business -- that selling isn't all that difficult.
Now, that being said, I think that these traders and brokers are being MASSIVELY overpaid for what they do. But I don't hold that against them, I hold it against the idiots who hired them and who are too stupid to realize that they could pay people a lot less to do the same kind of work. If you're looking for somebody to blame, blame the idiot CEOs that run these firms.
I've been following the financial crisis story for the past two years, and when I look at the lamebrains who run the financial services industry, I've never seen a bigger bunch of stuffed shirts, empty suits and mooncalfs in my entire life. It's PAINFULLY obvious that not a single one of them really understand their business, and not a single one of them has the foresight or guts to go against the herd, even when the industry is herd of lemmings.
Just to make it clear how completely stupid these pinheads are, check out the story where Goldman Sachs and Citigroup executives sequestered doses of swine flu vaccines for their employees. Can you possibly imagine doing anything that stupid. Taking flu vaccines from CHILDREN in order to dose up your executive team. As if people didn't hate these guys enough.
So I say: pay the bonuses to the sales pros, but dump the tonedeaf, clueless fools who are running those companies. Unfortunately, since the U.S. has a government that bought and sold by big business, there will never be a requirement to have truly independent boards of directors. So we'll continue to have rubber stampers, which means that the idiots running these firms will never get pitched out on their fat cat tuchuses.
But I can dream, can't I?