Why Wall Street's Smiling

Wall Street sign with generic graph, on texture
This column was written by Harry Smith.

I know you're worried about the economy.

The cover story on Newsweek is called the "Road to Recession." New home sales we learned today fell 26 percent last year. Foreclosure filings went up 75 percent last year. That's 2.2 million foreclosures. The value of American housing has dropped more than a trillion dollars.

Add that to the woes of the stock market, and the slowdown in job creation and you have what? Reason to be concerned.

But, while you are worrying, the people on Wall Street are whistling. Perhaps whistling in the graveyard but, whistling nonetheless.

It's bonus season downtown, and the figures are in. Wall Street will pat itself on the back to the tune of more than $33 billion. That's $33 billion of compensation that goes above and beyond their regular salaries.

Wall Street helped create the bundles and instruments that made risky mortgages seem like a fail safe idea.

And guess what? It was fail safe...for them.

By Harry Smith