"Last week, JP Morgan Chase launched the 2010 Wall Street Bonus Sweepstakes. The bank is still losing money on consumer services, but well-heeled investors and financial traders more than made up the difference. The bank announced $11.7 billion in profits and $26.9 billion in compensation, including bonuses that will run in the multimillions for the top executives. Goldman Sachs reported record profits of $13.4 billion, and is set to dole out a staggering $16.2 billion in compensation and bonuses, which could provide an average of nearly $500,000 per employee. And Morgan Stanley, even having sustained a loss in 2009, has set aside $14.4 billion for compensation and bonuses.
Then there's Roberto Velasquez -- the other face of the foreclosure crisis.
Mr. Velasquez, a general contractor, bought a single-family home in Dedham, Massachusetts six years ago. Unfortunately, his mortgage turned out to be a predatory time bomb. After a few affordable years, the interest rate on his adjustable-rate mortgage ballooned and his payments rose to $4,800 a month. He kept up though; until the Wall Street crash knocked the stuffing out of the construction industry. Then he fell three months behind.
Mr. Velasquez found jobs and came up with the three months' payments, but the bank wouldn't work with him. His home was foreclosed on in November. A local bank offered to buy the home and sell it back to Mr. Velasquez for its present market value, which is the most his bank would get for the house if they sold it at auction. Still no deal. 'We did what they asked,' says Mr. Velasquez, 'but they don't want to work with anybody.' [...]"
Read the full op-ed by Mike Prokosch on CommonDreams.org.