(fixes typo in third paragraph)
Talk about the end of the salad days. The White House is pledging action against “irresponsible” bonuses for executives at bailed-out Wall Street companies and Senator Claire McCaskill has proposed a law to cap their compensation to $400,000 a year.
Masters of Wall Street should not make more money than the president of the United States, she argues, at least not until they wean themselves from government aid. So what’s a Wall Street executive to do on only $400,000 a year? Here are some ideas – precluding paying rent, buying food, putting gas in the car or getting the poodle a trim:
REAL ESTATE: Thank goodness the property market crash has opened some affordability gaps for the newly upper-middle-class executive. The prospective banking executive could pick up a one bedroom, one bathroom co-op condo on West 45th street, or see if she could get a mortgage on Bernard Madoff’s Montauk $3.3 million East Hampton estate. In this market? Unlikely. Plus, agents will tell you the market price is actually much higher. Pity.
OFFICE OR HOME DECORATION: He could spend a year’s salary on four painted portraits of billionaire investor Warren Buffet. In May, performance artist Michael Israel painted a portrait of the head of Berkshire Hathaway in 10 minutes flat. Six months later, a Minneapolis executive bought it for $100,000 in an eBay auction, with the proceeds going to the non-profit Girls Inc program.
PARTY PARTY PARTY: The future titan of Wall Street may not be able to afford Rod Stewart, who played at Steve Schwarzman’s big birthday bash in 2007 for $1 million, but he could gorge on 10,000 or so of the Blackstone chief’s favorite crab claws, which were going for $40 per claw back in the heyday of high finance.