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Goldman Bonuses: Collateral Damage

Stocks in this article: MS BAC C

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Goldman Sachs' (GS) executives deserve big bonuses, but those at most other banks do not.

That looks to be the message from Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of the mighty vampire squid, judging from comments he made at a banking conference in Frankfurt.

According to a Bloomberg report, Blankfein said multi-year contracts should be banned, and "clawbacks" should be instituted to stop executives from taking outsized risks with shareholder capital. No more setting the house on fire and walking away with the loot, in other words.

This is good news for shareholders everywhere, and it won't make much difference to Goldman, which doesn't often make mistakes. Paying its executives heavily in stock, as Blankfein proposes, ought to work out fine for them, as Goldman's stock pretty much only goes up anyway.

It is less good news for executives at Goldman competitors like Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and especially ones like American International Group (AIG) and Citigroup (C), who have a record of screwing up and are owned largely by taxpayers.

The same can be said for the few legacy Merrill Lynch bankers still at Bank of America (BAC). BofA is in trouble with New York Attorney general Andrew Cuomo, in part for failing to tell shareholders about bonuses paid to the Merrill bankers.

What a selfish guy, that Blankfein, suggesting bankers should actually have to make money for the companies they work for, rather than just for having fancy resumes! Is this the end of capitalism as we know it? Doubtful, but let's hope so.

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