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Six Infuriating Statistics (With GIFs to Match) Help Explain Recklessness of Wall Street Bonus Culture

"The total bonus pool for 176,900 Wall Street employees was 2.5 times the combined annual earnings of all 884,000 U.S. full-time minimum wage workers."

Executives from the financial institutions who received TARP funds, Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase & Co Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, The Bank of New York Mellon CEO Robert P. Kelly, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and State Street Corporation CEO and Chairman Ronald Logue testify in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It can often be difficult to effectively capture how vast the gulf between wealthy executives and low-income Americans truly is, but the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) attempted to do just that on Monday with the help of newly released Wall Street data and a handful of expressive GIFs.

"The average Wall Street Bonus was $184,220, while the typical “tax reform” bonus was $1,000."
—Institute for Policy Studies

According to numbers (pdf) from the New York State Comptroller's office, total bonuses for 176,900 Wall Street employees totaled $31.4 billion in 2017. Demonstrating how paltry the pay of low-income workers is by comparison, IPS estimates that this Wall Street "bonus pool" is 2.5 times larger than the annual earnings of every minimum-wage employee in the U.S. combined.

Sarah Anderson, executive compensation expert at IPS, noted in a statement on Monday that this massive bonus pool is "disturbing" both because it contributes significantly to America's economic inequality—which is at its highest point since the Great Depression—and because it is "a sign that the reckless Wall Street bonus culture which contributed to the 2008 financial crisis continues to flourish."

In a series of tweets on Monday, IPS further fleshed out the new Wall Street bonus data, contrasting it in a variety of ways with the income of most American workers, and using matching GIFs to express a mixture of astonishment, frustration, and outrage.

Since 2009, the average Wall Street Bonus has increased 31 percent, from $140,620 to $184,220, while the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour:

The total bonus pool for 176,900 Wall Street employees was 2.5 times the combined annual earnings of all 884,000 U.S. full-time minimum wage workers:

The 2017 bonus pool holds enough dollars to lift the pay of all of the country’s 3.2 million restaurant servers and bartenders up to $15 per hour:

The average Wall Street Bonus was $184,220, while the typical "tax reform" bonus was $1,000:

"While we're still waiting for the Wall Street pay reforms in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to be implemented, Congress is busy deregulating the financial industry":

The 2017 Wall Street bonus pool holds enough money to lift the pay of all 3.4 million fast food workers to $15 per hour:

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