How many time do you have to poke someone in the eye before they get the message? Well, when it is the taxpayer's eye that is being poked it seems to be never.

Despite the obvious global distaste for large bonuses for bankers at this time, Goldman Sachs (GS) opened its vaults in 2010 gave its staff a cool £9.6 billion ($15.4 billion). On average (GS) staff earned £268,000 in pay and bonuses each last year.

The TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber said "Goldman Sachs has stuck two fingers up to austerity Britain by shelling out mega bonuses again" and called on the UK government to use the next G20 meeting to address the issue. And just recently the EU internal markets commissioner, Michel Garnier, said that "Banks need morality or ethics, which would imply moderation in bonuses".

The bonuses to the banks 'rainmakers', although 5% less than the previous 2009 pot, were paid despite revenues falling by 13% after a very sharp 52% drop off in business in the final quarter of 2010. That resulted in the share of revenues paid out to staff rising from 35.8% in 2009 to 39.3% in 2010.

But despite all this the government seem content to sit on their hands giving the poor old ordinary Joe a feeling that he's somehow being shafted after all the bail-outs. And as there's nothing he can do he can't react to another poke in the eye.

In the UK of course these bonuses should be taxed at the highest rate possible of 50%, but if they are anything like our top footballers then that is highly unlikely. "The players are spending tens of thousands for these bespoke services. But they are saving millions in return so it is money well spent" (Mirror). The difference is that no-one seems to begrudge football stars (or film stars and top singers etc for that matter) their wealth whatever the result or the state of the economy.

But when it comes to entities like that which some call the 'vampire squid' Goldman Sachs, then that's different isn't it?

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