So What If Wall Street Bonuses Drop 10 Percent?

Wall Street bonuses this winter may be less than last winter’s, but so what?

Even if bouses drop 10 percent–as state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli predicted yesterday–that would still mean that 2007′s total would be higher than every year’s total except for 2006, when bonuses hit a record total of $23.9 million. Really, now, would a bonus season of $21 billion or thereabouts be so bad?

Politicians think so. Or, at least, they say they think so. This reporter woke up this morning to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on the radio warning of the dire effects of a slightly lower bonus season, particularly on real estate.

But, remember, there’s no direct connection between Wall Street bonuses and the New York housing market. The Observer noted this a couple of weeks back.

Also, could Speaker Quinn and other politicians’ concerns be tied to the fact that it’s budget-making time in the city? The Bloomberg administration is scheduled to present its proposed fiscal 2009 budget in January. They can’t give everything to every constituency so… cue the slightly lower bonuses as scapegoat maybe?

Anyway, the Wall Street Journal noted today that this year’s bonus season, while likely not spectacular, will not be all that bad. We couldn’t find it online, but here’s the money (heh) quote from the print edition:

Despite the well-publicized blowups at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bear Stearns Cos. and significant write-downs elsewhere, profits on Wall Street held up better than some expected during the worst days of the credit crunch that began this summer. That means bonuses aren’t likely to be as damaged as some predicted.