How To Sell A Bonus

With Goldman Sachs announcing a big third quarter this morning, a day after JPMorgan Chase announced an even bigger third quarter, there’s likely to be some “retention payments” made this holiday season.

Last year, Goldman dodged the public uproar by simply not giving bonuses. But with profits on the rebound, and the balance sheet back where it usually is, not paying up is apparently not an option.

The WSJ says Goldman is already plotting exactly how it can break some sizable bonus numbers to an increasinly unemployed public. So they’re having CEO Lloyd Blankfein–whose 2007 bonus was a record-breaking $68 million–talk about when he sold peanuts at Yankee Stadium.  And maybe they’ll give some money to charity, since people seem to like charities.

How will it play?

One expert quoted by the WSJ, who thinks the public won’t much like the news, went for the obligatory “lipstick on a pig” metaphor. There will be grumbling, of course, and no shortage of editorials, I imagine, but will it reach that fever pitch we got to with A.I.G. last year?

Given the role Attorney General Andrew Cuomo played in that drama, perhaps Goldman should also be plotting how to break the news to him as well.

One person who already isn’t happy: Matt Taibbi, who thinks the press is already going soft on the financial giants.

How To Sell A Bonus