Wall Street’s case for being more accommodating to bankers

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A New York Times op-ed that asks the government to play nicer with Wall Street has set the comments section on fire.

The piece was penned by Kathryn Wilde, president of the advocacy group Partnership for New York City, a non-profit that includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, among others, as its fund investors. Wilde made the case that the financial services industry is critical to New York's economy and that the government is doing its best to push good jobs out of state and country.

Wilde says that New York City has lost 25,000 financial services jobs over the last three years. And they are not just high-earners. Fifty-one percent make less than $100,000 a year, according to her numbers. Financial jobs make up just 8% of total employment in New York yet account for 20% of Gross City Product (GCP). When you include industries that rely on Wall Street to create jobs, financial services companies account for 62% of private-sector wages in the city, she said.

So what does she (read: Wall Street) want? To eliminate the 6% rent surcharge on large commercial tenants, lower the corporate tax rate on patent-related income, reduce the role of the pesky NYS Department of Financial Services and to "dial back" personal income tax rates on high earners. Wilde also went on Bloomberg TV to ask for a "less hostile political environment" that "rails against big institutions" that employ many New Yorkers.

Some of her arguments are certainly valid. Banks are indeed moving jobs out of New York to less expensive locales like Salt Lake City and overseas. But that trend will likely continue even if all her initiatives are accepted. With the cost of living and doing business in New York, it just doesn't make sense to house most back office jobs in the city.

Either way, the commenters were none-to-pleased with her arguments. "Gosh, I left my violin and handkerchief at home! Poor babies, some of them making, shudder, less than $100,000.00 a year," one wrote. "Wow. A stunning example of how out of touch and totally disconnected Wall Street and its champions are from the rest of NY and the country. Remind me again who caused the financial crisis?" another added. Those were some that were fit to print.

If you can take anything away from Wilde's research (click here) and op-ed, it's that banks are still being demonized. Main Street isn't ready for a Wall Street advocate on the front page of their paper.


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