We Americans are a generous people. In the days after the devastating Haitian earthquake, we whipped out our credit cards and donated millions to relieve that stricken, jinxed nation.
But until Thursday, when the Huffington Post got wind of the practices, the major credit companies (including Visa, Discover, MasterCard and American Express) were skimming three percent off the top in processing fees. Only some of that money covered actual costs of the transactions, it was reported; the rest was pure profit.
Since then , the companies have suspended transaction fees on some donations to the most prominent charities, and this selfless act made us ponder what a truly great country we live in. After all, our leading financial institutions have recently undergone their own Haitian earthquake, and for them to forgo what is rightfully theirs is truly heroic.
Consider the facts:
Bonuses are way down, and the American people cry like babies whenever they hear about some hard-working Master of the Universe scratching and clawing his way to that $40 million check he earned even amid financial crisis. Those guys had to lay off thousands of people, invent many bizarre financial instruments and foreclose on hundreds of homes to earn that money.
Many Big Apple bankers have had to sell their front-row Hamptons beach houses for pennies on the dollar and move as many as three rows back. Adieu, seaside champagne sunrises!
Others have had to give pink slips to their English nannies and butlers and replace them with Caribbean islanders and Central Americans. Can you imagine?
No doubt after hearing such tales of woe, many of you will want to donate far more than a mere three percent of the money you had intended to send to Haitian earthquake victims to distressed Wall Street bankers.
Did you know that your donation of just $15,000 -- that's just 15 Starbucks Venti Iced Coffees per day -- can buy one gown for a Wall Street trophy wife to wear to one function?
For the price of one meal per day at some tacky little barbecue joint like the Capitol Grille, you can provide one impoverished Wall Street banker with a gun-toting ex-cop to drive his limo and provide security from the envious rabble.
And for roughly the price of leasing a fleet of ten BMWs, you can help a distressed banker make the $240,000 yearly nut on that Southampton summer home. We're not talking a palace here, people, just a little cottage where he or she can collect his head and think up more ideas like skimming off the top of our charitable donations to people less worthy than them.
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