Quick Hit Ellyn Fortino Monday April 20th, 2015, 6:37pm

Report: 2014 Wall Street Bonuses Were Double The Earnings Of 1 Million Low-Wage Workers

recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that Wall Street employees received $28.5 billion in combined bonuses last year.

That works out to be double the collective annual earnings of the more than one million full-time U.S. workers who made the federal minimum wage in 2014. At the national level, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25.

The $28.5 billion in bonuses was spread out among 167,800 Wall Street bank employees, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

"The size of the [2014 Wall Street] bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage," reads the report, "Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers."

Bonuses awarded last year to Wall Street employees, which come on top of their base salaries, were up 3 precent over 2013, IPS found. Those working for Wall Street banks got the bonuses the same year industry profits fell 4.5 percent.

For its report, IPS analyzed data from the New York State Comptroller's office and U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to IPS' calculations, the $28.5 billion in Wall Street bonuses is greater than the cost of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for either 2.9 million restaurant servers and bartenders, 2.2 million fast food employees, or 1.5 million home care workers.

"If the $28.5 billion Wall Streeters pulled in on bonuses in 2014 had gone to minimum wage workers instead, our GDP would have grown by about $34.5 billion, over triple the $11.1 billion boost expected from the Wall Street bonuses," writes report author Sarah Anderson, director of IPS' Global Economy Project.

The report notes that Wall Street pay reforms outlined in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act prohibiting "financial industry pay packages that encourage "inappropriate risk" still have yet to be implemented by regulators.

"It's too early to tell whether last year's bonuses were based on high-risk gambles that could blow up our economy again," Anderson said in a statement. "But the flourishing of the Wall Street bonus culture while worker wages are stagnating is clearly a sign of perverse priorities in Washington."


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