Daily Ticker

Charity begins in the mansions of the 1%: Then there's Deeb Salem...

Breaking news!! There's an upside to the rich getting richer: charitable giving hit a record $335.17 billion last year, up 4.4% from 2012 and about 8% above the pre-crisis peak of $311 billion.

According to the annual report from Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School, the record-setting giving was driven by donations from individuals, which rose 4.2% to $230.91 billion.

Individual giving looks even more impressive compared with the stinginess of the corporate sector, where giving dropped 1.9% in 2013 to a (relatively) paltry $18.22 billion. This despite record profits for the S&P 500. If corporations really are people too, this puts them deep into Ebenezer Scrooge territory.

Still, congratulations to those wealthy Americans who've given until it helps.

Then there's Deeb Salem, a former Goldman Sachs trader who is suing the Wall Street firm because his 2010 bonus wasn't big enough.

Salem's bonus was a mere $8.25 million and he thought he was due at least $13 million, according to transcripts of an arbitration hearing, Bloomberg reports. In total, Salem is seeking more than $16 million in additional pay from Goldman, including deferred stock.

“Let’s be very clear: I was one of the most sought-after investment professionals in the mortgage industry,” Salem said in the hearing. “I had the opportunity throughout the course of my career...from almost every month that I was at Goldman, to leave for other opportunities.”

Yes, you did, Mr. Salem. And Goldman had the discretion to pay you what it felt appropriate.

Salem hasn't found much sympathy for his campaign --  one member of the arbitration panel called his case “bull----.”

Considering his group made Goldman over $7 billion by shorting the housing market just before the bubble burst in 2008, it's not surprising there isn't a mass movement to help the trader get what he thinks is coming. More especially because Salem is only 35, received a $15 million bonus in 2009 (more than Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein made that year) and has already made more money than most working Americans will earn in a lifetime.

The only surprise here is that "one of the most sought-after investment professionals in the mortgage industry" doesn't seem understand how the free market works...or that senior executives at Goldman might have (ahem) misled him about how big his bonus would be.

Live by the vampire squid, die by the vampire squid.

Previously on The Excess Files:

Aaron Task is the host of The Daily Ticker and Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter at @aarontask or email him at altask@yahoo.com.

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