When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

“Badly Paid” American Banker Struggles To Live Down Woe-Is-Me Interview

Americans are having a field day with Andrew Schiff, a Wall Street banker who complained in an interview with Bloomberg about his “paltry” $350,000-a-year salary. Says Schiff: “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.”

Protesters at Berlin's Reichstag (cadillacdeville2000)
Protesters at Berlin's Reichstag (cadillacdeville2000)
Martin Greive

It all started when 46-year-old marketing director of Euro Pacific Capital, a global investment strategies company, was on his way back from speaking at a conference in California -- and got caught in traffic. This traffic situation was the last straw; he wasn't going to take it anymore. He found himself getting out of the car and screaming profanities.

In a later interview, Andrew Schiff said he was already seething because of a reduced bonus. His basic pay -- $350,000 per year – was peanuts. Net, he brought $200,000 home. As a result, he can't send his kids to private school anymore. He has to make do with his 111-square-meter (1,195-square-foot) apartment in Brooklyn the way it is – no upgrade in the cards now. And his family will only be able to rent the summer place for one month this year instead of the usual four.

Spilling the beans like that to a Bloomberg reporter is probably something Schiff wishes he hadn't done. Americans have been having a very public field day with his words since the interview was published. In this election year, when the growing divide between rich and poor is a central theme, Schiff has become a symbol for the unbridled greed of the financial sector.

If Schiff's bonus was cut, so were the bonuses of many Wall Street bankers – "only" $20 billion were distributed for 2011, 14% less than during the preceding year. But by comparison to the 51% collapse of profits on Wall Street, the cuts seem modest.

"The poor guy..."

Many Americans would like to have the problem Schiff complains of. Newspapers and blogs were quick to mock him -- this "poor" member of the 1% highest earners in the country that the Occupy movement "99%" has been protesting against for weeks. The salaries of many Americans have gone down in the past few years. The average salary – after adjusting for inflation -- is $50,000, well less than a fourth of what Schiff earns.

Plenty of fun is being had at Schiff's expense on Twitter too. "Does anybody have Andrew Schiff's bank account number? I'd like to transfer my last euros to the poor guy," wrote one tweeter.

Schiff is now trying his darnedest to redress the faux pas. He's been calling journalists and telling them he just meant to illustrate how high the cost of living is in New York.

He's not wrong there: according to the Center for an Urban Future, a New Yorker needs to earn $123,000 a year to be counted among the middle class. Pre-schools can cost up to $30,000 a year, and private schools an easy $40,000. Even upper-middle-class Americans find these sums tough to shoulder.

"The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach," Schiff told the reporter. Many New Yorkers would agree with him.

However, Schiff's defense strategy isn't really making things much better. Honing his "poor me" persona, he told a Washington Post reporter: "I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."

Read the original story in German

Photo - cadillacdeville2000

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ