I could be wrong, but I believe I keep hearing in the news that Wall Street was going to be punished for excessive profits - by regulations and by Czars in the Obama administration. First of all, I am not sure that I would punish Wall Street at all without knowing a great deal more. And if I did, I would use a scalpel so to speak rather than some huge change. In my mind, yes, recessions hurt the US, but to me Wall Street seems only responsible of one or so of the last three recessions.
But given all of that, information from the Wall Street Journal on October 11th, 2010 showed Wall Street pay and compensation set new records each of the two years, 2009, and 2010, of the Obama administration. The below graph I lifted directly from the online Wall Street Journal. But since compensation on it was hard to read, I broke the data it says out in a separate graph below so you can see how large 2009 and 2010 was.
What is going on? Well, I myself am not sure. I know I have read at least one article that implies that what you hear publicly may be different than what goes on privately. What that article implied (I can no longer find the one I remember) is that what goes on privately is that Washington yells publicly at Wall Street, then the Wall Street people leave quietly but leave a party contribution on the table, and then everyone goes on as they did before. I cannot say that that is correct. But of course the data above seems to say that Wall Street during a recession is doing better than most of us and getting raises. There certainly should be a story in there somewhere.