PerspectivesBy Brian Vroman The Wall Street Casino There has been much discussion of late regarding the size of the federal deficit.At the same time, many states are struggling with budget problems. Due to lack ofrevenue, infrastructure is not being improved as it should, college tuitions arerising, and teachers and other public employees face layoffs. But let’s not kid ourselves – the wealth needed to alleviate such problems exists. Recently, the New York Times reported that bonus payments to fat cats “for allbanks and Wall Street firms” for 2009 will total an astonishing – and obscene –200 billion dollars. What! People are losing their jobs and struggling to pay for healthcare costswhile wealthy bankers are awarding themselves amounts of lucre that would makeCroesus jealous? William Jennings Bryan must be rolling over in his grave. And as always, there is the Republican cry of “no new taxes!” Well – we wouldn’twant to put these people out in any way. Imagine if these poor folks onlyreceived 100 billion in bonuses. Whatever would they do? But speaking of taxes: it turns out that some of the most powerful Wall Streetbanks will actually be receiving tax breaks for paying such richly undeservedbonuses. The Times reports: “The biggest tax break will go to Goldman Sachs. It expects to award its employees$23 billion in bonuses — the most in its history — after having paid back $10billion [In federal bailout money]. Because most employee compensation is adeductible expense under tax laws, Goldman Sachs, which is technically taxed at atop corporate rate of 39 percent, will save about $9 billion in federal incometaxes on the bonuses it pays out for 2009.” (The Times cites as its sourceanalyst Robert Willens). Overall, according to the Times report, the three biggest Wall Street bankingfirms – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley will receive $20billion in tax breaks for employee bonuses.