The regulatory community hardly enjoys a distinguished track record in the measuring of risk. The truth is, all the regulators in the subprime debacle were caught asleep at the switch, but cannot be blamed completely. A well-intentioned government bureaucrat is no match for the kind of creative and clever market wizards, and their lawyers, who begin searching for legal means around any regulatory constraint the instant the regulations are put in place. Today a senior Securities and Exchange Commission officer earns between $143,000 and $216,000 per year. Even junior executive decision-makers at Goldman Sachs garner annual compensation packages in the millions of dollars. In 2006 average Goldman employee compensation was $622,000, with some administrative assistants and secretaries earning more than $200,000.
—From The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy by David M. Smick, Portfolio/Penguin. Copyright © David M. Smick, 2008.