Responding to recent controversy in the blogosphere over the headline "GDP of Haiti: $8.5 billion. Goldman Sachs bonus pool: $20 billion," leaders in the faith community have presented a "modest proposal" to Goldman Sachs executives, asking the financial moguls to send half of their bonuses to relief agencies aiding in the Haiti crisis.
Theologian George Hunsinger of Princeton University and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC) Michael Kinnamon drafted the proposal – the title of which refers to a 1729 satirical essay suggesting that starving Irish people should eat their kids –which said that the Haiti disaster has given Goldman Sachs an "unequalled opportunity" to show "a simple act of generosity…one that would do much to allay the controversy on everyone's lips."
"By donating just half of their bonuses to Haitian relief, they will outmatch the Haitian GDP, and improve not only their image but their tax liability," the faith leaders said, noting that such a donation would surpass President Obama's $100 million pledge to Haiti one hundred fold.
The leaders went on to suggest Church World Service (CWS), an NCC affiliated relief organization, as a faithful administer of the donated bonus cash, saying that CWS "could ensure that reconstruction is not just a return to pre-earthquake squalor, but an enduring monument to the bankers' unprecedented liberality."
"What the Haitians obviously need most is massive humanitarian relief. They need food, water, medical supplies," the proposal says. "They need shelter and physical reconstruction. Over the longer term they need renewed and expanded educational facilities; and not least, indigenous control over their offshore oil and other mineral riches."
Vice president of Haiti shipping lines Richard Dubin chimed in with Hunsinger and Kinnamon's remarks saying that, "Without a major upgrade in the global response, future generations may look back with horror."
"Ten billion dollars could make an inestimable difference. So could eight billion-half of the recently scaled-down bonus figure. A golden opportunity is knocking for Goldman Sachs," Dubin said.