RealityThe original reason behind my family’s migration back to Portland was so that I could attend culinary school at the Oregon Culinary Institute. However, this never happened not because I slacked, but because a private educational loan I applied for with a viable co-signer was turned down. Mind you, this loan was one quarter the amount of a loan I was approved for a year prior to attend another culinary school (which I ended up declining for a swath of personal reasons). What it essentially comes down to, though, is bad timing. I applied as September came crashing down on the U.S. economy. As life has it, I’m not so chapped by the outcome as I’ve gotten a very decent new job and my college education seems to be taking root in other forms. It does pique my interest, though, to hear what these bankers had to say today in front of the House Financial Services Committee.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Pandit, the head of Citigroup, pledged to cut his salary to $1 a year until the bank returned to profitability and took personal responsibility for the “mistake” of even thinking about buying a new $50 million private jet after getting government financing. “I get the new reality, and I will make sure Citi gets it as well,” he declared.

Mr. Pandit, the “new reality” as you chose to call it (in a phrase, downsizing our own finances to barely scraping by levels) is actually the life-long reality for the majority of us.

Mr. Lewis of Bank of America, who occasionally grew testy and red-faced at questions about lending, told lawmakers that his bank had “every incentive to lend.”

I have every incentive to provide a comfortable life for my family, Mr. Lewis, but, sorry, reality kicks you in the ass sometimes and it’s your ass that has the target affixed to it for once.

The final quote rings with an air of populist realism, a sentiment that most of us feel, unless we’re sure that we’re going to be “rich” in the next couple years like Joe the Plumber did, facing the disparate realities of these bankers compared to your average American:

Louann Prosack, a retiree from Jessup, Md., said she traveled to Washington to understand why Wall Street workers were being paid so much, even as their companies foundered.

“It’s coming out of other people’s pockets, the money,” Ms. Prosack said. “And they say they can’t live on their $150,000 salary. That’s more than I ever made in a year, and I managed.”

Keep crying, banking CEOs. The new reality might just mean you have to live in a five bedroom house instead of that compound you’re used too.

Cry me a river.