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State of the Union focuses on minimum wage: Bank employee suicides more alarming

Canary Wharf financial district in London, where one investment banker plunged to his death this month.
Canary Wharf financial district in London, where one investment banker plunged to his death this month.
Wikimedia Commons

Rumor was that President Obama would talk about the economic inequality between the classes in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, which would have likely brought up the issue of Wall Street and big banks again. But NPR reports on Jan. 29 that the focus was more on the minimum wage of federal workers instead, which Speaker of the House John Boehner pointed out will only "impact future contracts with the federal government," not those people contracted to work for Uncle Sam now.

Economic inequality may have been the main topic many hoped the president would address before the nation in his second term speech, and it should have been if it would have shined a brighter light on banking practices that appear to be driving employees to suicide.

CNBC is blowing a whistle on the odd deaths within the financial corridors of the world, and their most recent disclosure on the topic involves the death plunge at the JP Morgan tower in London. A 33-year-old named Gabriel Magee fell to his death from the 33-story building on Tuesday. He had been employed with JP Morgan since 2004 and held the title of vice president in their corporate and investment banking technology department.

Magee's body landed on a 9th floor roof of the building, where it lay there for a lengthy period of time according to one building employee, who could view the scene below him from his office window.

For a long time the body was left cordoned and unattended. Weird," Hetal V. Patel tweeted.

Unfortunately, the death plunge in London's Canary Wharf financial district isn't the first dead banking employee news to make the rounds this week. On Sunday, Jan. 26, police found 58-year-old William Broeksmit hanging in his South Kensington home. Broeksmit was a former senior executive with Deutsche Bank AG. Police believe it was a suicide, according to the Business Insider.

In another bank-related death, an employee based in the UK and employed at Swiss RE AG died last week. No public announcement has been made to the cause of his death yet. And in August of 2013, in London, a Bank of America 21-year-old intern mysteriously died after working consecutive all-nighters. Moritz Erhardt was found dead in his shower of his East London dormitory. The former valedictorian from Germany was completing a 7-week internship in London at the time.

Police in London are treating his death as a "non-suspicious" death too, as they currently feel is the case with the death plunge on Tuesday, Jan. 28 of Gabriel Magee, who died at the JP Morgan tower where he worked in London.

CNBC says there have been more odd bank-related deaths, which include a Bank of America exchange manager jumping in front of a train in 2012, and in the same year another banking employee jumped from a seventh-floor restaurant.

Raising the minimum wage of federal workers to $10.10 an hour, as President Obama recommended in his State of the Union address seems less important a focus than finding out why bank employees are dying in droves.

And that's especially true when one considers the minimum wage hike isn't for the average citizen, who needs it. It is for the employee hired through federal contracts--and only for those contract workers hired in the future, not those working for the federal government today.

Are investment banking employees under undue stress and working conditions that warrant federal intervention? Or is the economic climate in 2014 too similar to that of the Great Depression, when an equal number of bank investment employees plunged to their deaths too?

Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.

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