Bank of America hiding inside inside information about Merrill Lynch losses. What I did know was that a reprehensible miracle had occurred on December 29th when John Thain, top dog at Merrill Lynch, conjured up $4 billion in bonuses for all his little elves. It was their reward for leading the powerful brokerage to the brink of bankruptcy: the company had lost more than $27 billion last year. Thain made sure his busy little helpers got their due by rushing the bonuses through a few days before he turned the company over to Bank of America. The government (that's us) agreed to guarantee almost $100 billion in losses on Bank of America's bad assets -- most of them coming from Merrill Lynch.