For Cantor, there's not really much downside.
He's making a lot more money.
According to a filing with the SEC noted by Business Insider, Moelis will pay Cantor $400,000 in base salary this year and next, with a bonus of $400,000 in 2014 plus $1,000,000 in restricted stock units. The base salary alone compares very favorably with his salary as a member of Congress, which was less than half that amount. The total sum, including the bonus, is more than 26 times the average household income of the district he used to represent.
He'll be working for a more popular institution.
Eric Cantor will be one of the few people to enter the finance industry from an institution that Americans actually hold in lower regard. Over the years, Americans' confidence in banks and big business has slipped -- but not nearly as fast as their confidence in Congress has fallen, according to Gallup.
Gallup's 2014 survey found that Congress continued to be the American institution that had the lowest confidence ratings. Cantor had nowhere to go but up; even going to work for an internet news site or a newspaper would have been an improvement.
He's going to an industry that's been generous to him for a long time.
When we noted that it wasn't a surprise where Cantor ended up, that's in large part because of Cantor's history of support from the finance industry. Contributions to his campaigns and leadership PAC from that sector have increased over the years, peaking in the 2011-2012 election cycle. (It's likely that 2014 would have passed that number if, you know, Cantor had won his primary.)
Between 2011 and 2012, Cantor got $1.57 million from security firm employees and PACs. Between 2014 and 2015, he'll get more than $3 million, all of which is his to spend as he pleases, at a job that people look down on less than leading the majority party in a branch of Congress.
Whether or not David Brat will receive a thank-you note remains to be seen.