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Federal Reserve Under Fire

The anger our Readers Who Comment have expressed about financial bailouts in general and bonuses for AIG executives in particular exceeds anything I have seen in 22 months of reviewing comments. They're really steamed today about David Cho's and Michael D. Shear's report that Federal Reserve officials knew for months about the bonuses but failed to tell the Obama administration.

Many readers don't believe that, period. There are several calls for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Tiimothy F. Geithner and some suggest Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke should go. Comment writers who have been largely silent since the presidential election have reappeared to assert that this is proof that President Obama is too inexperienced for the job at best and dissembling at worst when he says he didn't know about the bonuses.

Several writers don't believe that Obama wasn't told and think the Post is in the tank for the administration. And there is a strong populist undercurrent to all of this from folks who can't imagine lifetime incomes approaching Wall Street bonuses.

rudya1 filed the first comment and pretty much set the tone in writing, "Geithner did not want to stop this because he has enjoyed so many nice dinners with the AIG executives."

mbmclaughlin said, "If this is true, I want to be reading tomorrow about employees of the Fed being fired. No more tolerance of incompetence."

playfair109 wrote, "I knew about the bonuses .... and you're telling me obama didn't. C'mon, that strains credulity to the max to believe that one."

d-seid said, "If what is recounted in this article is true, what stands out is the inherent arrogance of Obama's economic advisors. They were caught totally of guard by the intensity of the publics rage because they are totally clueless of how the ordinary public lives and views these multimillion dollar compensation packages..."

But JoeBridgeman wrote, "so, geithner by himself at treasury is supposed to do 1000 things, and keep an eyes on the aig bonus. what an absurd idea. where have congress been? where is the so-called "oversight" commission that we suppose to have? hey congress, stop blaming people. do your job!..."

Bellamia said, "...Obama "didn't know" that his close friend and pastor was a racist. that his friend and fundraiser Rezko was a crook. that his friend and political partner Bill Ayers was an unrepentant terrorist... So now it becomes apparent that neither Obama, nor anyone on his staff, nor the cabinet secretary read the bill. This is laziness, and incompetence."

But KD11 wrote, "With everything that Obama has had on his plate he is doing a pretty good job. Yes this is a screw up on someones part, but no one here that is making these comments about how Obama should have known this and done that has a clue about life. Our previous administration... went to war on misinformation and hundreds of thousands of people died..."

anitapreer said, "This is a much more fact oriented report than the other rumors that have been spreading over the MSM. It makes sense. Where is Summers in all this? I believe he has a lot of power. I believe Bernake acts on his own pretty much. I also believe in the great scheme of things this is a distraction, trying to take the blame away from AIG and put it on the Obama Administration..."

But ii00 wrote, "This article is a national disgrace. You can't go out of business fast enough."

DONJOEL1 said, "Geithner needs to be thrown under the bus. He is not quick enough to be Secretary of the Treasury. I don't blame him for the AIG debacle, but this guy looks like he's the veritable deer caught in the headlights."

duke1033@yahoo.com added that "Bernanke needs to go."

And gce1356 said, "I wanted to like Geithner at first, but now I think he and Fed Chairman Bernanke are both just part of the problem: too close to Wall Street."

Broadcaster wrote, "As a business manager you learn very quickly that the people you choose to hire determine your success or failure. I like Obama but his inexperience is a glaring weakness. He is not on the campaign trail anymore...this is the real thing!"

bobv1 wrote, "We should give the AIG boneheads that took bonuses the option to return 100 percent of it, or the American people have the right to know who they are and have their names listed on the web and reported via the media. Their family could lovingly discuss their options, and make a joint decision to either keep their dirty money or risk their family security, it is their choice..."

clarity2 asked, "...Why are we on this Washington witch hunt to try to pin someone to the wall? Geithner didn't write the contracts and won't profit from one bonus. Obama just learned about the bonuses. The Republcan machine is trying to gain some steam on this one. But it won't go anywhere. Americans were t'd off about the bonuses, not about who knew about them and didn't tell us."

But TexRancher said, "Give me a break! Obama didn't know? He is either 1) Incompetant [or] 2) lying about it[.] Pick one..."

The story said that "Fed officials did not anticipate the political firestorm that would erupt over the bonuses," and we'll close with khoreia's comment on that: "of course they didn't. The Fed prints up money like it's confection paper. They all knew. All of them. They just don't care. All of them. Because they don't work for us, the citizens of the United States, they work for the zillionaires of the world..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  March 19, 2009; 7:46 AM ET
Categories:  Bailout , Economy Watch , Obama  | Tags: AIG, Federal Reserve, bailout  
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Next: Is Bonus Takeback Legal?

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