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Obama: Big Wall Street Bonuses 'Shameful'

President Obama directly delivered his message on executive bonuses to Wall Street moments ago from the White House: Stop them now.

"I saw an article today that indicated Wall Street bankers had given themselves $20 billion worth of bonuses ($18.4 billion, actually, according to New York comptroller)," Obama said. "That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful."

Obama said the bonus figure was the same Wall Street bankers gave themselves in 2004, when times were going well.

"Part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, some discipline and some sense of responsibility," Obama said. "The American people understand we've got a big hole we've got to dig ourselves out of. They don't like people digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up," he said, working both ends of the metaphor.

"There will be a time for them to make profits and a time for them to get bonuses," Obama said. "This is not that time."

Even as Obama spoke, financial institutions trading on Wall Street lost share price.

He added a stern warning: "That is the message I intend to send directly to them and expect Secretary [Tim] Geithner to send to them. He already had to pull back one institution that had gone forward with a multi-million dollar jet plane purchase while receiving [bailout] funds," confirming earlier reports that Geithner had told CItigroup -- which has received government bailout money -- to pull the plug on a $50 million jet purchase.

"They should know better," Obama said. "We shouldn't have to make them do that."

This is far-reaching ground Obama and Geithner are treading on -- telling private companies where they may set their bonuses and other compensation.

If you doubt Obama's seriousness on this issue, watch for yourself.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CIti, Geithner, Obama, executive compensation  
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Next: 'Naked' Swaps on the Hot Seat


Nationalize all industries and banks
execute all Wall Street Executives
imprison all Republicans
Power to the People!
Change Now!

Posted by: pgr88 | January 29, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

It is not at all "far reaching". Try to get a loan from those banks sometime and see if they put any conditions on you. If you have a business, try to get money from a venture capitalist and see what conditions they put on you.

Should the government be loaning money at all? hmn, now that may be where we're "far reaching"

Posted by: mikem1 | January 29, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama is right on target. A recession (or depression) means switching from a life based on wants to a life based on needs. NO ONE needs a hundred million dollar bonus. How can you ask for billions of dollars in bailout money, when you are gifting yourself 18.4 billion for screwing up the markets in the first place? It's exactly the kind of irresponsible and greedy action that got us in this fix to begin with.

Posted by: soblem | January 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thank you mikem1! Couldn't have said it better myself. Far reaching my ass.

Posted by: kitpub | January 29, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time an American president has told the excesses of Wall street in naked form.

After the mortgage crisis and Madoff scandal, several other ponzi schemes have been emerging. It is convincing that the American economy has been rigged for quite some time.

It is time to take the stick and discipline the perpetrators whether they are individuals or corporations (profit or non-profit).

Posted by: mouli_7982 | January 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

While I disagree with Obama in many cases, I totally agree with him this time. It's indeed shameless. But "calling" them shameless doesn't help.. I think Obama should sign a bill to make those bonuses illegal and confisticate them, and plow it back to the treasury pool of taxpayer
money. Instead of signing on a bill that is merely PR and cosmetic like the "equal pay bill" . They should seriously make some productive bill to take these bonuses away. Wall Street receives hundreds of billions of bailout so the crooks can pay themselves billions of dollars of bonuss? That doesn't make sense.

Posted by: mylastread | January 29, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

President Obama's statement reflects the views of the huge majority of the American public. If the greedy crooks on Wall Street continue in their lust for more dollars, confidence and trust in the financial system will continue to erode.

Posted by: rcthurlow | January 29, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is telling it like it is. He is saying what myself and lots of other average, hard-working people are saying to these creeps! Geez, how much money do they need?! Do they even care about families losing their homes, not eating well or going mad over lost jobs?! I wish the tables would turn on all of their greedy asses.

Posted by: shejoy | January 29, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Shameful like having $100 steaks and martinis with your political cronies on the tax-payer's dime? Oops. . .

Posted by: goku234 | January 29, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Considering the fact that by the end of 2009, the Federal Government will own majority interests in most if not all of the firms that caused this mess, it is way beyond time for Obama and others in the cabinet to tell these pro-bonus folks to stand in line for their money like any other guy who works for a living; bonuses have become a 'way of life' on Wall Street: now that taxpayers own these firms, their compensation strategies must change dramatically.

Posted by: jmorgens | January 29, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Private companies"?

Posted by: redlineblue | January 29, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Probably they should have let the banks fail. Then bankruptcy courts would oversee all of their decisions about the distribution of funds to bondholders, employees, and creditors. As it is, they have failed but not been forced to follow the restrictions that a bankrupt firm or individual follows. Even with the money put into these banks already, in a matter of weeks without further bailouts, their stock prices will be zero, they will be insolvent, and they can be taken into receivership. Then all of the executives who created this mess can be fired and the receivers can start to sort this mess out.

Steve Gjerstad
Orange, CA

Posted by: sgjerstad | January 29, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I bet those over-compensated CEOs are really quaking in their Bruno Maglis now.

Looks like the banking industry has the country by the short hairs. Nothing to do but throw more money at the problem, I guess. Perhaps we should have been paying more attention to what was going on the past thirty years...

Posted by: wireknob | January 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama is correct to criticise Wall Street. Congress is also correct in putting conditions on bailout funds. If Wall Street doesn't have the good sense to be a proper custodian of the funds under their control, it's time to intervene.

What has happened to judgement and ethics on Wall Street? They should be on their best behavior, instead of throwing "one last bash".

Wall street needs to get real. They are living in a fantasy land, with our money.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Those wall street bankers are showing all of America their greed while people are really hurting> losing their jobs and homes.I wish the W.P.would put up their photos and names here.Obamas right its shameful and even worse its wrong.

Posted by: smorrow | January 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama's been in office nine days and what Bush did or did not do lives on. Bush let these thieves divide twenty billion amongst themselves. These gangsters do not own the investment banks and commercial banks they run. But they did manage to destroy the stockholders equity. They are supposed to be employees. They have their jobs, executive jets, and billions in bonus money. The owners,the stockholders, are broke.
To paraphrase an earlier Bush, this cannot be allowed to stand. These pirates must be jailed and the banks nationalized. Tell me how any of them could be worse.

Posted by: bunkerhill | January 29, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

There was a time when a "bonus" was actually based on performance. If things were up you did well, if not, not so well.

But somewhere along the line the "bonus" concept got tangled up into overall compensation packages and in certain industries, the bonus became an entitlement.

For most of these folks with the big "bonus" the paycheck itself is pretty big.

What are we bailing out here? We seem to have developed a system with excessive "entitlement programs" at the top and the bottom and not too much in the middle.

Upon reflection, I'll bet all these big time bonuses exceed the entitlement programs at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Posted by: jhorvath | January 29, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

To give bonuses from the taxpayers money like this is akin to fraud. I say put the suckers in jail!! They put Martha Stewart in jail for 45,000 they can put them in jail for the billions they have stolen from us.

Posted by: Dipsy | January 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

If companies open the door to the Federal Government by asking them for a loan, then they have to also expect government interference. Like the restaurant owner that asked Paulie to become his partner in Goodfellas. From that point on, he was essentially at the mafia's mercy.

However, some well managed companies are losing money because the economy is falling apart despite their best efforts. In this case, why wouldn't shareholders give their executives a bonus for doing their best to carry the company through a troubled period? Bonuses should be paid for excellent performance.

Chillbear Latrigue -

Posted by: clatrigue | January 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

If these bonuses are the same as the good year of 2004, what exactly would constitute a bad year then? How much worse would it have to get?

Posted by: AlexOldTown | January 29, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Not far reaching enough ... Every single dollar of "extra" compensation these crooks paid themselves for the past eight years should be forcibly extracted from their assets (asses). Every dollar, every piece of Madoff's personal estate should be confiscated. Every dollar of anyone the government allowed to steal should be returned.

When Universities are forced to sell off valuable assets because a man they entrusted their endowment to turned out to be a man like Madoff, someone needs to pay with his life.

They all need to pay and pay dearly for what they have wrought.

Posted by: burtonpaul | January 29, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to thank the US taxpayers for my bonus - it's down 27% from last year, but hell, it's still more than most of you bozos will make in a decade. Anyway, many thanks - and for those idiots who think something will be done - keep dreaming, sweeties, we ARE America, and the only thing you should is thank us for spending our bonuses and helping this economy sustain itself. Why, in June I was having a horrible nightmare about selling my 1 million dollar pied-a-terre in Manhattan (I use it during the week, my house in Westchester means communting for an hour, and that's just not on, is it) but now, I think I'll renovate it actually.

So thanks America - and see you next year!

Posted by: alex111 | January 29, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The moneyed elites live in a different world from you or I. They never come in contact with ordinary folks, except household servants. From the time they were born to wealth, through their formative years at prep school and then the Ivy Leagues, to their meteoric rise in stature, power, and compensation, it's all been too easy and viewed as an entitlement in their world. They keep the profits and discharge the losses and always, always get good marks for a job well done -- even when the job they did was lousy for society as a whole. They are not evaluated on the effects their decisions have on society as a whole. How else to explain George W. Bush and J. Danforth Quayle? Idiot sons. Upper class twits.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | January 29, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

i could not agree more. i need to look for
a 2nd job just to stay above water. and these creeps (for lack of a better word)
are hourding $$ like no tomorrow it is absolutley sickening. and everytime they try some slick move like that. take away the bailout money and let them fend for theyselves. just my feeling.

Posted by: rwilliams3 | January 29, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I believe the bailout should be in the form of high interest loans from taxpayers to corporations that really have shown they don't qualify, not give the money directly to the corporations.
Instead of a few hundred dollars as a tax cut we as taxpayers should receive high interest short term bonds payable by banks and backed the Feds.
This would give us a choice to pump money into banks with the decision to cash immediately or collect interest.

Posted by: jdbelt | January 29, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, the if the government knows that there were $18 billion in bonuses, it should also be able to determine how received them and raist the TAX rate to 50-75%!!! Helps to stimulate the economy!

Posted by: ConcernedinAZ | January 29, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Bravo! It's discusting the way these Wall Street types feel they can give out such huge bonuses with the economy the way it is and how poorly the markets are doing. They should all be ashamed of themselves. How can they look themselves in the face each morning? These clowns need to lose their jobs and see how it feels. Go get'em President Obama!

Posted by: peanuts2 | January 29, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

This did not happen to these companies, these companies did this to themselves. As more light is shed on the cause of these companies failures, we see the almighty dollar ruling over good finanical policy if not common sense. Greed, perhaps criminal greed.

And yet, while they should be out of business, they've taken their life line and leveraged even that.


Posted by: tslats | January 29, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The Swiffer-In-Chief needs to mind his own business. I'd like to ask BO what he thinks about his Treasury Secretary getting a $400,000 severance at "taxpayer" expense after leaving the NY Fed. BTW isn't he the same tax evader I read about?

Who do these people think they are? Private companies can pay whatever they want to their CEO's. It's none of the Government's business, especially considering the rampant corruption within government, again, at taxpayer expense.

Posted by: falconflight | January 29, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: goku234:
Shameful like having $100 steaks and martinis with your political cronies on the tax-payer's dime? Oops. . .

That is the chanage people voted for. Blatant hypocrisy but his lovers in the media are afraid to question him

Posted by: TruthSpeaker | January 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

man this is why I love Obama: honest, simple, and straight to the point.
Those wall street fuker should have known better and returned the $$$ to the people they robbed.

Go Mr. President

Posted by: hvle75 | January 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It's not just shameful, but downright criminal. What's really sad is that these are the CEO's that virtually all MBA students aspire to in America.

Posted by: msbhong | January 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when we elect Hugo Chavez as prez. Obama is going to spend the nation into pork oblivion. He's an imbecile.

Posted by: birvin9999 | January 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The government isn't telling private industry what to do, they are laying down obvious guidelines for the use of government funds! These companies are asking for financing from the government but want no oversight. Of course grotesque bonuses and $50,000,000 private jets are completely over the top and utterly out of the question. What are these companies thinking? It simply appalls me! Good for Obama to strongly state the obvious. Outrageous behavior! This is an egregious example of greed and abysmally poor judgment on the part of these companies. I will be pulling my funds from this sector immediately.

Posted by: BecFelton | January 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It is "far reaching ground" for Joe/Jane taxpayer to be funding companies that would be out of business without our help.

Posted by: gene7 | January 29, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

U.S. executives of all types have been raping companies for decades even while they run their businesses into the ground. No wonder our country is in ruin. It is about time someone addresses the issue. Good fr Obama!

Posted by: bruwho | January 29, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The government isn't telling private industry what to do, they are laying down obvious guidelines for the use of government funds! These companies are asking for financing from the government but want no oversight. Of course grotesque bonuses and $50,000,000 private jets are completely over the top and utterly out of the question. What are these companies thinking? It simply appalls me! Good for Obama to strongly state the obvious. Outrageous behavior! This is an egregious example of greed and abysmally poor judgment on the part of these companies. I will be pulling my funds from this sector immediately.

Posted by: BecFelton | January 29, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

You guys need to do some checking. Many of these banks DID NOT WANT A BAILOUT and they were FORCED TO take the money and give our gov't 5% perferred stock or 5% of the profits.

It's really sad to see our great country die like this.

The bailout - and the next one should never have happened.

Sad Sad days for America.

Our gov't can't run anything well. They have no business owning banks.

Posted by: debmries | January 29, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to ask why a secretary of state's husband can be paid millions, literally, by foreign entities, even those with obvious ties to their governments? ...But the meek masses only have eyes for the Anointed One; BO.

Posted by: falconflight | January 29, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"This is far-reaching ground Obama and Geithner are treading on -- telling private companies where they may set their bonuses and other compensation"

Anyone who agrees with this statement has most likely lit a cigar with a C-note recently. We're not talking about the government telling poor hard working companies what to spend their funds on. They're telling loser companies that came hat in hand for public funds not to blow it on vacations and a third summer home.

Posted by: elZaphod | January 29, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not the US nationalizes the banks and financial institutions that received the bailout money, it seems that as a major share holder the government has some leverage in controlling executive bonuses. If not by the government itself surely it can rally other share holders to do that. I am sure most share holders will be glad to vote with the government.

Posted by: steviana | January 29, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Well here is the problem, due to Wall Street no one can get a loan so it doesn't matter what the conditions are. Only the government is loaning and their loans are going to pay bonuses of those who caused the problems in the first place. Obama needs to put his (our) money where his mouth is and make it a condition that no bonuses are paid, management salaries are cut and all those other executive perks are stopped or no more money is loaned. Having said that we should all cheer that at least we have a president who was willing to call them shameful in the first place. I am looking forward to the next 100 days.

Posted by: Virginia4 | January 29, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama thinks it's shameful?

Big fat woo. So does my granny.

But she wasn't the one elected to walk the walk. Instead of talking the talk.
Doesn't sound like he plans to put anymore teeth into this than she could, though.

Like the Who said: We Won't Get Fooled Again.

The man is above all a programmable politician --that means It's All About Me.
It's not in any way the same thing as being a patriot.--that means It's All About U.S.

Who's serving who?

And no I most certainly did not vote for McCain, either.
You've been played.


Posted by: gala1 | January 29, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

My feeling is that since these corporate execs have now become federal workers, they should be paid according to the GS or at most SES pay scale. That way the most they could earn is $290,000.00 tops. It's still not chickenfeed, but its about 90% less than they're earning now.

Posted by: LaDottoressa | January 29, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's about time. We are being raped by Wall Street and Greenwich. Next stop, K Street and Madison Avenue. Go Obama. And I didn't like the guy. He's changing my mind. Go for it.

Posted by: theeasypartsover | January 29, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

These goings on on Wall Street make pay for performance for the average worker a joke. How can any worker go in to a performance review with straight face and have someone tell them how they need to do a better job to get that meager raise they are dangling before them. I mean I would burst out laughing, in the face of $20 billion dollars in bonuses to financial types on Wall Street, who have destroyed their companies and the value of the Dow Jones.

Say it again, "Pay for performance!"


Posted by: captn_ahab | January 29, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Republicans who and some Democrats who quickly supported the Wall Street bailout got a bonus themselves for their vote. But yesterday when it came time to support the taxpayers the vote was NO. It took President Obama to push the Bill in for the American People. CitiGroup gave Eric Cantor of Virginia 40,000 for his vote. Obama did what he said he would do included Republicans to the decision. But these Law Makers aren't interested in the American people, their in the jobs for the profit and kick backs. As every second people are losing jobs, homes, life savings the Law Makers fight the President so he can't help save the people.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 29, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone on this board who has the nerve to call a bailed-out Wall Street firm 'private' belongs in prison, along with every single maggot who received these ill-gotten gains.

I have no problem with executives earning crazy salaries and bonuses...when they are based on actual performance and not financed with public dollars.

But when billions in bonus money are paid to the same crowd who begged for bail-out money because their greed and incompetence has resulted in financial ruin, then the same government that paid out said bail out has every right (no, DUTY) to expect and demand an immediate halt to any bonuses until every cent of public assistance has been repaid, plus interest.

Posted by: ned99 | January 29, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I’d highly recommend William J. Quirk’s article, “The Financial Crisis: How it happened, and why it is still happening,” in the February 2009 issue of Chronicles Magazine (which is in print, so you’ll have to subscribe). This article by far is the single best explanation I’ve read on our current predicament. Quirk does an outstanding job outlining the problems with the derivatives market, the hypocrisy of our leaders, the shortsightedness of the financial bailout, and President Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

Posted by: RobMc1 | January 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Finally a direct comment from the President. Bravo!!
I don't know what is going on elsewhere but here in San Diego both my business's bank (B of A) and my personal bank( Wells Fargo) have addressed the 'credit crisis' by hiring 'greeters'! Wow! Just what we need. These fatuous boneheads get in your way as you enter the branch with cheerful "Hi! How are you's?" "Welcome to [Insert bank name]. How can we help you?" It is all I can do to avoid telling them I remember my name and still know how to write a check or fill in a deposit slip.
The fact that banks think the 'credit crisis' is best met by a PR initiative tells me all I need to know about the fools that run these institutions. Perhaps a few of them hung, like Mussolini was, from meathooks in Time Square will get through to their surviving brethren that their customers need banks to get back to the business of 'banking', rather than wasting their time and more of our money on a PR campaign. They have gambled away enough of our money.

Posted by: nisswapaddy | January 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

“I’m going to be urging -- in fact not urging, demanding - - that the Treasury Department figures out some way to get the money back,” Dodd said. “This is unacceptable.”

We will see if he's serious: Future bailout money should be dependent on:

Current CEOs resigning with immediate effect, to be replaced by a board chosen by the treasury until such time when company returns to profitability. These are now - citibank, bank of america, goldmans etc. - owned by the US taxpayer.

Firms who accept bailouts cannot pay out bonuses until all the money has been repaid to the US taxpayer at interest.

Criminal investigations to begin immediately on conduct of CEOs.

Oh, and Madoff needs to be executed by electric chair. Or at least flogged until the flesh is stripped from his skin - publicly.

Posted by: alex111 | January 29, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse


Wall-street and Thieves.

When stock market goes up, the Wall Street execs claim credit and take home billions of dollars in Bonuses on top of extravagent pay.

When market goes down, investors lose their life savings, they just shrug it of as market cycles and still take home Billions of dollars in bonuses, while at the same time taking in public money to survive !!!!!

Either Government should put all these thugs in prison or free every thief in US prisons.

The best course is to understand that thives generally gravitate towards money. So government should enact laws ( just as it has lawas against shop-lifters ) to protect theft of money that common American invests , from which these thugs and crooks steal.

Posted by: guru21 | January 29, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the sentiment, but it's not possible to shame these swine into moral behavior. The only thing they'll understand is the inside of a prison cell. Until that happens, which is not likely, this is all showmanship and bluster on Obama's part. Better than the enablers we kicked to the curb last election, true, but not there yet.

Posted by: dgblues | January 29, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

How is it "far-reaching" when these Wall Street parasites are using OUR money to reward themselves???

I hope Obama continues to shame them, not that they are capable of being shamed.

Posted by: solsticebelle | January 29, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

So, PBO,... whaddaya going to do about it?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 29, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm down with cutting out billion-dollar bonuses-for-nothing and reining in corporate excess.

However, has anyone stopped to consider the families whose breadwinner works for the company manufacturing the cancelled corporate jet?

It might be irksome thinking about fatcats sucking down prawns and scotch in luxury, 32,000 feet above the rest of us, but hey: Buying that jet is more "economically stimulating" than anything the Obama people have yet proposed.

Posted by: jboydeluxe | January 29, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Simple fixes: Make corporations pay taxes on bonuses, executive salaries, stock options, golden parachutes, benefits, and perks at rates of 75% or higher. Set tax rates for pay and bonuses that exceed 150% of the average pay of employees at 75%. Allow stockholders to vote on executive salaries, bonuses, and contracts. Ban campaign contributions by corporations, unions, and organizations of any kind, allow only citizens to contribute and restrict donations to $20 per candidate per election. Get money out of politics. Money is not speech, no matter what George Will says.

Posted by: Chagasman | January 29, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

The average bonus was $112K, per New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

And on Wall Street, bonus compensation is typically several times more than annual base pay.

So in the main, these were not multi-millionaire titans who received these bonuses. Well paid professionals, perhaps, but that's why people get MBA's right?

But of course, we love to blame somebody else when we can't buy our SUV's, and our $5,000 TV's, and all the other manure that the "Average Joe" who earns the median salary (and did not go to college) now thinks he is entitled to.

Don't we?

Posted by: trenda | January 29, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Why not change the tax laws to tax any company which pays its CEO more than 50x its lowest paid employee. There is no reason a CEO should make over $1,000,000 when the custodian makes just $20,000. The rich keep getting richer. It's time to even the playing field.

Posted by: finleysteve | January 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The bonuses, jets, dividends, and so forth of some, though not all, of the big firms really are being paid for with taxpayer money. Most of the money in TARP went to firms that are insolvent. Insolvent.

Under normal circumstances, when a firm is insolvent there is no money for bonuses and other indulgences. Don't believe me? What kind of bonuses did Lehman employees get? What kind of dividend did they pay in the 4th quarter? What's their corporate jet plans?

But because and only because We The People allowed these private institutions to be propped up, they were able to go ahead and spend like they're still rich. They aren't. They're broke. It's an absolute outrage that a single bonus was paid to anyone at AIG, Citi, BofA, Merrill, and a few other firms.

Posted by: CardinalFang | January 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Madoff needs to be executed by electric chair. Or at least flogged..."

That's at the core of the current problem. The big finance people literally steal investors money with impunity. Electrocution is extreme and flogging insufficient. I think repayment and 10 years in jail without no early release.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

There is an interesting dual irony in the recent earning of near-record bonuses by the executive corps of the nation's major commercial and investment banks.

First, and contrary to both intuition and generally-accepted standards for performance-based remunerative reward, a banking executive on Wall Street can apparently earn a multi-million dollar annual bonus on Wall Street by either contributing to the success of his/her business or contributing to its complete unraveling -- it doesn't seem to matter which one.

Second, the Wall Street banking community, in justifying multi-million dollar bonuses as part of their executive compensation programs, point out that these bonuses are a competitive requirement for recruiting the best talent that they can find -- apparently, second-string executives, who work for a lot less, are almost incapable of destroying the fortunes of a bank and its customers in the grand style that comes so easily to the more highly-compensated cream of the crop.

Go figure.

Posted by: mpwilliams | January 29, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, no-one is distinguishing between banks on wall street who took no government money - credit-suisse, for e.g. - and companies who did. Those who did have no business paying their employees bonuses: These are bankrupt companies populated by overpaid fools. Why the hell do they get a bonus when they've gone belly-up? It's laughable - and as for Thane, 1700 bucks for a waste basket? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Posted by: alex111 | January 29, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President
If your administration can stop the purchase of a new jet with bail out money, I hope you will withdraw those multimillion dollar bonuses. We cannot afford this and, in my way of thinking, not just shameful but utterly disgusting.

Posted by: Joan850 | January 29, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

"United States is turning into United National Republican States - socialism for the rich, the well-connected and Wall Street" and making sure "profits are privatized and losses are socialized." - Nouriel Roubini, economic professor of NYU

This is not capitalism or free market: The shameless crooks did not even make the profits in the first place to give themselves the "bonus".

This is pure robbery, take from the poor and give to the rich, or worse autocracy.

Posted by: ChristianNY | January 29, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The average bonus was $112K, per New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

And on Wall Street, bonus compensation is typically several times more than annual base pay.

So in the main, these were not multi-millionaire titans who received these bonuses. Well paid professionals, perhaps, but that's why people get MBA's right?

But of course, we love to blame somebody else when we can't buy our SUV's, and our $5,000 TV's, and all the other manure that the "Average Joe" who earns the median salary (and did not go to college) now thinks he is entitled to.

Don't we?

Posted by: trenda | January 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: klclemon | January 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"But of course, we love to blame somebody"

America is now mainly a country of indulged people, from the average wage earner on up to the wall street executives. Big TV, a house they can't afford, multi-million dollar bonuses. It's come time to pay now, and the responsible people will catch it along with the yokels who caused the problems. There's merit in a separated society, where people of like kind associate only with others of their own ilk.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget the 90 million dollar salary at Fannie Mae! WE, the American People, are paying this salary,too. And it was ridiculous!

Posted by: Texan2007 | January 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, its all about GREED. It is about time the government spoke out at these excesses. The money must be recouped, even if it means passing a new law to do so. Spread the wealth.

Posted by: DelBoy4671 | January 29, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"as for Thane, 1700 bucks for a waste basket?"

The man should serve 10 years in jail, to set an example.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the kettle calling the pot black if you ask me.

Since B. Hussein Obama just spent 100 billion dollars of peoples money throwing himself a party and now is hosting parties with $75 a pound steaks.

Also, Barry and Michelle are bringing their personal chef from Chicago to add to the staff at the WH. Interesting? Did anyone know that this "man of the people", who has lived on the public dole all his life, had a personal chef while a back-bench senator and a barely present senator? And now he is adding him to the WH staff and putting him on the government payroll. Wow! Wonder what ABC, CNN and MSNBC would have said if Governor Palin had her own personal chef?

But I guess when you can get 1 trillion dollars to spend on "r*bbers" and abortion services plus another 800 million for ACORN to rig the voter rolls, what is another chef or two. Right, leftists.

Posted by: LogicalSC | January 29, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

God Bless President Obama and the Democratic Party.

Posted by: svreader | January 29, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama should take responsibility for the lack of stringent controls on the extraordinary fortune the U.S. government continues to dish out to banks and corporations. These same high flyers (or should I say pigs at the trough) win both ways...huge profits=fat bonuses..lousy profits=fat bonuses...near bankruptcy=government propping up and fat bonuses, one way or another. But the little guy? The small business? Good luck. The Republicans voted against the stimulus package and they were RIGHT to--the U.S. will wind up in EXTRAORDINARY debt for many, many years, with little impact on job creation or people losing their homes at what is predicted to be an even greater rate this coming year.

Posted by: marat1 | January 29, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Far reaching?your kidding right.Far reaching was the hand that extended from 5th avenue in NY into the pockets of the grocery clerk in queens,that is far reaching my friend.

Posted by: gilliam | January 29, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Many are critical of Republicans, and properly so. However Obama's plans re stimilus are no better. His stimilus plan is LOADED with pork, whereas there should have been NONE. Not a good start at all, as to his intentions.

Manufacturing that left the country, such as steel, cereal, bookmaking, and hundreds more could have been restarted with subsidy or grant money, and the wages set to the least people were willing to work for to compete. At least it would have given America a chance at the grass roots level. The Obama administration is just more of the same Bush idiocy.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes far reaching my ASS! Fire the genius who wrote this post.

Posted by: manraygun | January 29, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry - the US Government has lent these banks money. I believe part of the stipulations were limits on bonuses, yes?

What part of available usage of a $50 million dollar Gulfstream isn't a bonus in disguise?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Top 10 Obama campaign contributors:

University of California $1,123,898
Goldman Sachs $955,223
Microsoft Corp $791,342
Google Inc $782,964
Harvard University $779,460
JPMorgan Chase & Co $642,958
Citigroup Inc $633,418
Sidley Austin LLP $565,788
Stanford University $558,184
Time Warner $542,651

Goldman Sachs are the geniuses behind many of these derivatives, and Harvard graduated most of these so-called masters of the universe.


Posted by: tgnohome | January 29, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Why do you consider this far reaching and treading? They are getting corporate welfare. We monitor welfare for poor people and throw them in jail for breaking the law.Why is there a different rules for the rich and wallstreet people? WE are going to have a hard time getting out of this hole that was created by there giant
ponzi scheme.

Posted by: deranieri | January 29, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

No bonuses are justified for Wall Street executives: (1) they create no value (2) there is no danger of them leaving for better pay elsewhere. Who wants to pay them anything? (3) the entire financial system would be better off if they DID leave. Little hope of that, sadly.

Posted by: frodot | January 29, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"WE are going to have a hard time getting out of this hole that was created by there giant ponzi scheme."

If we are never going to get anywhere near out of it, if we follow Obama\Pelosi\Reid as they have already increased our debt by over a trillion dollars. The children of our children will never be able to pay for the debt which Obama and Pelosi are foisting on America.

And for what...contraceptives, ACORN, and spending which doesn't even kick in until 2010 or later? Only about 1/12 of the money will be spent this year?

So why didn't the smartest man alive simply as for that amount then wait till the end of the year before making another decision? Instead of rushing thru deficit spending on a multitude of liberal causes which have no hope of increasing the economy?

Posted by: LogicalSC | January 29, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Shameful? What about giving millions, possibly billions to ACORN already under investigation for voter fraud among other things? Oh pardon me, I forgot, they helped buy the White House for Obama. Plus look at the others with questionable ethics he's appointed. Guess he has to spread the wealth around; At least to his cohorts.
Let's not forget that it's our wealth he's spreading around like manure......

Posted by: TexRancher | January 29, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama never had a private sector job - he should just shut his purple lips.

Posted by: birvin9999 | January 29, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It should of read the 225,000 that lost their jobs in this indrustry were paid $80,000.00 each which would of resulted in a $18 billion dollar pay out

Posted by: jeffybear | January 29, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

These bonuses are shameful, the President has it right and called it right.

What is wrong in this blogoshpere are the over-reactions that lump all these folks together... saying "American Executives" are the causee of the problem is absurd. 90% of American Executives live next door to you and if they are wildly successful (1 in 100), they get a modest bonus.

There are huge differences between public and private companies... and there are many industries that are not protected/supported by the Government at all. At first blush -- it may be inappropriate to question ANY private company's executive's bonus. If you are a shareholder in a public company then you have the right to question a public company's executive bonus... but only if you are a shareholder. If you are a citizen then you have the right to question the bonus of executive's whose company is protected/supported/etc. by the Government.

Lumping all them together and calling for their heads is reactionary mumbo jumbo. The guy who lives next door to me and owns 6 Subway restaurants as a family business deserves all the 'bonus' he can muster... he took the risk, he works 90 hours a week, his family works as hard as he does to make it a sucess, and he provides the jobs.

Posted by: CARealist | January 29, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

We have families who's father has decided to kill everyone thanks to our current situation. While no one would condone such an action, I wonder why (if you're giong to do it anyway) kill your own family when there are so many valid targets on Wall Street to choose from. If I'm ever in such dire straights, you can bet my butt will be on a plane to NY, and it won't be to catch a broadway show.

Posted by: elife1975 | January 29, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Up until recent times (it may well still exist), the leader of a company that has to beg for many would be so dishonored that he would commit suicide. I'm not asking these people to do the same but where's has honor gone?

Posted by: jgluke | January 29, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse
January 29: Commentary - Bust, Bankruptcy, Bailouts, What Should We Do Now?

The following are remarks By Christopher Whalen, Managing Director of Institutional Risk Analytics, at the American Enterprise Institute and Professional Risk Managers International Association forum.

I would place this under the category of a treasonable offense:Greenspan joined Paulson & Co hedgefund Jan.15,2008

1. to set up the housing bubble with super cheap 1% fed money for longer than ever and then to join a hedge fund after that fundamental flaw in the banking and leverage structure has been put in place.

2. To not advise putting further regulation in place to deleverage banks but instead to join a hedge fund and to use what is effectively insider information to advise them to cream bank stocks and confidence in them until the entire global banking structure collapses.

3. I believe that Paulson Hedge Fund with its $21 Billion "credit opportunities fund" has made more than $100Billion on beating down financial stocks and credit default swaps.

Why is this not in the WSJ and on every news channel every day? Where is Obama on this? Why hasn't Greenspan been arrested?

Why has the SEC/NYSE chairman not reinstituted the uptick rule? Liquidity my ass! It is because he acts in the interests of the hedge funds rather than the 401k investor and has destroyed free flow of information and investor confidence that there is an even playing field.

Posted by: rtfanning | January 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow, pgr88, you sure are painting yourself into a lonely corner of hate.

Posted by: PutDownTheKoolaid | January 29, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Antonio Ivan Easterling
The Proletarian Review

Topic: Executive Pay Bonus

1. The subject of leadership is started at the top. The reward of work has been violated by those Executives who have stolen from the Federal Reserve System (FRS). The acceptance of bonus pay when a company is failing is simply wrong. Because during this time workers are losing their jobs while executives are handed a fistful of cash destroys the essence of fair-play. Again, the reward of work has gone askewed.
2. The Proletarian Review commend President Obama for scolding those executives who have received such performance incentives. Our community of Chief Executives are expected by the Articles of Incorporation to police themselves and their own industry. Enforcement of the Articles of Incorporated is a on-going affair to assure compliance with the Public Trust. Performance incentives for executives in failing companies is a violate of the Public Trust. The Proletarian Review asks the President and Congress to fire corporate executives who receive performance pay when they manage failing businesses.

Antonio Ivan Easterling
The Proletarian Review

Posted by: sterlinggo1 | January 29, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Great to see the Post/Media reporting this; everyone is up in arms.

Where were you when the previous administration took us to war?

"Mission Accomplished!"

Posted by: CatMan1 | January 29, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

When will the President pull the plug on the wall street exectives' jobs. Fire the BXXXXXXX and file charges against them which results in real jail time. It is time to stop the stealing from the tax payers.

Posted by: wrstx | January 29, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

This is great.

We finally have a President who is not only articulate, intelligent, and caring but, he also has what are referred to as "brass ba!!s" and is telling the crooks in the banking and investment industry the way it is.

Oh boy, what a refreshing change. There is a new Sheriff in town. We finally have a true leader.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | January 29, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Great: attacking Executive compensation.

How 'bout focusing on the healthcare and benefits congressmen and senators get, and giving that to the citizens that elected them into office?


Posted by: CatMan1 | January 29, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama Calls Big Wall Street Bonuses 'Shameful'...with a wink.

Posted by: cintronlourdes | January 29, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Where is the accountability?! Why have none of these Wall ST CEO criminals been prosecuted yet for their roles in this financial meltdown? This is completely ridiculous and as a tax payer who's funded their respective companies, demand for these bonuses to be recalled and the CEO's and management responsible for their payout be terminated.

Posted by: a_DC_denizen | January 29, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it great to have a REAL president who stands up to Wall Street abuses? What a relief!

And from the Republicans? ...crickets....

Posted by: losthorizon10 | January 29, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm really at lost for words, it just shows you more class greed. When GM and Chrysler asked for money they had to give up concessions and were asked to bend over. These guys are buying jets,living the high life on our money. What is really sad is I doubt there will be anything done to eliminate these kind of greed.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | January 29, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

No what's far reaching is that OUR tax dollars are BAILING THEM out, when they made the mistake to begin with. What's shameful is that they have the audacity to use those tax dollars for LUXURY!!! This is unbelievable, no scratch that, this is typical. If private companies are so worried about staying completely private, they should go find their own source of funding, instead of coming to Washington begging for bailout. If they are on our tax dollars, then for the time being at least, they warrant our scrutiny and hopefully receive more than just a reprimand.

Posted by: nikki1362 | January 29, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

We bailout out AIG for $150 Billion while it was worth $120 Billion. Wonder why?

Pelosi, in her most recent financial disclosure form, reported that her husband owned between $250,000 and $500,000 of stock in AIG, ....
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, disclosed that his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had more than $2 million of AIG stock at the end of 2007....
Altogether, 56 senators and representatives had stakes in AIG, Lehman, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns Cos. or IndyMac Bancorp Inc.

And the CEO's are corrput? We better look at who we vote in first.

Some of the Bailout went to BANKS that DID NOT WANT ANY MONEY AND were FORCED to take a bailout and then had to give our gov't 5% in preferred stock. Wells Fargo is one of them who had to take $25 Billion IT DID NOT WANT!

Posted by: debmries | January 29, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't just call them shameful, scare them into giving them back. The attorney general should put them on trial for conspiracy to manipulate oil prices by turning a blind eye to the profits made by bidding up oil price futures beyond the short term future price. I think they would rather return the money than become Bubba's queen in the joint.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 29, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me it was going away present from GWB to his rich clique, 20 billion with a B. Where is my bail out bonus

Posted by: mdchancer | January 29, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

These same banks are saying that the original $800 billion was not enough and they are going to be needing more. Let them take their bonuses, put them all together and bail themselves out if their banks are that important to them.

F*ck them!

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | January 29, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah unfair. But then again BO already got his free house from the Blago machine, and MO got her $200000 RAISE for her fluff PR job for a Blago hospital district. And the new IRS head got his free pass for not paying taxes.

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 29, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

"shameful" is having a Wall Street hack who doesn't pay his taxes for a Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: iculus | January 29, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll believe all of this when President Obama tells Nancy Pelosi that the American people can no longer afford to pay for her private jet. She can fly commercial. Until then, it's all posturing.

Posted by: ty02010 | January 29, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Now tell me Obama don't care. If Bush was still President you wouldn't have heard a peep out of him. Still, If it was me, I'd use the bailout money to cover deposits and let lo-lives go under. All they do is manipulate the market out of millions anyway. They're a bunch of Bloodsuckers. Stockholders lost everything and they're giving themselves million dollar bonuses. Throw them all on top of the trash heap and send them to the dump.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | January 29, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

What is shameful is a government burdening our children with an additional 800B in debt on top of social security and Medicare that we can't afford.

Posted by: floydboo | January 29, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Talk is cheap Obama. Prosecute these villains and recover our hard-earned tax dollars...... and prosecute Bush and Cheney, etc... too!

Posted by: kurthunt | January 29, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

trillions of dollars have vanished, and all we hear as far as criminal investigations has to do with maddoff?

investigate! where money is being shoveled, investigate!

and recoup the stolen funds.

Posted by: forestbloggod | January 29, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: demtse | January 29, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: demtse | January 29, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

What's the problem here? These executives deserve every penny they received. Without their bonuses how could they afford to travel the world to find places to outsource all of our jobs??

Posted by: mainstreetmedia | January 29, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The American people should settle for no less than a full investigation of Wall Street and indictments where required. Now that we are cleaning out Gitmo it might be a nice cozy spot for the heads of Citigroup, BofA, AIG etc. If you get government bailout money than you upper staff needs to be living and working like you're in the US Army.

Posted by: megaphone | January 29, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. President these bonuses are shame ful!! But the question now is WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Posted by: eskieville | January 29, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama can call anything to these bastard.s but it would not change anything. They got our money, they always do, and they will keep it. This is the way it is, has been, and will is the system, stupi.d

Posted by: bueyesxyou | January 29, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who thinks those bonuses make sense is part of the problem. You've been drinking the Kool Aid.

Posted by: pilgrim1629 | January 29, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I am not defending these bankers. They are lowbrow scum. But I would like to point out the hypocrisy of Obamas stimulus plan. This is a huge print the money and give it away plan that is going to come out of our pockets. Our representatives spent 1/2 hour debating it or just counting the votes. Lots of it is going to be wasted on goofy public works projects that "put people to work". Shame on Obama for all that. Its hardly much different than the banks give aways, it all is going through the Federal Government and being wasted. And its all on us in the long run. Plenty of people are going to be getting something for nothing. They can all ride to Hades in the caboose with Hitler as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: AtlasShrugged1 | January 29, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"There will be a time for them to make profits and a time for them to get bonuses," Obama said. "This is not that time."

If these companies are receiving funds from the government, then President Obama is 100% correct. Of course, they are not 'private' companies then either

However, if these companies are not receiving government funds, President Obama has no say, and in fact, is out of line.

The article stipulates that 18.4 billion of tax payer money was paid in bonuses. Does anyone know if this is true?

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 29, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama reminds me of the police captain in Casablanca. he was shocked, shocked to find out that there was gambling at Rick's as he collected his winnings. Was Barry shocked when:

$170 million was spent on the inauguration, $50 million of which were tax dollars at a time "when we face the worst economic crisis since the depression?"

He got a special mortgage deal from Northern Trust to buy his mansion not to mention the help he got from Rezko? Oh by the way Northern Trust got $2 Billion in the bailout.

He found out that Biden refinanced his house 29 times (NYT) and got a special deal each time?

He didn't turn down contributions from Faanie Mae and Freddie mac?

Michelle got two sinecures at the University of Chicago and the Uof C got millions of federal dollars on Barry's watch?

He campaigned for old Blago twice?

I could go on but it's just too ridiculous. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy is hypocrisy.

Posted by: JoeDBrown | January 29, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

No executive of any business that has received a handout should have a salary or bonus of over $1.00 until every cent has been paid back. What the he// are these people thinking?

Posted by: tokira | January 29, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"This is far reaching ground Obama...."
When private business takes public money, they're no longer private. But if they still want to give away their bonuses, THEN GIVE BACK THE HAND...BAILOUT BIG BOYS!

Posted by: j7nm | January 29, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I read where the credit card companies are using more than just credit ratings to determine or raise interest rates on loans to borrowers. Why can't the government raise the interest rates on the money borrowed by these companies, which was spent in giving the bonuses to the elite executives? At least for the amount paid in bonuses, and to be repaid by the people who received the money. I had one credit card company tell me they didn't want me to pay off my card, because they wanted to continue to charge me 30% interest. Let the executives who received the bailout money repay the loan at 30% interest, so we can reinvest the profits from that loan in other legitimate businesses.

Another recourse would be to publicise the companies that are legitimate, to encourage customers to move their policies to the companies that aren't skimming off the top......
ie ask the AIG customers to change to AFLAC, who is hiring, as reported on this morning's news.

Posted by: mjc1 | January 29, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

They've been expecting this. They knew that he would have to do it and it would hurt him more than it hurt them. It came just in time to keep them from paying for his inauguration even though he banned lobbyists and corporations from donating. It was a little too late for the $700,000 he took from Fannie Mae for his campaign. Now, their feeling s are hurt and they're crying all the way to the ---- bank.

Posted by: websmith1 | January 29, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Big mean Obama. Why weren't stricter provisions written into the TERP that would hve prevented the bailout from becoming standard huge CEO bonuses? Why? Because obama go $$$ billions from these guys in campaign donations, and bammie needed to pay them back.

Posted by: 2xy4k9 | January 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Federal and/or state governments should begin an investigation of corporate boards of directors.

Isn't it the BODs' responsibilities to ensure that Corporate Executives work to the benefit of the shareholders rather than to the benefit of the managers? I suppose this should be a civil suit by a corporate shareholder, but when the entire financial industry and perhaps others as well are involved, criminal conspiracy sanctions may be warranted.

Posted by: BTMPost | January 29, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Change.... has finally come to America. Amen, amen.

Posted by: bsumpter3 | January 29, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Anything that might help the little guy? NOT A CHANCE.

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 29, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Hunt down the bankers and make them disgorge. Start with Mr #1 thief ...Greenspan
I would place this under the category of a treasonable offense:Greenspan joined Paulson & Co hedgefund Jan.15,2008

1. to set up the housing bubble with super cheap 1% fed money for longer than ever and then to join a hedge fund after that fundamental flaw in the banking and leverage structure has been put in place.

2. To not advise putting further regulation in place to deleverage banks but instead to join a hedge fund and to use what is effectively insider information to advise them to cream bank stocks and confidence in them until the entire global banking structure collapses.

3. I believe that Paulson Hedge Fund with its $21 Billion "credit opportunities fund" has made more than $100Billion on beating down financial stocks and credit default swaps.

Why is this not in the WSJ and on every news channel every day? Where is Obama on this? Why hasn't Greenspan been arrested?

Why has the SEC/NYSE chairman not reinstituted the uptick rule? Liquidity my ass! It is because he acts in the interests of the hedge funds rather than the 401k investor and has destroyed free flow of information and investor confidence that there is an even playing field.

Posted by: rtfanning | January 29, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

It is a sad day when the President of the United States must resort to scare tactics to get a bill passed.

What right does President Obama have to try to control a free market economy? I agree, what Wall Street did was terrible. However, it is not Barrack Hubris Obama's place, position, or job to run Wall Street. I guess we will soon live in the Socialist States of America...

Posted by: lacarids | January 29, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse


NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw reported in March of 1996 (yes, 12 years ago the writing was on the wall) that the average CEO's salary of the top seventy-six businesses in America went up nearly 15% in 1995 to over two million dollars, this at a time when more workers than ever were laid-off by these same corporations.

According to the February 26, 1996 issue of Newsweek magazine, AT&T chairman Robert Allen made $3.3 million in salary for 1995. Add to that an extra $5 million in stock and options after he announced the layoffs of 40,000 workers in January of 1996. Walter Shipley, CEO of Chemical/Chase Manhattan earned $2.4 million in 1997 and also laid-off 12,000 workers.

To put this all in perspective, there is on average one spouse and two children depending on each laid-off worker's income to survive, thus essentially creating four persons with no income for every one laid-off.

Is this ethical? Not hardly. Is it fair? Certainly not. Is it legal? It most certainly is. It is not legal to steal a $3.00 package of hamburger if you need to feed your children, yet it is legal for a corporation to lay-off or freeze the salaries of their laborers while giving their executives a monumental raise or bonus if they so desire. Absolutely legal. And this is where the law must change.

It is time for some real change. What this country needs is a Maximum Wage, a 'salary cap' whereby no corporate CEO can be paid more than 10 times the lowest paid worker in that company. This means that if the highest paid CEO of a company presently makes $2 million, then the lowest paid worker, be it the secretary or the custodian, must be paid $200,000 per year.

Another way to look at this is that any company would have a pay scale based on a ten-tier system. Most new employees would be brought in at the bottom scale and over the years have the potential to move up on the pay scale. The top executives would be at the top tier, but could advance no further unless all tiers were modified to allow the increase.

A Maximum Wage would give the common laborers and executives alike more incentive for efficiency and productivity. This is the type of corporate restructuring needed, not mass layoffs.

A Maximum Wage could be implemented in the Auto Industry on a temporay basis until such time that they begin showing a profit and display that they have the wisdom to carry on responsibly without any further govt intervention.

This is the answer.

Posted by: moon-base-alpha | January 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Regarding 'Shejoy's' (obviously partisan) statement making a ridiculous parallel between million dollar bonuses for people (who clearly don't deserve a penny) and the cost of Obama having lunch with 'cronies' and $100 dollar steaks that us the poor taxpayer pay for etc etc.... You are joking right? We are talking about the president of the most powerful (arguably) country on the planet and you want him to pay for his own steaks when he is most likely discussing politics that affect you and I and OUR well being. I'm sure he could afford his own food, so maybe you are right... we better jump right on that as it's clearly a priority for the country. I think people are marching now as we speak with "NO MORE STEAKS" signs and "NO HAPPY HOUR ON US!!" chants.

Perhaps we should have Bush and Clinton and every other president reimburse us for their meals? Maybe that will solve all the recession issues. If a president is dead, perhaps we will just tax his estate and relatives. I bet you in the end I'll clear at least $10 after all the recovered money is disbursed to our 300 MILLION people.

Maybe after we ask the president to pay for his steaks we can ask the Wall Streeters to pay for theirs. Perhaps they can go work a week on a farm somewhere and earn an honest wage for once. Afterwards they can do a couple hundred hours of community service in inner cities and maybe gain some perspective.

'Perspective'... you may want to look that word up since you clearly need some.

Posted by: aws1972 | January 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Why weren't stricter provisions written into the TERP that would hve prevented the bailout from becoming standard huge CEO bonuses? Why? Because obama go $$$ billions from these guys in campaign donations, and bammie needed to pay them back.

Nice try. It was Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who wrote the plan. Obama hadn't even won the election yet. Don't you remember when McCain rushed to Washington to save the world?

Posted by: CardinalFang | January 29, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

"We finally have a true leader."

BS. A leader would pull the pork from the stimilus bill.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

aws1972 said regarding Obama:
"he is most likely discussing politics that affect you and I and OUR well being"

He should be discussing pulling the pork from his stimilus bill. He's a loser right out of the gate.


Posted by: Billw3 | January 29, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama should mind his own business and stop being such a nazi dictator. Trying to imitate Hitler is not working for him. His wife is much better at it. If you don't like bonuses, don't buy anything from that company. I'm certainly not buying anything from that pus-bucket Obama.

Posted by: doctorfixit | January 30, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

slam a 100% FICA tax on all 2008 bonuses over $125k...problem solved.

Posted by: macematayc | January 30, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Why pick on just one group?

Why not limit the amount of total compensation any individual can receive in any industry?

Maybe some sanity will return to bankers, directors and sports people.

If Arnold can send state employees home with no pay for 2 days each month, President Obama can do it to the rest of us.

Posted by: psouleles | January 30, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse


Simple rule


1. No limits to compensation in Private companies. Who cares about them.

2. How-ever publicly traded companies are not private companies. Common folks like you and me, retirement funds, charities etc invest in them. These include all industries from Auto to Banking to Wall Street. The executive compensation and bonuses of such companies should be regulated , like the highest paid executive cannot make more than 40 or 50 times the money paid to the lowest paid employee . On top of that you would need a maximum compensation limit to close any loop-holes that the thugs and thieves of Wall Street may create.

Posted by: guru21 | January 30, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I’m kind of amazed at the lack of any real appreciation among the posters here of how discretionary, or “bonus” compensation is paid throughout America. I work for Citigroup, the poster child of poor decisions of late. But I don't work on Wall Street, I work on “Main Street”. I have never made a sub-prime loan, nor any of the bad mortgage-backed investments that have plagued Citi. I don’t ride around in a corporate jet and I don’t have an $87,000 area rug in my office. I pack my lunch. Roughly one third to one half of my compensation is discretionary—call it a bonus if you will. Discretionary or “bonus” comp is how Citi and many other employers structure the overall pay for a lot of employees. Believe me, I haven’t run out in past years and spent my "bonuses" on new cars, penthouse apartments or other luxuries. This year, owing to Citi’s poor performance, the discretionary portion of my compensation will be less than 40% of its average, although my performance ratings remain the same. If anything, I’m working harder because of our recent layoffs. Yes, I am fortunate to still have a job. But if my firm is forced to curtail bonuses altogether, my income will fall by nearly half. I have a child in college and another one starting next year. I buy the same $3 a gallon milk and, last year, the same $4 a gallon gas as the rest of you. My retirement savings are worth half of what they were just a year ago. My college savings have been equally impacted. I’m not looking for sympathy. But in your zeal to punish those who have contributed to our current economic situation, I would urge you to focus your anger on the real causes of the problem, and not paint us all with the same broad brush.

Posted by: dwcarp | January 30, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Are these Wall street guys for real? Are they real? This news proves that they are either thick so cannot grasp what has been going on, or just plain thick skinned day light robbers.

The news of their bonuses was just so absurd, I had to doubt my eyes when I first read it.

Posted by: thisworld | January 30, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

These so called Wall Street economic experts(experts they are not)are responsible for this bloody mess all around. Any yet, look at the way they behave. This just re-enforces the belief everybody in the world has about them. They are:-

1/ thick in their head
2/ greedy and self-serving
3/ cannot add or subtract
4/ really know nothing about economics
5/ couldn't care less about anything else but their fast cars, frocks, designer suits, fancy holidays, penthouses, maids and hedonistic parties where virtually anything goes

In a nutshell, they are a collection of human garbage in fancy clothes whose life style the rest of the world supports.

Posted by: thisworld | January 30, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

'Obama telling private companies where to go? If they are so bloody private, why asking the public to bail them out in the first place? Their 'private' nature became public in all practical purpose when they begin to receive taxpayer's money to bail them out.

Posted by: thisworld | January 30, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

U.S. is an epicentre of global economic crisis . Every country
has been watching its every developing .Economic tsunami
destroies everything far far away one wave after another. Iceland is in danger.
Asia south Korea is in danger, too. What's the next???
a cry from Asia

Posted by: tokyoedwin | January 31, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Finally, everyone gets it.

Like Congress:

Raising their individual petty cash annual expenditures by $93,000 IS fiscal responsibility, right?

Or is Obama going to give a similar speech to Congress? Or are bonuses for Congress a good idea? Can we maybe have someone in office at least ACT like there's a crisis? Anyone?

Posted by: gekkobear1 | January 31, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

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