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Obama: Wall Street Bonuses 'Outrageous'

President Obama believes the multi-billion dollar bonuses that Wall Street banks awarded executives for 2008 are "outrageous", White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said moments ago, Reuters reports.

According to the New York comptroller this week, Wall Street firms paid out $18.4 billion in bonuses -- even as they got government bailout money.

The comptroller said it is unclear if the banks used bailout money -- taxpayer money -- to pay for the bonuses but he urged the Obama administration to examine the issue closely.

Executive compensation has become an emotional hot-button issue during this recession, with some arguing that firms receiving government bailout money should limit executive pay and cease bonuses. Others argue that it is unfair to punish profitable divisions of a bank by denying them bonuses because other divisions in the same bank lost money. They fear government intervention that would lead to the decidedly anti-capitalistic practice of wage-fixing.

Gibbs said that Obama had a one-word reply when he heard of the reports: "Outrageous."

"We're not going to be able to do what is needed to be done to stabilize our financial situation if the American people read about this type of outrageous behavior," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said Obama would talk about bonuses when he meets with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner this afternoon.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 3:07 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, Obama, bonuses, executive compensation  
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Next: Obama: Big Wall Street Bonuses 'Shameful'


Those Wall Street CEOs aren't like you and me; and they're doing a good job proving it. Talk about the Peter Principle!

Posted by: Diogenes | January 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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