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Obama: I don't 'begrudge' certain kinds of big bonuses

President Obama can't seem to make up his mind on big Wall Street bonuses.

In an interview on Tuesday with Bloomberg, Obama said he doesn't "begrudge" the $17 million bonus received by J.P. Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon or the $9 million pocketed by Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Though $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for most people, Obama said, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”

Huh.

Wasn't it just late last month that Obama called such bonuses "shameful?"

"There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses," Obama said in January. "Now's not that time. And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them."

Yet in the Bloomberg interview, Obama practically defends the bonuses, saying that Dimon and Blankfein took them in stock, not cash. Such a payout “requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings.” He said that’s a “fairer way of measuring CEO success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better.”

It's worth noting that Blankfein's Goldman Sachs is the king of Wall Street investment banks and that Chase's Dimon is routinely mentioned as a replacement or successor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Reliable Keynesian Paul Krugman has this to say about Obama's statement: Oh. My. God.

Conservatives should cheer this statement from the president, but they'll probably be falling all over one another to be the first to call him a flip-flopper.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Obama , The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Blankfein, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon, Obama, bonuses, executive compensation  
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Comments

This is a blatant baldfaced lie....He said he did not begrudge anyones wealth or success..
How about reporting on the depth of the GOP lack of integrity:

As Rachel pointed out, Think Progress has done a lot of great work on the subject and here are a few examples.

GOP Senate Candidate Rep. Mike Castle Takes Credit For Over $5 Million In Stimulus Funds He Voted To Kill

In KY, McConnell Brags About Stimulus Projects, Requests More Money; In DC, McConnell Says Stimulus Should End

Republicans Who Opposed The Stimulus Continue To Pan It As A ‘Failure,’ While Also Taking Credit For Its Success

Jindal Tours Louisiana Attacking ‘Washington Spending’ While Handing Out Jumbo-Sized Stimulus Checks

Jindal takes credit for stimulus, presents constituents with jumbo-sized stimulus check.

Rep. Shuster Bashes The Stimulus As A Failure While Taking Credit For Its Success

Republicans Who Opposed The Stimulus Line Up To Criticize It Publicly, Request More Money Privately

Kit Bond Touts Effects Of Stimulus Bill He Voted Against

All In A Day’s Work: Rep. Kingston Smears The Stimulus On TV, Takes Credit For Stimulus Jobs In His District

Posted by: jetlone | February 10, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are rapidly running out of the Obama = socialism rant. Where do you go from here? There's only so much lying propaganda that the teabag nation will listen to.

Posted by: seakeys | February 10, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

What grandstanding BS, Ahrens.

Bonuses in stock is one of the things many were touting months ago as a way to force your Wall Street buddies to get a grip and think long term.

But, NO, they don't deserve these kind of bonuses and they DO need to pay FICA taxes on every red cent or stock they make.

What a novel idea!! Let the obscenely rich pay FICA taxes on 100% of their income just like regular people!!!

Posted by: edismae | February 10, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

This article is giving half truths! Obama stated that he doesn’t begrudge the bonuses IF they are deserved & CAN be explained! Moreover; this article didn’t state that Mr. Dimon got 69 million in bonuses the year BEFORE Obama took office! Soooo; 17 compared to 69....I'll take it (if well deserved)

Posted by: BasicInstinct | February 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Why even report this story?
Next week obama will be calling
them crooked greedy rascals,
stealing from middle american.

It is only lying, if someone is
listening, otherwise, it is just
obama, talking to himself.
He has never Told a lie.

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 10, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

An Exciting and Vibrant time to be Alive-
We have just about completed the first decade of the 21st century, How will we be remembered a hundred years from now?
we all get to write that story in the coming decades. Will we be a stand up generation? Or will we come up short?
We had been handed a freedom not many will experience in this world. Are we protecting that freedom for future generations ?
Or will we give it up for security and entitlements? Out of Apathy …Wake Up before it is really too late!
We have the ability to reverse the course we are on. Each and every one of us can make a difference, if we care to do so.
Right now we still have freedoms, if somewhat limited. To speak up and to be heard…Do it… Make your voice heard…
Time to shake off the apathy and do what needs to be done to protect our individual rights and freedoms, while we still have our voices
Time to stop with the “Hyphenated American “and pull together to protect our rights as a free people. like it or not we are losing those rights daily!
I am not going into partisan politics here. It does not matter which party you belong to. That is the source of bickering, division and intolerance today.
Our freedom is at stake here. Our freedom to make decisions for ourselves-be them right or wrong .and to learn from our own mistakes.
We are People not commodities. Either we exist as free men or we suffer as slaves of the state –educate yourself on the issues of freedom.
True freedom. Not some ideological pabulum being spoon fed to a consumer driven society of consumption slaves in perpetual debt and angst.
What are we going to leave as a legacy to our children and grandchildren? Their freedom or their slavery? We get to make that choice today!
Do not let a corrupt media and sly politicians determine your future ; Not when you have the power to do it yourself…
The Time is here and now. Use it wisely…

Posted by: Pauly2 | February 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The President does not likely have any particular reason or capability to judge the salaries of people other than those he employs. Particularly, when he starts getting religion and economics confused, he tends towards more questionable judgements. The substantial issues relating to financial system bonuses don't have anything to do with virtue. But there are several substantial issues that are not likely to be easy to resolve. One, of course, is the reality that the government bailed out several financial instutions that should have gone through bankruptcy. Clearly, there is a problem with large bonuses justified by short term profits that only exist because of government support of the institutions. However, this particular issue does not apply to Goldman Sachs. The second problem is the reality that many of the people making large sums of money in the financial industry are rewarded for risking other people's money. When the risks succeed, they reap huge rewards. When the risks fail, they just get smaller rewards. So their incentives are to take large risks. The third problem has permeated American Society. Both Republicans and Democrats have contributed to the widespread idea that we can let our real economy become uncompetitive and still survive in grand style through the profits of financial speculation. This attitude enhanced the star quality of the financial industry elite and justified their very large financial rewards. In this particular case, the leaders of Goldman Sachs have had the good sense to settle for relatively modest rewards. But, it is not likely that the financial industry has given up the expectation of very large financial rewards. As our economy is forced to adjust to reality and the trend toward financial inequality in American society gets stronger, this attitude is likely to be a persistent source of tension.

Posted by: dnjake | February 10, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

yes, trying to justify open, constant,
blatant lying.

it's exhausting.
poor robert gibbs,
poor rachel maddow,
poor barry sorento,

I thought the 'that depends on what the meaning of the word "IS"; is?

was good,
but obama wins for shear number,
every day,
every interview.

'I need to do a better job explaining to americans what their Core Values, are...'

thank you, I did not have the opportunity
to atend grade school in Jakarta,
where they teach american core values?

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 10, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Two days after the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ran articles saying that Wall Street Bankers would not be contributing to Obama and the Democrats anymore Obama raises the white flag of surrender.

Obama was against big bonuses before he was for them. Obama is starting to remind me of of John Kerry without the carisma.

Posted by: robtr | February 10, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Barry is looking more and more like Bela Lugosi every day with those dark circles under his eyes.

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Bonuses Should Be Approved By Shareholders

The major investment banks have to get rid of the bonuses each year and what better way is there than to distribute passive earnings that arise without building a factory and pay social security taxes? The US financial system is on autopilot to transfer huge sums of money every single year—passive income shares as capital extraction, with the potential to raise demand and prices as these gains are validated within the financial system and turn liquid.

Over time, autopilot transfers arising within the same financial system—insuring fear of loss of income or other passive income generator will help fuel U.S. inflation. Something will happen and we shall all pay for these top-line ‘deserving’ bonuses earned as ‘economic rents’ for the retention of scarce executive talents within the same financial industry.

Passive bonuses should be treated as imputed annual, taxable earnings from current or future profit and as a distributive share approved by shareholders or government regulations, even if it is part of a labor contract for current or future performance. Protecting public interest, including the taxpayer should balance the fairness scale.
GR.

Posted by: GangaRamdas | February 10, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

obama is becoming more delusional especially when off the leash from the teleprompter

obama has already outsourced policy to dems in congress, obama is a narcissist who only cares about personal glory--policy is merely a means to that end

so now obama will become a capitalist supporter if he can get 15 more seconds of fame--

or even relevance

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA--PATHOLOGICAL NARCISSIST
a PREDICTIVE Profile of what obama will do

Obama's Presidency is in free fall FAILURE.

When a Republican even had a CHANCE in Massachusetts-- the verdict is in on the Obama Administration.

Team Obama was voted off the island by angry Americans fed up with the stimulus waste, cap and trade, obama's incessant asinine attacks on capitalism as he kills jobs, obamacare and most importantly 10% unemployment.

A failed embittered Presidency can be extremely dangerous--
so a profile of Obama's like FUTURE actions is critical.

In his monumental work "Hitler and Stalin" Alan Bullock notes both Hitler and Stalin were narcissists. ProCounsel is NOT stating Obama is either Hitler or Stalin. But his analysis, written long before Obama's ascendancy, is a useful model.

Bullock explains narcissism on page 11:

"In such a state only the person himself, his needs,feelings and thoughts, everything and and everybody as they relate to him are experienced as fully real, while everybody and everything otherwise lacks reality or interest."

Bullock describes the effects of narcissism and provides a predictive model useful for Obama on page 343:

"Narcissistic personalities are convinced of their special qualities and their superiority over others, and any threat to this self image--such as being criticized, shown up, or defeated--produces a violent outrage and often a desire for revenge."

Bullock cites 3 psychological reactions Stalin used to guard his narcissistic self image. Bullock credits Robert Tucker for these insights on page 356. The 3 reactions to expect for the Obama profile would be:

1. Repression–simply blankly deny the truth, no matter how obvious or even if caught on video

2. Rationalization-Admit but use the fault as proof of his zeal

3. Projection-Obama will attribute to others the motives and attitudes he refuses to admit in himself

Ironically, per the Profile Dems in the House and Senate will be in much more danger from a wounded irrelevant White House than the Republicans, as Obama will deem the Dems unworthy of him--THEY failed NOT him.

Don't believe the profile??

Just go back and review Obama's response to the Detroit airplane bombing. Obama went through all 3 stages above and that analysis is especially instructive as Obama was naked--without senior staff.

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 10, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Hear we go again, somebody should make up his mind.

Posted by: sam51 | February 10, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama is UGLY!

Posted by: houston123 | February 10, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Three more of years of he can't make up his mind. Glad Washington is closed for several snow days. At least we know Congress and the White House are off and can't make anything worse for now.

Posted by: 45upnorth | February 10, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love it! Change We Can Believe! In
Yes We Can, Yes We Can! What a fake!
The has made history by becoming the first president to polarize this nation by record numbers. Amazing, but many of us said, along with Hillary, that Obama does not have the experience. It is now showing!
Big time. But dems please keep listening to Maddow and Matthews! While you watch your party implode! You dems wasted 3 years and got nothing done with a majority in both houses.
Now you party is going to give another carrot to Big Labor Unions by attaching CARD CHECK to the Jobs Bill!
Hmmm The health care reform bill was officially dead once Reid jumped in bed with the union bosses by given them the tax exemption for Cadillac Plans.
Now they are sneaking in the Card Check the union bosses want via the jobs bill.
Keep doing these great things for the union bosses while you can.

Posted by: usmc1969 | February 10, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Must be time for Obama to do a little Wall Street fundraising for his Democrat cronies.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 10, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Obama hs moved from a status of just rented by the financial sector to fully bought and paid for.

Posted by: raydh | February 10, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I don’t begrudge the BIG money these CEOs are getting if I believe in the “COMPENSATION PROCEDURE”; However, I frankly do NOT trust and do NOT believe in the “procedure” these CEOs are being compensated: CEOs from the fortune 500 companies are sitting in one another’s company’s boards which, in turns, determine the BIG compensation packages one another should receive!

Boy, wouldn’t you like to be sitting on the board that determines your own salary??

Furthermore, Mr. and Mrs. American workers’ hard-earned retirement 401K money are being invested in these companies’ stocks which are being “STOLEN” by these ARROGANT* CEOs via stock options payment packages.

Is it righteous that one worker works his butt off for $25.00/hour vs. FAT CAT thieves getting pay for $25,000.00/hour?

Posted by: f16poor | February 11, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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