A Spoonful of Populism

By Dan Froomkin
4:12 PM ET, 01/29/2009

Well, that changes things a little. President Obama, in an appearance with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, just ripped into banks for continuing their profligate ways even as they are being bailed out with taxpayer money. He even mentioned the $50 million luxury jet that I referenced earlier today.

"One point I want to make is that all of us are going to have responsibilities to get this economy moving again," he said. "And when I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers had given themselves $20 billion worth of bonuses -- the same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004 -- at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that, if they don't provide help, that the entire system could come down on top of our heads, that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful...

"The American people understand that we've got a big hole that we've got to dig ourselves out of, but they don't like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up....

"And, you know, Secretary Geithner already had to pull back one institution that had gone forward with a multimillion-dollar jet plane purchase at the same time as they're receiving TARP money.

"We shouldn't have to do that, because they should know better. And we will continue to send that message loud and clear."

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