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Obama calls $18B in Wall St. bonuses 'shameful'

President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it "the height of irresponsibility" for Wall Street employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their financial sector was crumbling.

"It is shameful," Obama said from the Oval Office. "And part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility."

The president's comments, made with new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side, came in swift response to a report that employees of the New York financial world garnered an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses last year. The figure, from the New York state comptroller, drew prominent news coverage.

Yet Obama's stand also came just one day after he surrounded himself with well-paid chief executives at the White House. He had pulled in those business leaders and hailed them for being on the "front lines in seeing the enormous problems in our economy right now."

The president said the public dislikes the idea of helping the financial sector, only to see the hole get bigger because of lavish spending. The comptroller's report found that Wall Street employees got paid about the same amount of bonuses as they did in the boom time of 2004.

Obama said he and Geithner will speak directly to Wall Street leaders about the bonuses, which threaten to undermine public support for more government intervention. The House just approved an economic stimulus plan that would cost taxpayers more than $800 billion; the Senate is considering its own version.

Separately, Congress also passed a $700 billion plan last year to shore up the financial sector.

"We're going to be having conversations as this process moves forward directly with these folks on Wall Street to underscore that they have to start acting in a more responsible fashion if we are to, together, get this economy rolling again," Obama said.

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


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Added: Jan-29-2009 Occurred On: Jan-29-2009
By: PiRaTeCoPy
In:
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Tags: bonuses, shameful, Obama,
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  • Unless they're taking federal money, it's none of his damned business who gets paid what...especially if bonuses are part of the employees' regular compensation package.

    If, on the other hand, the fools take the federal money, then they're making a deal with the devil and they get what they deserve.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • Comment of user 'dunedad' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • sorta keeping up appearances ?

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • Comment of user 'dunedad' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • I believe the $819 Billion stimulus package is shameful.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • Its not a stimulus package. Its a OSPENDA package. This 1.3 trillion dollar package that does nothing for the economy. LMAO at people who think its just 800 billion! Its trillions people wake the f up!!!

      LMAO at the lame empty suit of OSPENDA! Next its the taxes, he will raise them like a mad man! This country is doomed.

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • If he thinks that is shameful why did he help it pass.
    He should take a look at that piece of crap they are calling a stimulus package.
    By the way I make my own ATV trails and I don't need taxpayers money put it in Social Security or something.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • Wall Street in feast or famine will always get their bonus. Otherwise they would leave which wouldn't be a bad thing. Actually they wouldn't leave because there aren't any more jobs out there for them to have so take the bonus out and reduce their paycheck as well while you are at it. Let them see how the rest of the country gets by.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • So Obama wants everyone to suffer now.

    Some people will lose money and some will make ALL THE TIME

    no matter the state of the economy

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • Obobo considers it shameful because none of it got channelled to his wife as is customary to do business in his domain.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • I wouldn't ming being ashamed for 18 billion too.
    ;-)
    LOL!

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • LOL His wife was paid how much for a position at a hospital that was soooo important the job know longer exists. Bitch please.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • time to pay off all the people that got him elected

    Posted Jan-30-2009 By 

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  • Comment of user 'WTFnow' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • most business' don't reward their employees for losing money.
    I hope Obama makes them give it back....

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • they changed the rules when the begged for a bailout,
      those who accepted it obviously didn't do well enough to pay out bonuses.
      It's not about communism, unless you just bail them out and let them do whatever they wish.
      It's our money too...

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • Citibank which has received a total of 340 billion in guarantees or loans from taxpayers, is about to blow 50 million on a 12 seat passenger jet made in France for its top executives.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • They ordered the plane 2 YRS AGO! When they were making money. So now you want them to tell the company that they contracted for the plane f off and they lose all that money and then they go out of business and more employees lose thier jobs? Real smart libass. How about they purchase the plane, and then turn around and sell it.

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • that's what i'm talking about

      the greed of the richest folk and their waste spending is not being addressed

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • An airplane they ordered 4 years ago, before the bailout, and for which they'll pay millions in penalties if they cancel the order.

      Nice one.

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • What about the waste of arrogant government bureaucrats, las. Private business isn't even in their league.

      How about some accountability there?

      Anyone? Anyone?

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • i was simply giving an example. we can write a long list of examples but i'm feeling lazy right now. you do it

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • While we are at it, let's audit how much money leftist Universities and their ranks receive.

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • The wall street bonuses were for all workers..not just the CEO's as is mostly alledged (floor traders, admin assistants, janitors, etc)... its part of an annual and expected year-end employment package..and I think the article I read said the bonus value was down 40-something percent from last year...and the bonus packages averaged just over $100,000 (not the janitors bonus for sure)..still a nice hunk of change, and to me, a bit outside the greed box. I would link the article but forgot where More..

    Posted Jan-30-2009 By 

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  • couldn't agree more! the imbalance should be addressed so that the middle class can strengthen. the spinal chord of every society's economy is the middle class -- remove the middle and you have a very small upper class and a huge lower class (like Mexico, for example)

    Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • Nothing wrong with making as much money as one can. Of course you wouldn't know since you live in the projects and don't work anyway. I'd take a bonus with no questions asked if I met the criteria to get the bonus.

      These companies have contracts with the employees. Its also not just the CEO's and CFO's that get these bonus's. Its the worker bees that also get these bonus's. It's across the board.

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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    • - i don't have to live in the projects to have this point of view

      - i'm talking about executives and CEOs that earn tens of millions, hundreds of millions, while the vast majority of employees are still not getting benefits or increased wages. something should be done to address this financial imbalance in the markets, imo

      - i don't think the stimulus tax cuts or the bailouts are helping us very much primarily because there isn't enough oversight as to who it is being given to and how it is be More..

      Posted Jan-29-2009 By 

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  • obooma has ruined america

    Posted Dec-27-2011 By 

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