Steal food from a grocery store to feed your family- go to jail. Steal trillions from the global economy, pay yourself a bonus and the new President calls it “shameful.”
Obama told reporters he was outraged by a report of $18.4 billion paid out in Wall Street bonuses, as taxpayer money was being used to shore up the crumbling financial system.
“That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful,” Obama said while hosting a meeting in the Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Vice President Joe Biden.
Obama said he and Geithner would send a message to Wall Street players that “there will be time for them to make profits and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.”
From the Dayton Business Journal:
The average 2008 bonus for employees at Wall Street securities firms was $112,000, according to data from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli….
On Wednesday, media reports said Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) plans to defer bonus payments to some investment-banking staff this year.
The move is in sharp contrast to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., which is being investigated for making between $3 billion and $4 billion in bonus payments in late December, days before the securities firm was acquired by BofA. Merrill lost $15.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office issued subpoenas Tuesday seeking the testimony of former Merrill Chief Executive John Thain and BofA Chief Administrative Officer J. Steele Alphin on the bonuses.
Sorry, Barack, you are going to have to do better than that. These were bonuses on top of regular exorbitant pay. Any bonus paid to any exec on Wall Street to a company that has taken a dime from the TARP- should be demanded to be returned, or face jail time. Felony jail time.
Don’t mince words, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, pay it back or go directly to jail.