Wall Street Wasting Bailout on Bonuses

January 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been spent bailing out Wall Street. But financial executives are still writing checks to their employees, giving them nearly $20-billion dollars in bonuses. President Obama is upset about that practice and he's not the only one.

While the president used stark terms to warn the American people the crisis is far from over.....

President Obama said, "This is a continuing disaster for America's working families. As worrying as these numbers are, it's what they mean for the American people that really matters and that's so alarming."

Outrage over billions in Wall Street bonuses continued to build, "we have a bunch of idiots on wall street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer. They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18-billion dollars in bonuses." Said Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was co-chair of Mr. Obama's campaign and she has a simple proposal; no employee of a company receiving a taxpayer bailout can earn more than the president of the United States, $400,000dollars a year.

The President's Spokesman, Robert Gibbs, made clear the administration is putting together a reform package that will target excessive pay, "I think it is very safe to assume that, when a plan is outlined for financial stability, that it will include and address executive compensation and bonuses."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants a temporary oversight court that would empower the government to restrain reckless spending. He said, "If something is going to change, we in congress have to change it. We need to do it now, and we need to do it in a way that sticks."

But we've heard similar promises before, such as when Mr. Obama left the campaign trail last fall to vote for the $700 billion dollar bailout he, like many in both parties, claimed then that the bill would be tough.

President Obama said, "Number three, I said that I would not allow this plan to become a welfare program for Wall Street executives whose greed and irresponsibility got us into this mess."

It turns out that expressing outrage is the easy part. Actually taking action and getting it to stick now that's tough.

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