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Obama calls executive bonuses 'shameful'

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What's really shameful is giving taxpayers' money to failed Wall Street firms.

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That was our Buddy GW Bush and Co.

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Sarge I do agree that giving taxpayer money to Wall Street firms is shameful, but I feel it was/is needed.

I'm first pissed off that there wasn't a provision put in the original TARP to stop this kind of theft. And I'm livid that these people could stand there in front of us as leaders and supposed to have some kind of conscience to their investors and country to whom this money came from, that they could steal funds for their own personal gain.

There ought to be a retroactive bill passed today that taxes those bonuses at 99%. Then the states can figure it any way they want. It is unforgivable that these crooks could get away with this. < :-)

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Word shame is in the dictionary but Wall Street was/is not aware of it. Obama should go one step further and recollect such bonuses plus interest charges.

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Now who thinks these fat cats need more tax cuts? Please raise your hands and then grab your ankles because that is what they are doing to all of us.

It is darn shameful that they got such great bonuses when so many people lost their jobs. Time to get things straight.

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What's really shameful is giving taxpayers' money to failed Wall Street firms.

What's really shameful was the half-baked way they did it. Something needed to be done, but the congress's collective IQ was somewhere around that of a clam. No accountability, no oversight, no results.

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This is indeed shameful. Total disregard for the shareholders and other employees. Almost as shameful as government lawmakers and officials voting to give themselves raises. Total disregard for the taxpaying public.

That was our Buddy GW Bush and Co.

It's been going on way way before GWB.

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It's been going on way way before GWB.

Yeah, but GWB did it more, did it more often, and did it right in our faces.

Sarge I do agree that giving taxpayer money to Wall Street firms is shameful, but I feel it was/is needed.

I cannot say I have enough details to decide if it was necessary or not, but I do have my doubts. These executives certainly should be in the know about it, and apparently, they disagree with your assessment. By this action, it seems they did not feel there was a danger.

Obama should go one step further and recollect such bonuses plus interest charges.

Agree 100 percent.

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Some of the corporate bonuses are sickening.

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IcingDeath - pretty much nailed that one spot on.

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It's not only shameful, it is criminal. Unless you believe this whopper from John Thain of Merrill Lynch in an interview this week - "If you don't pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise. Those best people can get jobs other places, they will leave."

That's right. You have to pay the people who destroyed your franchise, otherwise you will destroy your franchise. And then lose them to other jobs at where, McDonalds and Walmart? Nope, this was theft, nothing else.

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The bonuses may be politically shameful--especially to those who handed money out to Wall Street with no strings attached--but they are not shameful per se.

People qualify for bonuses on the basis of performance. That performance is defined in their contracts and bonuses are often a trade-off for salary. What would have been truly shameful is not to honor contracts, whether those contracts be with high-flying executives or with rank-and-file workers.

It would have been nice, perhaps, if the executives had refused the bonuses as a matter of conscience. Some have previously done so. However, very few other than those who actually received the bonuses are in positions to know whether they were truly deserving of this compensation.

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What's really shameful is giving taxpayers' money to failed Wall Street firms.

Apparently shameful is not part of Bush's moral calculus which may explain why there were no instructions on how this money was to be spent.

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Did he include his wife among the undeserving?

Her $321,000/yr position as "vice president for community and external affairs" was quietly eliminated at the Chicago hospital (sudden beneficiary of state largesse once Obama made it to the Senate) where she used to work.

Shameful.

http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OGRiMWFhNWY4MTgzMjI3NjEzNGQwMWFiMTlhYmRhN2Y=

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sarge: "What's really shameful is giving taxpayers' money to failed Wall Street firms."

And yet you were willing to vote for a man who was going to give them more tax breaks on TOP of the bonuses and bailouts. Doesn't say much for your preferences or priorities.

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It is shameful But why hasn't JT or anyone discussed congress and the senate giving themselves yet another raise?

It was also shameful to start giving out Credit to people who could not afford it. Owning a house is not a basic right, nor is shelter. It was also very shameful to shift a lot of the blame on only the outgoing admin and let off all the dems who were involved off the hook.

I say it was shameful to give the bonuses, but I do not think it was shameful to take the bonuses. Any one of us wouldn't not have turned them down had it been offered to us.

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Shameful indeed that these people destroyed the economy and are still collecting bonuses, but it is also shameful that people are still doing business with the murderous Israelis.

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sarge: "What's really shameful is giving taxpayers' money to failed Wall Street firms."

They are private companies taking huge private profits. Plain and simple, the answer is right in front of you.

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Since Michelle Obama is not a wall street CEO, and her former employer is about as far removed from this story as possible, would bashing the first lady be considered "off topic"? Just wondering.

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also, I personally think the rate of printing money is very shameful. Walking away from the gold standard was shameful too.

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People qualify for bonuses on the basis of performance.

And the ones who convinced Congress to give them the money asap, because they could not foresee this and could not wait, boy, did they ever perform!

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what was said was that these bonuses were to keep "the good employees around" on some news program I heard. If my best guy right now came to me and said he wanted a bonus or he'll leave, I'd say to him "go ahead and leave". Good luck find a job at this moment.

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People qualify for bonuses on the basis of performance. That performance is defined in their contracts and bonuses are often a trade-off for salary.

In the lower ranks, yes. But look closer. As the positions and salaries get more stratospheric, a different element emerges. In Hollywood, for example, everyone naturally wants a hit. But who gets the HUGE money? The people who handle it. A producer can have a chain of flops, but if he's comfortable wrangling budgets, his esteem increases (ask Richard Rush, director of "The Stunt Man," about how little success matters when put up against CEO mentality.)

Look up Carly Fiorina, former CEO for HP. She unambiguously ran that company in the ground, and after getting shown the door (WAY too late,) she was given an absurd severance package, then (unsurprisingly) found herself on McCain's campaign team. Hell, how many bankruptcies did Bush oversee before being elected President?

Your assessment of money=performance might be accurate in the lower depths, but as you get higher, power, connections and ego gain much more influence. And frankly, defending the "worth" of CEOs that are in the process of getting handouts due to the FAILURE of their companies makes your argument a bizarre one indeed.

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A cheating pair of scales is most detestable to God.

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what is very shameful is capital gains taxes, taxes without representation, corporate taxes.

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what is very shameful is capital gains taxes, taxes without representation, corporate taxes.

Do you want a hanky? Anyway, who is going to pay for the military that backstops American capitalism if corporate America does not pay? After all they benefit the most.

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"Shameful" "Now is not the time" What? Is that all Obama can say and do about this travesty? Whatever happened to "Change we can?" Is that forgotten now that he is in power? Mr President, now is not the time, and the time is never, for these bonuses for the fat cats - it is wrong now, and it is always wrong. No human being is worth that amount. Shame on you for not acting to make these bonuses illegal right away.

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corporate America does not pay? After all they benefit the most." If the gov keeps increasing corp taxes, they are left with little to grow, invest, innovate, and create jobs. You are basically taking from the hand that feed you. America has one of the highest corp taxes in the world.

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I guess his wife should give back the money she got (Was it $350,000.00?) for being on an appointed position for a food company in Chicago. Management said they'd never seen her, obviously a Chicago Politics payoff.

"Michelle also is under attack for joining the board of a food company where she allegedly took part in a 2005 decision to close a pickle and relish plant in La Junta, Colorado, putting 150 mostly Hispanic labourers out of work."

Everyone in Chicago knows obama is a crook. He ONLY won his election as senator because he did a lawyer trick and got his 3 opponents kicked off the ballot by a crooked court order. The court dates were set AFTER the election, the others running against him could not fight it!

Change HAS come to Washington. The Chicago Mafia has finally been elected President. He will just blame his failures on Bush, as image is everything to the typical American Teenage Idiot. No job? Crap economy? Thats OK, they can just live with their parents forever and spend time at the shopping mall. A country full of losers waiting for government to fix their problems and give them money and healthcare for free.

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It is shameful But why hasn't JT or anyone discussed congress and the >senate giving themselves yet another raise?

I said above;This is indeed shameful. Total disregard for the shareholders and other employees. Almost as shameful as government lawmakers and officials voting to give themselves raises. Total disregard for the taxpaying public.

what is very shameful is capital gains taxes, taxes without representation, corporate taxes.

What are you saying? That individuals should have to pay taxes but corporations don't? By what reasoning?

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and to skipthesong; well, corporate America doesnt really pay tax, they just pass it on in the cost of their product. If they didnt, theres no money to be made. Liberals dont understand that if they raise taxes on a business, that comes out of their profit. No profit = need to make cuts. They can cut marketing, R&D, jobs, equipment...but they do that and their competitors will get their business. One reason many businesses in Wisconsin had left or failed. Lots of talent but they cant afford to do business in that state. Master Lock, Briggs and Stratton, Harnischfeger, Allen Bradley, even Delphi died in Wisconsin. W.H. Brady is next, and all thanks to the bribed-by-Indian-Casinos Governor Doyle.

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In many ways the term "Bonus" is very misleading. On the project I am presently working on, the VP is working for a salary of $1 for the term of the project. At hte end of the project he will be paid by a "bonus". Keeping executive salaries low on projects keeps them off budget and frees up the money to be used as capital. I wouldn't expect Obama, who has never held a job, to know this.

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Yep! They are shameful. I didnt need Obama to tell me that and unless he puts an end to this crap immediately, theres no point in making it public. Will his only action be a comment and slap on the wrist to these people? In the end he`ll have very little pull as large private corporations basically run congress...

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Mr. Obama's speech is absolutely right. These excutives are typical capitalism, sooner or later, will collapse whole financial system of the country deeply making much more homeless and jobless people there.

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I didnt need Obama to tell me that

He's not telling you that. He's telling them that. Lots of tangents and opinions here which don't have much or anything to do with what the article is about. What it is about is that the American and Western financial system has been exposed for what it is - the most massive fraud in human history. Fake, illusionary profits designed to boost share prices, and in return executives received massive salaries, massive "performance" bonuses, and of course generous stock options which they could cash in by selling to some pension fund or some other sucker. The transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from shareholders to the financial "experts" whose "success" was going to run the companies into the ground. And now that they have got all the shareholders' money they think they can take the taxpayer for a ride too. Insanity.

And if you think I am full of it, just answer this question. Why would you give an unemployed guy $700,000 dollars to buy a house if that wasn't part of the fraud you were operating?

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..and now the end is near..... As bad as all of these bail outs have been, the worst is coming soon. Somebody in the house tacked on a "buy American steel" line to Obama's big stimulous package. If it passes as is, expect Europe, Japan, UK and Canada to do likewise and world trade will come to a halt and we will all be out of work.

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what is very shameful is capital gains taxes, taxes without representation, corporate taxes.

Obviously, you are someone who does not appreciate that the wealth and the means of production tend to pool at the top and stay there, making it harder and harder for even the best at the bottom to move up. You do not appreciate that the situation tends to solidify into one of privilege for a few. That is what is happening right now. We are working ourselves into a new kind of feudalism, where the lords take and take and take without shame, and pass it down to their children rather than those it would be better to enrich. Taxes on them are one of the few things we have to check them.

The rich need to be taxed more, not less. They need to receive a fair salary for work when they do it, not get huge bonuses. And when they cry that they messed up, and need help, and need to dip into OUR collective treasure chest to stay rich, they need to do that with some respect. If we do not rein them in, they will surely rein us in, and they will reign over us in the new feudalism, if they do not already.

Shameful is income tax. Until WWI, it did not even exist. Shameful is inheritance tax. Capital gains and corporate taxes are some of the fairest taxes around, because they bring the wealth back into play. Its poor people who need every dollar that should not be taxed. Don't worry about the guy in the BMW or the Humvee.

Trust me, these fat cats DO NOT need your help. They can take care of themselves. This whole bailout and bonus thing is AMPLE evidence that they can take care of themselves. And AMPLE evidence that they will ride our backs to do it.

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And I will say that it is equally shameful for the government to create a stimulus plan with so much of that money going to organizations, such as NEA, an org for ATV trails, etc.., that don't hire workers, but use volunteers, are still funded by donations, and don't do a damn thing to help the economy. Also, while some praise it, but the equal pay bill, which now means I must pay by best performing workers the same as the least performing..... Wall Street, DC - really a match made in heaven.

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Oh, and I forgot, Obama just gave 5.2Billion to ACORN.... very shameful.

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simple solution: whatever wall street executives decide to pay themselves in salary and bonuses, simply minus that amount from the bailout package. enough said and end of story. i thought you ameriKKKans were supposed to be good at simple arithmetic.

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The House vote late Wednesday broke along party lines—244-188 with 177 Republicans unanimous in opposition, along with 11 mostly conservative Democrats.

The Repubs opposing on principle, now I find that disgusting, particularly knowing these same Republicans destroyed America.

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I agree we have been living in a new feudal era. A few wealthy control all the wealth while labor and working class people have been left behind. Worst our labor has become a commodity to be devalued at will and our jobs shifted to ever cheaper options in other countries.

At what point did we vote to give business a free ticket to control the world? Look where their leadership and our inaction have delivered us. We sit on the edge of a second great depression all the while paying out to save these companies. And they turn around and pay out bonuses.

These people are beyond contempt. They are pond scum.

The one hope I retain is that history has vividly demonstrated that the priviledged may rule for a while, but when things get bad enough the masses rise and put them down. Sometimes against a wall, sometimes at the end of an executioners blade. I hope for our generation that punishment is a stint being as poor as the masses they once oppressed.

We have the power to force this imbalance to change if we want. We just have to overcome the delussions that so many live with that they can work hard and enter that upper class. That propaganda has kept workers down for far too long. We do the hard work, we make business possible, we buy the products and we have the power to make the economic curve a lot more flat for the masses to share in the wealth if we have the guts to use our most powerful tools, our voices, our votes and our activism.

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Oh, and I forgot, Obama just gave 5.2Billion to ACORN.... very shameful.

not nearly as shameful as what you spent on AKON.

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onewrldoneppl - "simple solution: whatever wall street executives decide to pay themselves in salary and bonuses, simply minus that amount from the bailout package."

Good idea.

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I agree we have been living in a new feudal era. A few wealthy control all the wealth while labor and working class people have been left behind. Worst our labor has become a commodity to be devalued at will and our jobs shifted to ever cheaper options in other countries." Yeah, but you can change that. There is no reason to stay at the bottom.

not nearly as shameful as what you spent on AKON." Did I miss something?

likeitis: If I have to keep paying out on money I make, what is it worth? Until we come up with a different form of currency/payment, cash is what I want. I don't mind giving, but I do belive I should work for myself, not for the government. With everything being taxed, I sometimes feel that we are slaves to the US government. We just keep paying and paying and it gets bigger and bigger. Everyone agrees that what these execs did is bad, but why are we ignoring the government? Hey, take a look at many of those guys' offices, houses, cars, etc.... Why should they get off?

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"That is what is happening right now. We are working ourselves into a new kind of feudalism..."

Yeah. I know that when I see how "the poor" in America are overweight, have broadband access, live like middle class folks in Portugal or Greece, pay no taxes but vote in pols who promise to sock it to "the rich" I often think the faceless plutocrats people like you imagine pull the strings just can't wait to impose the feudalism of their evil white European ancestors on us.

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Yeah. I know that when I see how "the poor" in America are overweight, their bread and circuses. I take it you are one of the ones satisfied with the bread and circuses?

There are plenty of Americans overweight for eating cheap unhealthful food. There are plenty of Americans paid a substandard wage, despite doing all the work that keeps somebody else very very rich. Even if they gave up broadband, they still won't have enough money to move out of their rental house. If they paid more for more healthful food, they certainly won't make the next mortgage. Healthful food costs money, even if you cook at home. Meanwhile, already rich people are skimming from them for personal gain.

I can live with a lot of things. I can basically live with the new feudalism. But only as long as our new wave lords are being responsible. By this action, they most certainly are not. They must be made to be responsible, or we will all suffer greatly.

If I have to keep paying out on money I make, what is it worth?

Did you read the part where I decried income tax? You see, capital gains tax is not put on money that someone earned. Its put on money that somebody else earned for them. Why does that happen? Because that somebody already has the money to make more money! In a sense, they own a small piece of you.

Believe me, its not the government taking most of the money you actually make. You never see a lot of the money you actually make! Its the owner of the company you work at, and he makes money ONLY because he owns the company. You work. He sits, or could if he wanted. You scrimp and scrape. He gets rich. That is basically how it works.

Obviously, the government should not be taxing you. But it should be taxing him. And here he takes money not only from his own tax payments, but YOURS too! Do they not profit enough from you already?

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I know that when I see how "the poor" in America are overweight, have broadband access, live like middle class folks in Portugal or Greece, pay no taxes

Ahhh... Wouldn't the world be simply splendid if we could view it with such child-like simplicity and paint everything . . . and everyone . . . with such broad generalizations?

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likeitis,

And the ones who convinced Congress to give them the money asap, because they could not foresee this and could not wait, boy, did they ever perform!

I'm not sure they performed as well as Congress. However, yes, they did perform. On the other hand, are they the ones who got the bonuses?

Specifically whose bonus should we take away and for what reason? If people meet performance standards and if the company has the money to meet its compensation requirements, on what grounds do we recommend denying them their contractual payments?

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TPOJ,

I don't think that's an accurate assessment of executive compensation. Yes, there are severance packages and golden parachutes and all sorts of exotic forms of compensation that are not necessarily related to performance. However, on an ongoing basis executives earn bonuses for performance and those bonus programs are often rather meticulously designed by big accounting firms or actuarial firms to incentivize productivity.

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However, on an ongoing basis executives earn bonuses for performance and those bonus programs are often rather meticulously designed by big accounting firms or actuarial firms to incentivize productivity.

Which sounds logical, if it weren't for the current predicament. If people running failed companies receive bonuses, particularly ones of this size, then the programs couldn't have been THAT meticulous.

People are receiving bonuses...large ones...after failure. Your scenario looks good on paper, but in practice...well, we're still having this conversation.

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Because that somebody already has the money to make more money!

How did he get the money in the first place? Money fairy visited his house and bypassed mine?

Just curious.

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The problem is that a CEO makes 150million and the average worker at the same company makes 50,000. The problem is that we expect year on year exponential growth instead of sustainability. The problem is that we live in a viral culture that feeds on endless consumption that can no longer be sustained.

It is time for radical, comprehensive change. And that starts with social outrage over people getting bonuses while laying off workers. It comes with demanding fair wage balances within companies and condemnation of astronomical salaries. And it comes with working class people demanding change enmasse including back breaking strikes if necessary to achieve change.

President Obama is right in his condemnation. But we should all be outraged and raising our voices to demand change.

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However, very few other than those who actually received the bonuses are in positions to know whether they were truly deserving of this compensation.

I beg to differ. When a company fails, I think it's pretty fair to say that the employees who are losing their jobs as a result of the collapse are in perfect positions to know whether the bosses who helmed their company to disaster deserve bonuses for their efforts or not.

Did he include his wife among the undeserving?

This has nothing to do with "undeserving." It has to do with corporate responsibility. It has to do with doing what is necessary to ensure your business not only survives, but thrives. It has to do with meeting your contractual obligations to shareholders. It has to do with meeting your moral obligation to the rank-and-file employees who created your wealth. And it has to do with unemployment reaching double-digits, and the CEOs of failed businesses still somehow collecting vast sums of money for essentially allowing their companies to fail, while simultaneously asking for a bailout from the very same people they just laid off. It's unconscionable. That you’d try to misdirect with such an unrelated point as Michelle Obama’s employment history when the economy was sound speaks volumes about the sheer arrogance and sense of entitlement CEOs and their, ahem, “conservative” cheering section here on JT, seem to feel, to the detriment of the rest of us plebes.

Seriously, you folks throwing out scorn at Obama’s dead-on assessment of the unmitigated greed of corporate America, particularly you, Sailwind, with your endless complaining about the very institutions that make the entire system work, and yes, allow companies to flourish, like capital gains and corporate tax, crack me up to no end. I thought you folks were the “fiscal responsibility” party. What gives? You argue on the one hand that responsibly money management is essential, yet here you are on the other hand, bleating about how it’s perfectly acceptable for the leader of a company to continue to profit while the company crumbles around his/her ears. Where the hell’s the fiscal responsibility in that?

And yes, massive corporate pay packages in the US are shameful, and have been for the better part of 30 years. As if someone earning a base salary of $48 million, as in the case of former Merrill-Lynch head Stan O'Neal, would actually NEED an incentive of $159 million to do his job.

Corporate America is more than willing to belly up to the table of free government handouts in the grossest display of (egads!) Socialism™ in eighty years, and you seem to be unfazed by it, but then you have the audacity to express “outrage” that anyone would dare presume to own a home and subsequently have trouble paying for it in a market with out-of-control interest rates and grossly overvalued real estate. “By your own bootstraps,” you all cry, but companies that can afford to pay out $18 BILLION in bonuses to the supposed decision makers, but can’t afford to keep their own employees in jobs doesn’t make you bat an eye? “The Buck Stops Here” takes on a whole new meaning in your reality.

In the meantime, small business owners are paying money out of their own pockets to meet payroll. No bonuses for them, but oddly enough, also no government bailouts. Is this what you all mean by “By your own bootstraps?” Small businesses suck wind while corporate giants get their poor business decisions covered?

The contradictions and hypocrisy here are so thick, it’s getting hard to breathe.

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Graduated tax rates - say stretching to 90% at the top bracket might help to fix this and at the same time pay for the bailout. (OK, so if not 90%, maybe 50% - or the highest graduated tax bracket in the other industrialized countries.)

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How did he get the money in the first place? Money fairy visited his house and bypassed mine?

These days most get their money the old fashioned way: They inherited it. Or rich daddy gave it to them. Its significant part of why the money pools at the top (or bottom as I prefer to think of it).

I remember in college listening to a guy belly-ache about his rich dad who, unlike so many, made him take care of himself basically. I did not offer him a tissue. At least he had that safety net. Dad would not let him fall through the cracks. I had far less. And I won't be inheriting much either, unlike him. In fact, I think its far more likely I will inherit debt!

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Seriously, you folks throwing out scorn at Obama’s dead-on assessment of the unmitigated greed of corporate America, particularly you, Sailwind, with your endless complaining about the very institutions that make the entire system work, and yes, allow companies to flourish, like capital gains and corporate tax, crack me up to no end.

I paid over three thousand dollars in extra taxes last year because of the capital gains I made on my portfolio. My portfolio in now just worth half of what it once was. Three thousand dollars because I invested my long term savings into the market to make a little better profit on it then with it sitting in a bank earning a 3 percent savings rate. Three thousand was my punishment for putting money into companies so they could create jobs and sell products.

I'm not cracking up much now, thank you. Should I direct my anger at CEO's now, when before my portfolio for the past ten years grew at an average rate of twelve percent? Or should I direct my anger at the Government whos irresponsible fiscal management drove us to this point in the first place?

Blame the corporate greed all you want. Corporations just react to Government policy it doesn't create it. If they can get a bailout of course they will ask for it.

Hold Congress responsible not corporate greed. They allowed this and now they are doing what they do best, throwing even more money at the problem and wondering why CEO's aren't cutting their own bonuses. Why should they they already have my three thousand dollars in extra taxes being refunded to them in a bailout.

Go figure

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Cap salaries, cap 'em. Have a limit. Stop somewhere.

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sailwind,

That's a good point. Part of that bail out should go the investors more than they should go to people who bought stuff on credit knowingly that they could not pay for it. Instead of bailing them out, they should penalize them.

Cap salaries, cap 'em. Have a limit. Stop somewhere." Come work for me. I'll be happy to cap your salary. If you are going to cap anyone's salary, it should be the government.

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Part of that bail out should go the investors more than they should go to people who bought stuff on credit knowingly that they could not pay for it. Instead of bailing them out, they should penalize them.

BINGO!

skip I owe you a cigar.

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likeitis:"Healthful food costs money, even if you cook at home."

You typify the oft-quoted observation that in modern America many of the 'poor' are not 'have-nots' so much as they are 'can nots' or 'will nots'.

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You typify the oft-quoted observation that in modern America many of the 'poor' are not 'have-nots' so much as they are 'can nots' or 'will nots'.

I cannot deny that. However, many have been sapped of hope by things such as low wages, unfair work practices, and other schlock designed to make one guy richer and to heck with anything and everything else, including fairness or the happiness of employees.

But what you say takes nothing away from the simple fact that good food costs money. I know poor people who cook at home. Everything they cook is garbage. Its a combination of not knowing any better and not being able to afford better. And it never helps when they get into the dry spell created by the hiring-firing cycle they go through with the same company who does this to avoid having to pay benefits. The owners got toys to buy.

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LFRAgain at 04:56 PM JST - 30th January

Great post.

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Blame the corporate greed all you want. Corporations just react to Government policy it doesn't create it. If they can get a bailout of course they will ask for it. Hold Congress responsible not corporate greed. They allowed this and now they are doing what they do best, throwing even more money at the problem and wondering why CEO's aren't cutting their own bonuses.

Take each instance of "corporation" or "bonuses" in your reply and replace it with "the poor" and "cell phones" and see how it reads. Then see if you can recognize the hypocrisy in your anger.

The government didn't "drive" us anywhere. Sure, it may have created an environment in which the temptation to do really, immensely stupid things with money was greater, but it didn't force anyone to do anything. It certainly didn't force corporations and banks to pursue financially unsound policies like - oh, let's just look at a biggie for example - the packaging and trading of DEBT as an ASSET, for Pete's sake.

No one held a gun to the heads of corporate boards and told them to run their companies to the brink of bankrupcy and create the illusion of increasing profitability for shareholders by investing in debt. No one forced trading firms to gamble with debt in the hopes of winning big. They did this all on their own, under no illusion that it was anything other than an incalculably massive financial risk. Potential for greater profits was all they saw. And they got burned. And now we're all along for the ride, with a price tag that's going to reach into the trillions before all is said and done.

And you want to vent about the capital gains tax? How myopic can you possibly be? Or is your reply indicative of the same mentality that allows COEs to walk away from a table they hobbled with million in bonuses and serverance pay with an attitude akin to "Tough break, folks, but where's MY payday?" Don't cry to me about $3000 in capital gains taxes. You want to play the market, that's the price you pay to play. You knew that going in. It's not as if it were some great secret tax that was suddenly sprung upon you yesterday.

So I ask you again, where is the much vaunted conservative value of "fiscal responsibility" in any of the above?

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Skip, you've got a salary too, see the picture now? Typical response of the unseeing, 'it ain't nowt to do with me'. Cap my salary? Sure if it gets that high; but maybe a lesson for the future? Think before you post.

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"Instead of bailing them out, they should penalize them."

I like that.

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I see no reason to reward the chumps who helped create this disaster. You can blame the government, you can blame greedy wall street execs, you can blame people who sold mortgages to people who really didn't qualify. Then there are the fools who signed mortgages they had no way of paying. Heck, if you are running a balance on your credit card(s) you share some of the blame.

But nobody deserves a bonus for this bull.

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Sarge believe it or not I agree with your last post.

I can't believe the posts that justify the bonuses being paid out to the ones who allowed the market to crash.

Maybe they rate more of our tax dollars, then the $Billions they already have taken?

They need to be put up on charges of theft and the persons who authorized the payments need to be arrested on charges of theft, also. < :-)

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You want to play the market, that's the price you pay to play. You knew that going in. It's not as if it were some great secret tax that was suddenly sprung upon you yesterday.

True...Lost a lot now. Made a lot before can I have my bail-out ?

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TPOJ,

I'm afraid you'll have to say specifically who does not deserve a bonus and why. To simply say that earned bonuses should not be paid because the financial institutions received taxpayer money does not look good even on paper--especially when there were no strings attached to the taxpayer money.

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LFRAgain,

When a company fails, I think it's pretty fair to say that the employees who are losing their jobs as a result of the collapse are in perfect positions to know whether the bosses who helmed their company to disaster deserve bonuses for their efforts or not.

I'd say that the employees who are losing their jobs as a result of a company collapse are some of the least qualified people to know this. Furthermore they are precisely the people who are most likely to be looking for a scapegoat and to want to bring someone down on account of the fact that they have been put out of work. These are people who are most likely to have done functionary work and to have had work goals which afforded them targets to be measured against when it came time to award raises but which individually did very little to forward the aims and purposes of the company.

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President Obama pointed out the obvious and good for him. The shame has been around for a long time. CEOs are overpaid. That they are overpaid and have led American capitalism, and hence world capitalism, to ruin makes their bonuses doubly shameful. There something wrong with these worthless CEOs living the high life on bail out money while working people are unemployed or struggling to get by.

Capitalism in the US is about as bad as it gets, even in good times. But corporate capitalism is universally a monster that bring profits to a few out of the sweat of many.

"At what point did we vote to give business a free ticket to control the world? " We did not vote for this. Was imposed on us long ago.

Now that times are bad you know just how bad corporate capitalism is.

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There is an often told joke about the beautiful woman who slinks up to the CEO at a party and says, "Darling, take me; I'll do anything you want." The CEO answers, "Revalue my stock options." Particularly in the US "corporate greed" has reached unrivaled lows of depravity. It is the greed of a few people who have too much wanting more, even if it means wrecking the system that supports them.

One thing that Obama's cry of shame against the CEOs underscores is this: be it good times or bad American CEOs' incomes have nothing to do with their performance. They are immune to the pains we ordinary people suffer when the economy goes belly up. If there is any historical comparison to be made it between them and the pre-revolutionary French aristocracy. The CEOs live in a modern modular version of Versailles where they never see or hear of the social consequences of their greed.

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To simply say that earned bonuses should not be paid because the financial institutions received taxpayer money does not look good even on paper--especially when there were no strings attached to the taxpayer money.

That's not even close to what I'm saying. I'd also like to point out that your "no strings attached" point is built on law, not right and wrong.

The context of my comments, which is missing in your assertion, is that these bonuses can not have possibly been "earned" through "performance" if the CEO in question is running a failed company.

If you perform...if the company you run makes money...you receive a bonus. If you don't perform...if the company you run fails so badly the government has to come along and bail you out...you don't receive a bonus.

Why do people insist on obfuscating this screamingly obvious point? I'm not decrying a 50 million dollar bonus for the CEO of a wildly successful company. I am...and sorry to repeat myself, but I want to make sure that nothing extra is read into my point...simply stating that if a bonus is attached to performance, and the company doesn't perform, then you don't get the bonus. That's what "attached to" means.

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Interesting Background on this between the hyperbole.

Albany, N.Y. -- It's not just stock brokers and the people selling them luxury goods getting whacked by a sharp decline in Wall Street's traditional six-figure bonuses. New York state alone will lose nearly $1 billion in revenue because of the 44% drop, and the economic effects are rippling nationwide. After months of dire predictions, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli put hard numbers to the pain on Wednesday: Wall Street bonuses totaled $18.4 billion in 2008, down from almost $33 billion in 2007.

The drop will hit the state and New York City the hardest, costing the city $275 million in tax revenue, DiNapoli said.

But other states like New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts that have concentrations of financial workers will feel the pinch, too.

"The states that are in the most danger are the ones that are very heavy in personal income tax and very exposed to high earners and have more volatility as a result of that," said Elizabeth Lynam, deputy research director of the Citizens Budget Commission, an independent fiscal and government watchdog group.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10460689/1/ny-report-wall-street-bonuses-decline-44.html

Two sides to every story, once again.

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"Obama calls executive bonuses 'shameful'"

Cuz they get all that money for so little work.

Yet he and his party deliberate a mere 8 hours and declare they intend to spend a trillion dollars of your money and offer unearned bonuses - bribes,essentially - to criminals like ACORN.

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Still going on about ACORC, huh? Guess what, sparky? Authorities found ACORN innocent of wrongdoing. You might want to upgrade your auto-dogma software to reflect that.

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shame...a good old fashioned japanese value!...let's apply it where due....read today's nytimes opinion...article compares 18bill....bonus babies w/?...earned income (or lack thereof)tax credit w/?....their illgotten bonuses.

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right on TPO!....repubs in disarray...how sweet!

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I am with "Sarge"! Why does America reward for bad behavior?

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TPOJ,

Why do people insist on obfuscating this screamingly obvious point?

Perhaps that's because the point is not screamingly obvious. I can see that you are screaming. But that does not improve the merit of the argument.

First, it is not true that if an executive runs a failed company that the executive does not deserve a bonus. You seem to be--to use your own words--taking this as a matter of right or wrong. I think it is a matter of right and wrong only in popular imagination--as in the expression, "That ain't right!".

Whether executives deserve bonuses depends on whether or not they meet the goals on which the bonuses are determined. That their companies are losing money or even failing is not a determinative factor since it may be the executive's performance which prevented the company from having even larger losses or incur an even more disastrous failure. Also important is a given business's position within its industry, the executive's compensation relative to his peers in other industries and the ratio of bonuses to total compensation.

I would agree with you that a good bonus system should take into account the overall prosperity of the company, but that begs the question of whether these were good bonus systems or not. In your paradigm it is absolutely wrong for executives to receive bonuses when the company does poorly so I guess you would say they were not. In my paradigm it would be necessary to craft a bonus system that was reasonably expected to produce good results for the company.

Furthermore, any meaningful discussion of worthiness cannot proceed unless we know exactly what executives we are talking about, what they did to earn the bonuses and whether the bonus programs were soundly constructed or whether they were simply executive flim-flam. It is easy to castigate executives for receiving such pay and it is politically--and demagogically--practical. But that is not a question of right and wrong--that's a question of we like it or we don't.

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Whether executives deserve bonuses depends on whether or not they meet the goals on which the bonuses are determined...I would agree with you that a good bonus system should take into account the overall prosperity of the company, but that begs the question of whether these were good bonus systems or not.

Well, that was the context in which I was discussing this. If you remove that context, the meaning changes considerably.

And if they weren't "good" bonus systems, that brings us back to square one: why are we rewarding poor performance?

Furthermore, any meaningful discussion of worthiness cannot proceed unless we know exactly what executives we are talking about, what they did to earn the bonuses and whether the bonus programs were soundly constructed or whether they were simply executive flim-flam.

I don't have specifics, but I don't think it's unreasonable to go by a simple rule of thumb: if your company falters to the point that the government has to bail you out, you have most likely not performed well. At ALL. I suppose it's possible there are bonus programs that say the bonus will be paid even when the company falls apart, but once again, that brings us back to square one.

You seem to be--to use your own words--taking this as a matter of right or wrong. I think it is a matter of right and wrong only in popular imagination--as in the expression, "That ain't right!".

Then this entire debate is worthless.

There's legality, and there's morality. We seem to be using two different ways of looking at this, and therefore are unlikely to come to any useful conclusion. I'm sure there are legal defenses for this...there always are. What's your point? Which are you fighting for, morally right, or technically correct?

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I didnt even read the story, or the comments because of lack of time, but let me put my two cents in:

I used to work on Wall Street for one of these companies in the news.

What people don't realize, is that for the great majority of personnel working in these investment banks, the "bonus" is the main source of compensation. Base salary in these shops is usually enough to pay the rent or mortgage (range of 75K-250K even for the highest paid).

The "bonus" in itself is not an extra or superflous compensation. It is a way for the company to or specific trading desks to share the profits that they have had, with their most productive or profitable employees. No two people have a similar bonus amount, and its mostly due to performance. If people don't get paid a bonus, its the same as getting a pay cut of 50-70%.

In many underperforming departments, "your job is your bonus" is the mantra. Most of the losses of these banks came from the Mortgage trading, because they held on to the riskiest pieces of bonds that they underwrote. Other areas, such as derivatives, or currencies, probably had some profits depending what bets where being taken.

Criticizing bonus payments in general is not the way to go here. If you worked in any of these shops, and you helped them generate some profits, you should be able to get paid some share of that compensation. If you happen to work in the departments that got cleaned out, then consider yourself lucky if you can keep your job. thats the story.

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Why can't their government take back that $18 billion?! It is obvious that wall street was worst financial terrorist that crushed millions of lives around the world. Then they rob another $18 billion for their terrorism. I think Al Kaida is honoring all those CEO's with their own Medal of Honor.

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what's up with this precocious denounciation of earned monies, tendered or no, money is money, what's exactly wrong with money?

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Get a clue, dude. CEO is the cream of crops, no matter what time h/she lives. It's so absurd that h/she keeps sucking up the billions of bucks for years. And h/she will get paid $50 million for the retirement? Give me a break!

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I think its interesting that Liberals and Democrats are willing to make everyone else pay taxes, but are not willing to pay their own. This comes as no surprise. Obama has preached change, but really this is no different than what we had with President Clinton.

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