Yesterday Bloomberg News ran excerpts from a forthcoming Bloomberg BusinessWeek story under the headline: "Obama doesn't begrudge bonuses for Blankfein, Dimon." The teaser article, which followed an interview with the President on Tuesday, included quotes like "I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen. I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system." But the White House quickly hit back at Bloomberg News, claiming that Obama's bankster-friendly comments were taken out of context.
In a post on the White House blog entitled "Clearing Up the Bonuses Issue," deputy communications director Jennifer Psaki wrote that the "recent headline from an interview the President did with Bloomberg yesterday inaccurately made it sound like the President brushed off the impact of bonuses and applauded the role of bankers. This naturally came as a surprise to the many people who share his outrage at the behavior that continues on Wall Street and is not an accurate portrayal of where the President stands or what he said during the interview... So let’s break this down: What did the President actually say during the interview?"
“I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance. I think that shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs.
Woah, you gonna take that Blankfein?! That's slightly less business-friendly than that headline made it sound! If you don't make a stand now he might do something radical and insist you take your $9 million bonus in stupid stocks instead of cash. Oh, that already happened. What's next, you'll have to fly coach? Dimon (JP Morgan Chase) took his bonus in stock, also, which Obama argues "requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings." How humiliating.
In other Obamaconomy news, the U.S. is likely to average 95,000 more jobs each month this year, according to White House predictions. But unemployment is likely to remain around 10 percent through this year and not fall below 6 percent until 2015. In a letter accompanying the Council of Economic Advisors report, Obama pointed out that the economy he inherited was losing 700,000 jobs each month, arguing that "to understand where we must go in the next year and beyond, it is important to remember where we began one year ago." We do remember where America was a year ago—celebrating Sarah Palin's 45th birthday!