Obama’s calculated anger over Wall Street bonuses

Original article, by Tom Eley, via World Socialist Web Site:

On Thursday, President Obama publicly criticized Wall Street bankers who awarded themselves more than $18 billion in annual bonuses even as their banks collapsed, driving the US and world economy into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

I guess this is a good thing, right? I mean, the bosses and bankster frauds surely feel shame. And $18 billion should provoke much shame from them, shouldn’t it?

Obama called the bonuses, which came to light in a Wednesday New York Times article, “shameful.” Though there was a sharp decline in the bonuses from the last three years, when year-end bonuses ranged between $28 billion and $37 billion, this year’s haul was still the sixth-largest on record.

Well, if it’s what the market will allow, things must be going pretty badly. Let’s face it, the stock market’s down by about half, so bonuses should be about half, too. Of course, that bonus money is coming out of, to a great extent, your and my pocketbooks.

Obama’s remarks were a carefully calculated and scripted affair. In the course of his remarks, delivered from the White House Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side, Obama made clear his primary concern: that the behavior of the top financial executives might provoke a backlash against the new handouts his administration is preparing for the finance industry. According to media reports, the administration is planning on announcing a “big bang” financial bailout program next week.

Ah…there we go. Complain a bit about a measly $18 billion and then hand over several trillion. I wonder if the financial services industry will remain wedded to the Dems after all of this is done. I can’t imagine that the working class is going to be.

Even the mainstream press noted the cynical character of Obama’s comments-which were delivered without a trace of sincerity-and their transparent relationship to a new bailout being prepared for Wall Street that will dwarf the infamous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The New York Times commented, “He struck his populist tone as he confronted the possibility of having to ask Congress for additional large sums of money, beyond the $700 billion already authorized, to prop up the financial system.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that Obama’s criticism of the financial executives “had a political purpose: eliciting support for an expensive and unpopular bailout program that will likely require more cash from Congress.”

Read the whole article, it’s a ‘fun’ read. Indeed, you’ll get the chance to prepare yourself as Obama prepares us for even more sacrifice to the alter of the financial services industry. And while you’re stewing (unless, of course, you’re a boss or a bankster fraud), it’s worth hearing what the treasury secretary has to say:

Geithner, speaking at a Capitol Hill meeting on the TARP the same day as Obama made his criticisms of executive bonuses, was at pains to stress this point: “We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we’d like to do our best to preserve that system,” the newly appointed treasury secretary said.

Ah, hope and change, but not for the financial sector. It seems the Democratic wing of the duoparty is doing it’s best to serve it’s masters. Perhaps it’s time for a break from the duoparty.

As always, Tom Lehrer says it best:

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  1. He was the one who helped ram the blank check through Congress in the first place.  What the hell are we to believe he thought was going to be done with that money?  He knew.  He is only bitching because the chance of public outcry over this being something more than tepid is high.

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