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Yes, President Obama was visibly annoyed yesterday in his first public comments on the 18 BILLION dollars that Wall Street gave out in bonuses at the end of 2008. Most will agree, however, that his measured response did not go far enough. No, there needs to be bold action in the face of such treasonous greed. I'm willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt, that as a loyal public servant he is merely waiting to hear from us, we the people.(After all, we are the ones we have been waiting for!) We need to speak out NOW in one clear voice, free of bitterness and divisiveness. We must offer words of wise counsel and aching conscience. RESOLVED: Firms that have taken Federal Bailout money cannot pay any bonuses for calendar year 2008. Wall Street must give the bonuses back!

A recent gut check survey confirms what we know to be the "American Ethos" a rugged individualism coupled with an innate sense of fairness. These bonuses are offensive on both fronts. Common sense would have dictated to most of us that if you are essential BANKRUPT you shouldn't be expecting a bonus. Apparently, the Robber-Barons of Wall Street have no sense at all, common or otherwise. It's like they got a no doc/ no money down mortgage in cash and decided to blow it all on a luxury junket to a spa. (Sorry, that was AIG) Or they got a endowment to rescue a failing financial institution and instead they bought a 50 million dollar private plane (sorry that was Citigroup) This pattern of abuse and lack of accountability must stop right here, right now. They must give the bonuses back.

I work for a non profit organization. We had no bonuses this year and we all understood why. My wife is an educator, just last week she was told (on MLK's day of service) that the entire regional school district will get no bonuses in 2009. My parents enter retirement with 1/2 the IRA that they had a year ago. Many of us are living through this and suffering greatly during The Great Global Economic Meltdown. This is the world we live in and Wall Street has to start reflecting Main Street. They must give the bonuses back.

Eighteen billion dollars. 18,000,000,000. Eighteen billion bleeping dollars. According to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek that is more than double what the current stimulus package sets aside for mass transit. (He was great on Countdown yesterday) We need that money. No amount of talking, or negotiating, or understanding, or finger pointing, or finger wagging, or tongue lashing will right this wrong. The must give us back the money. They must give the bonuses back. President Obama - Wall Street must give the bonuses back...

Originally posted to smartinez on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A Tipping Point is a Teachable Moment (TIP JAR) (14+ / 0-)

    only if you regain your balance...

    Livin' the Murkin Dream!

    by smartinez on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:47:56 AM PST

  •  Please direct all bonuses (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sallym

    to Prinny Squad!

    "People always say that I'm psychotic. I'm not psychotic - I just have a passion for my job." - William "Razor" Lamont

    by Prinny Squad on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:58:18 AM PST

  •  Unbelievable, arrogant greed (5+ / 0-)

    "we" are so screwed if we don't somehow get it back! Bonuses for failure? Aren't they usually tied to performance?  

  •  where is the outrage? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kktlaw

    Somebody rescue this diary! Rec it up.

    Livin' the Murkin Dream!

    by smartinez on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 03:11:05 AM PST

    •  In France - Strikes yesterday. America Glued To (0+ / 0-)

      the idiot box to see if britney has undies on or if katherine heigel was at the grammy awards.

      stupid fucks, a LOT of us get what we deserve.

      rmm.

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:59:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's the annual NASA Science budget (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, axel000, kktlaw

    right there, or, 6 times NSF (National Science Foundation)'s annual budget. Take the money back for climate, earth science, mathematics and engineering research, Mr. President!

    Radarlady

  •  Hear ! Hear ! (4+ / 0-)

    Time for Obama to put his words into action. Confiscate the money back. Issue an executive order or something. No more stern words. Just do it.

    From Alabama to Obama - You've come a long way baby.

    by amk for obama on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 03:33:17 AM PST

  •  I'm totally with you on this, smartinez. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    Tipped and rec'd. Maybe you can put this on the White House website?

  •  "Treasonous greed". I love that; it's perfect. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    This is the optimal term to describe Republican/corporate economic policy. Treasonous greed. Greed so colossal, so mind-boggling, that it doesn't care if it burns the entire nation to the ground, outsources every single Americans' job to China, leaves the entire world in permanent climate collapse, as long as that CEO can afford a G3 so he can fly to his third vacation home in the Carribean without having to mix with the plebes.

  •  18 billion for green jobs and family planning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    Yes he was angry but it really is our money so turn anger into action and give it to the stimulus for green jobs and now that the republicans really weren't going to vote for the plan anyway give it to the stripped family planning allowance.  The "obstructionist party" under the newly appointed GOP minority spokesman Russ Limbaugh can then have something to fume about since fuming about the election of President Obama is about all they actually do these days.

  •  Another term I heard last night... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, redding888

    ...was the Clawback Provision. What a lovely name. I envision a rabid Federal prosecutor snatching the ill gotten 18.4BN out of the talons of the Wall Street vultures and returning it to the Treasury with a John Williams orchestal arrangement thundering in the background.

    I DO think it's dawning on the idle rich that times are changing. Because of the worsening times, folks are becoming way more populist than the comfort level allows in Republican circles, to say nothing of their checkbook toting sponsors.

    There's going to be  a lot of fury espoused today, wait and see. Cuomo's in it now, let's see who else joins the fray. It's a perfect opportunity for another Fitz to be found in the New York Circuit to start hauling in some of these FIRE captains. Cruising and perusing their offshore accounts would be enlightening as well, hmmm?

    Yes, a change is certainly needed, not merely a change of party but a change of system -Eugene V. Debs

    by nativist on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:10:27 AM PST

    •  We did clawback at our bank 2 years ago (0+ / 0-)

      Many in the Corporate & Investment Bank got bonuses and a few weeks later received word from their managers that they had to return a certain percentage of it, due to unexpected decreases in earnings.

      It was done through a direct cut in the next paycheck. There was a lot of grumbling but not one person I know of quit as a result of the clawback.

      So what if people grumble now, where are investment bankers going to go find another job in this banking environment?

      There's precedent for this and it should be done immediately.

  •  There is an NYT article that is BS... (0+ / 0-)

    See the link.  This article claims there are precious few ways to get the money back.

    Some suggest that the easiest way for Congress to recover the money would be to impose a substantial tax on 2008 Wall Street bonuses retroactively, but that would hurt New York and other financial centers.

    But, as Jonathon Alter noted last night on KO, all the Congress has to do is pass a law taking back the bonus payments.  It can be crafted in such a way as to be general but only affect forms that failed to make a profit in 2008.

    This would not hurt New York or other financial centers enough to make me care.  It is far past time they were hurt like the rest of us.

    Never give a sword to a man who can't dance. Confucius

    by PhotogHog on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:42:59 AM PST

  •  It is time to really tax bonuses (0+ / 0-)

    It is not just this latest round that is an outrage. For years the top end of the corporate food chain has been compensated by larger and larger bonuses. Many of these bonuses are designed to take advantage of tax loopholes and increase economic inequality.

    My solution: a Fat Cat Bonus Tax that would tax any and all bonuses paid over $250,000 at a 55% rate.

    Some may argue for a lower figure as the top line for the exemption from the Fat Cat Bonus Tax and I would be fine with that.

    Cheers

    Time to clean up DeLay's petri dish! Help CNMI guest workers find justice! Learn more at Unheard No More.

    by dengre on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 06:58:37 AM PST

  •  All well and good, but (0+ / 0-)

    the bonuses were paid to people, not "Wall Street."

    I'm sure only a small part of the 18 billion went in bonuses to "people like us,"  you know, median income folks.  Undoubtedly some of the bonuses were also paid under pre-defined employment contracts.  So, a blanket recovery is not possible or even desirable -- unless you want to ignore or wipe out protections under contract and labor law.

    Has anybody seen a breakdown of the 18 billion?  Once the distribution and terms are understood, then a real effort to recover a significant portion of the bonuses can be undertaken.

    the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

    by Egg on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:03:16 AM PST

    •  yeah, and my Aunt Tillie too (0+ / 0-)

      Aunt Tillie, receptionist for 40 years, just had a hip replacement - sorry Aunt Tillie, your company got bailout funds - gotta give the bonus back - the bonuses were incentives to retain talent - Aunt Tillie will understand...

      Livin' the Murkin Dream!

      by smartinez on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:29:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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