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There have been 2 diaries written about comments President Obama made about bonuses paid to the top executives of financial firms.  Both diaries were built around Paul Krugman's response to these comments, in which he called the President "clueless".  I'm not trying to bash Krugman-the guy is a genius and far smarter than I'll ever be.  But I think he's off base in his reaction.

If you read the Krugman column, you're probably angry.  It seems like the President defended Wall Street, maybe even sold out Main Street.  But let's delve deeper into the story, from BusinessWeek:

Blankfein and Dimon took their bonuses in stock rather than cash, which Obama encouraged other corporations to do. Such compensation, he said in the interview, "requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings." He said that’s a "fairer way of measuring CEO success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better."

So these aren't cash bonuses, first off.  I think this point hasn't been detailed enough.  Certainly there's a case to be made that a stock bonus does not work either.  But I think if you have stricter financial regulations that eliminate many of the ways Wall Street has swindled America, they are fine.  

Obama said compensation packages over the last decade haven’t always been commensurate with performance, and reiterated his call for shareholders to have a say in CEO pay.

"That serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay," he said. "Shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs."

So the President re-affirms his desire for shareholders to have a meaningful say in CEO pay.  I don't think many of us would disagree with that.

The Obama administration named Kenneth Feinberg special master on executive compensation in June after a political outcry over bonuses paid to employees at American International Group Inc.

Feinberg, 64, ordered the seven companies whose pay he supervised, including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., to emphasize long-term stock compensation rather than cash payments. Citigroup and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America repaid their federal bailout funds in December, leaving Feinberg with five companies, including AIG, under his supervision.

Feinberg told Bloomberg Television on Feb. 8 that Goldman Sachs heeded his "prescriptions" even as he called Blankfein’s $9 million total pay excessive. "I don’t believe there are more than one or two" executives making as much among the 700 he has had under his jurisdiction, Feinberg said.

So this policy is actually preferred by the White House.  I don't know, it seems fairer to me that the executives are paid in stock.  Then they actually have to perform well to see the money.  Again, you need stronger regulations to go along with it, but I really don't think this is a major blunder by the Administration.

There is a bigger issue I suppose.  I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.  I guess some here feel differently.  But I just don't think it's in the best interests of private business or the government to do so.  I also thought that much of the outrage shown in Washington over bonuses was manufactured.  The politicians got to scream at bankers and make themselves look good, but what did it accomplish?  At least the President has taken concrete steps to address the problem.  

UPDATE: I wanted to add 2 things.  First, there have been a few questions as to whether I oppose minimum wage laws.  No I don't.  I think there is a big difference between requiring a company to pay a living wage and capping what a person can earn.  I also do not oppose other labor laws.  I do think that the burden of health care needs to be taken away from private businesses.  If they want to offer it as a perk to lure the best employees, that's fine.  But they shouldn't be required to do so.  This is one of the reasons I support the Wyden/Bennett health care bill, if you can't get single payer.  

The other point is that the White House has addressed the issue on their blog:

We wanted to clear up some confusion about where the President stands on bonuses and excessive executive compensation. A 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.

The President has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the success of Americans, but he also expressed ‘shock’ at the size of bonuses and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street. A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office.

He also made clear, as he has said many times before, that he believes bonuses should take the form of stock so that the compensation is tied to long term performance. His focus from day one has been on signing into law a comprehensive financial reform package that reins in the abuses on Wall Street, addresses Too Big to Fail, imposes real oversight and strict accountability on financial companies, prevents predatory lending practices, ensures that consumers get clear information and imposes a fee on the biggest banks to ensure they pay back every dollar of money owed to the taxpayers.

They also include numerous statements the President has made in the past on the issue.

Originally posted to mark louis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:16 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (182+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lestatdelc, Kitty, JekyllnHyde, citizen k, askew, madmsf, Fabienne, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, musicsleuth, bronte17, missLotus, dvogel001, CoolOnion, mkfarkus, itskevin, Cedwyn, aitchdee, hhex65, leevank, grannyhelen, Nina, GN1927, Catte Nappe, arielle, bwintx, jj32, tomjones, SanDiegoDem, furi kuri, Mikecan1978, boran2, Sybil Liberty, Julie Gulden, Bluesee, Simian, Lying eyes, PBen, Viceroy, Dr Squid, aaraujo, Inland, Fury, Phil S 33, noemie maxwell, Jay Elias, coolbreeze, JanL, Ekaterin, terjeanderson, begone, blueoasis, Alexandra Lynch, global citizen, Ashaman, DJShay, jjellin, Hedwig, markthshark, Aaa T Tudeattack, BentLiberal, hooper, dotsright, dmh44, lordcopper, WeBetterWinThisTime, VClib, threegoal, yoduuuh do or do not, Via Chicago, DWG, Demi Moaned, yella dawg, journeyman, sand805, Patricia Bruner, Dem in the heart of Texas, DraftChickenHawks, beltane, pamelabrown, pademocrat, luckylizard, a night owl, StrangeAnimals, Diogenes2008, mos1133, legendmn, 1BQ, in2mixin, MTmarilyn, greengemini, AntonBursch, RandomActsOfReason, pvlb, velvet blasphemy, krllos, MKSinSA, aj2k, DClark4129, soms, allep10, kevinpdx, IDrankWhat, Kiku, RadioGirl, Petey2, pruple, 57andFemale, sherijr, MizKit, Livvy5, Adept2u, davespicer, Rian Fike, parse this, seesmithrun, niaman, PrincessPinkyPie, marabout40, LaughingPlanet, eXtina, estreya, Observerinvancouver, voracious, secret38b, Kev, stunzeed, on board 47, Calidad, pixxer, cee4, Kristina40, Cure7802, googleimage, addisnana, gwh, ericlewis0, Floande, Bobbysmom, bvig, soaglow, JanG, samantha in oregon, TheHalfrican, BrowniesAreGood, CornSyrupAwareness, jtown, I love OCD, BlueUU, Possiamo, vc2, BlackQueen40, Eclectablog, Mistral Wind, Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht, trs, GrogInOhio, AsianAfricanAmerican, cama2008, majii, Escamillo, RadicalRoadRat, theone718, BarackStarObama, EdgedInBlue, SilentBrook, randomfacts, Archie2227, agoner, blue aardvark, SoCalSal, blackjackal, zenox, KingofSpades, Ezekial 23 20, moonpal, AguyinMI, thoughtful3, clubbing guy, Liberal Granny, OHknighty, vinkeith

    "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."

    by mark louis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:16:12 AM PST

    •  Exec compensation in preferred (17+ / 0-)

      merely offers them more capital if their corps fail. CEO's thereby have a guarantee that they will own the leases and the properties when their companies liquidate.

      The shortsightedness of this policy is the very same thinking that brought us credit default swaps, derivatives of unregulated insurance policies with no prudent reserves.

      Itultimately leads to short bets against the box.

      They only call it class war when we fight back! ht: buhdydharma

      by ezdidit on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Preferred stock can be a switch (5+ / 0-)

        but in bankruptcy the assets still have to be liquidated --Courts can take decades...Think there is a prevision against short sales against the house but have not read the recent law! Then again they have exercise the options!
        Much better if they work to succeed --The issue is long term vs. short term profits.. However the ole profession works overtime to circumvent the laws!

        Goldman still has not paid back the money they got thru AIG...Total sham!

      •  Wages are preferred (18+ / 0-)

        Federal government would have more tax dollars to plug the gaping budget hole or pay for programs to benefit average Americans like a new, green WPA/infrastructure program. The reason: wage income is taxed at 35 percent at the top margins, while capital gains earned from a stock option is capped at a 15 percent tax rate. Executive stock option is simply a tax dodge. Their middle class employees pay a higher tax rate than the CEO makes on their stock option.

        Tax capital gains as ordinary income and get rid of the loophole.  

        "Big Darkness, soon come"-Hunter S. Thompson

        by NoMoreLies on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:15:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  NML not always (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal

          Most options paid to executives are taxed at ordinary income rates when exercised. To have the option treated as capital gains you have to exercise it and then hold the underlying stock for at least a year. And if it is in the money when you exercise the option the difference between the strike price and the current market price is taxed at ordinary income rates at that time.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:17:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I stand corrected (0+ / 0-)

            however it is still a bad incentive package that rewards short term gain, and holding a stock for a year is not that long. And, if we had a reasonable tax code, like that flaming socialist Dwight Eisenhower presided over, that stock option would probably be paying an effective tax rate of about 50 percent, which is what the super-rich paid with the top marginal tax rate of 91 percent in the 1950s. Roll back the Reagan tax cuts, as well as the Bush ones!

            "Big Darkness, soon come"-Hunter S. Thompson

            by NoMoreLies on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 04:53:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  NML Posted rates and effective rates (0+ / 0-)

              Back in the day of 91% marginal rates and even 70% marginal rates no one paid those as their actual effective rates. Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86) there were investments in real estate, oil & gas, movies, high tech, avacado farms, tree farms and others that I have now forgotten that would allow you to drop your effective rate into single digits. What the high marginal rates did was to force high income earners to invest in tangible assets. Just to give you a personal example during the early and mid 80s I was a top 1% earner. I never paid as much as 10% federal income tax even though the top rate was 70% and I would be audited nearly every year. The TRA86 TRIPLED my effective tax rate even though the stated marginal top rate was reduced from 70% to 28%. It also wiped out nearly all of the tax shelters. There has never been a time when the actual effective top marginal rate on top income earners was 91% or even 70%.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:28:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Where in the diary does it refer to compensation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DocGonzo, SoCalSal

        in preferred stock?  (I think that is what you meant.)  There is a vast chasm between a course of action that the WH would like to see and payment in preferred stock.  It seems like the word "preferred" caused a brain cramp as soon as you read it.  

        Also, if a company is liquidated, there would be a vast array of entities having precedence over shareholders of any kind.  Preferred shareholders would rank ahead of common shareholders but no one else, imo.  
        I don't think too many preferred shareholders get to loot a company when it's liquidated.  

        "It's a sight to see." Pres. Obama - Dec 8/09 and Jan 16/10

        by Observerinvancouver on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:14:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  basically it is rewarding them for destroying (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, jjellin, rubine, melfunction

        their companies with unscrupulous and even illegal activities as well as taking down the rest of our country causing undue suffering.

        this is why these specific bonuses are bad.

        the term of the question was in specifics, the answer was in a generalized term.

        in general he is ok with this kind of compensation though he wants more shareholder input.  

        by way of giving a generalized answer he is affirming the correctness of these specific bonuses in the climate of financial and economic collapse caused by fraud and criminal activity.

    •  Govt got Screwed w/ Goldman (17+ / 0-)

      Any respectable Buyout Fund would have demanded at least 51% of Goldman in exchange for financial assistance.

      The truth is, without the government's help, Goldman would have gone under.  No one with even rudimentary knowledge of finance can argue otherwise.

      Dimon is a different story.  He deserves his 17M.

      But Blankfein is lucky to have a job.

      He's not "savvy businessman", and President Obama is wrong to label him as such.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some good diary content, ty. A few quibbles: (25+ / 0-)

      Thanks for arguing your case well, even as I don't agree with all of it. Now my quibbles with your diary:

      But I think if you have stricter financial regulations that eliminate many of the ways Wall Street has swindled America, they are fine.  

      The only problem with that statement is we don't have the stricter financial regulations, so the people who you are telling to "calm down" may be in fact raising a good point.

      Which segues into my 2nd point: Your diary is well argued, but you title is a bit of a scold and counterproductive to getting people to listen to you, imo.

      Final point:

      I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

      This sounds innocuous when put like this, but can be used to argue that government is not entitled to make any regulations at all, and let capitalism reign, unfettered.

      If consumers and taxpayers are being ripped-off and swindled by corporations, and the ill-gotten gain is used to pay hefty bonuses, then the government (the people) has every right to regulate both the behavior and the payment of the bonuses.

      Thanks again for arguing your case well, even as I don't agree with all of it.

      The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free fully funded, thanks SCOTUS.

      by BentLiberal on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:58:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your reply. nt. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tomjones, BentLiberal, sand805, SoCalSal
        •  I understand and in fact you're right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          willibro

          but I've found that when I call them quibbles (vs. "bullshit") and when I call out the good elements of the diarist's offering, that I often get a better response from people I disagree with. For example in this case the diarist read my comment and thanked me for it.

          So, whenver I can, I try to channel my inner Meteor Blades, like that. ;-)

          The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free fully funded, thanks SCOTUS.

          by BentLiberal on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 06:44:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Govt. should regulate. (6+ / 0-)

        I hope we get some good financial reform and that we taxpayers get our bailout money back.  

        We already know Obama wants reform and wants us to get our money back.  Does the world fall apart because he didn't tear his hair out over this?

        That just isn't his style.  To top it off-- the whole thing started by taking a few sentences out of context.  

        It's ridiculous!

      •  We should move on people... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        Wall Street always has, does, and will continue to pay big bonuses to their employees - send you kids to work for a Wall Street bank.  I have tons of friends and a spouse on Wall St. and almost everyone I know there (black and white) came from a hardcore working-class background.  You can complain all you want to - it won't stop a thing.

        •  Great advice. Fuck the rest of the clowns (5+ / 0-)

          in steerage, just kick anyone in the face you must to make it top-side yourself

        •  Your Racket (8+ / 0-)

          Your "business as usual" argument might have been convincing before these people got paid big bucks to destroy not just their companies, but our economy. Paid big bucks by us out of our taxes, while our taxpaid budgets were already in record debt. To fund those people making ever more profits off the wreckage, which further destroyed our economy.

          That's not just business as usual, as destructive as that business usually is. That's the entire game hitting the wall, and hitting us the hardest. There is absolutely no reason the public should allow that game to repeat, especially immediately, especially with all our money, both public and private.

          All kinds of crooks come from a working class background. And Wall Street's biggest crooks are the typical aristocrats, even if they have highly paid associates keeping them all rolling in dough. Bluecollar roots don't make whitecollar crime any less crooked.

          Just because you're totally hooked into Wall Street, and everyone you know is, and half your household income is dependent on it, doesn't mean we should let you and your people keep robbing us after it's undeniably unsustainable.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:35:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe you don't know this... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            but there are hundreds of functions on Wall Street and most of the people there are not even employed in functions that were directly tied to the mortgage business.  I'm not saying the banks shouldn't be regulated - there will continue to be crisis after crisis if they are not (history has proven that).  Wall Street is greedy, but it is not their job to care about you/us - that is the job of our government that used to be 'of and for the people'.  When you solve that problem, Wall Street won't be an issue.

            Like it or not, over the years, Wall Street has provided enormous amounts of money to the country's tax coffers (NY, NJ and CT still send waaaaaay more money to Washington than they receive), lessening the tax burden on folks everywhere.  This story, like most, is much complicated than our attention-deficit media can describe.  Trust me when I tell you, this country does not want Wall Street to go away - you just want them to behave.

            •  So What? (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know what any of what you just said has to do with either what I just said, or what you said that I replied to. So I'm not going to bother disputing the fallacious bathwater you lumped in with the strawman babies.

              All that you just posted was merely a rationalization for yourself of why Wall Street is valuable. Which wasn't in dispute. Only whether we should rein in the excesses that have now blown past sustainability, which you said we shouldn't bother. We should. And if that's all you've got to argue with, we should move right along to the regulation.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 07:54:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm absolutely in favor of regulation... (0+ / 0-)

                but some of the talk about extra tax on bonuses and attempts to regulate pay don't make sense because they won't happen - period.  I stated a few facts - not just rationalizations.  No business is all good or all bad - America would be a different (lesser) country without the legacy of capitalism that eminated from Wall Street.  The balance should be in keeping alive the spirit of innovation, yet curbing risk-taking behavior and making the banks, etc. deal with their consequences.  What has grown beyond sustainability is the the inability of our government to protect its citizens - it their job to do that.

      •  If the stockholders don't take (0+ / 0-)

        charge aren't we babysitting adults here?  Strong regulations, downsizing financial institutions and ensuring that taxpayers will never bail out the 'too big to fail' again would be an excellent start.  

        I agree that government interference in how businesses are run needs to be effective but minimal.  The people involved need to scream and shout about being ripped off, or they deserve to be ripped off IMO.  

        We're a nation of people who don't know how to live in reality.  If I turn a stock portfolio over to someone who's going to profit from me and never check on what's happening with my money I'm acting like a kid.  If I'm invested in a company that's paying it's CEO tens of millions of dollars when the company isn't profitable and I don't make a fuss, I'm complicit in my own losses.

        I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

        by I love OCD on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:35:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          If I'm not a stockholder and I didn't turn my portfolio over, never to be checked, nevertheless I still got my economy ruined.

          The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free fully funded, thanks SCOTUS.

          by BentLiberal on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:00:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the point of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BentLiberal

            regulations, though, and I talked about that.  What I  was responding to was a suggestion to control CEO salaries.  That's where I think stockholders need to take charge and not wait for the government to handle their affairs.  We've really turned into a passive nation in too many ways - believing that things are too big for us to make a difference?  I'm not sure what drives that, but it won't serve us well.  In fact, it isn't serving us well.

            I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

            by I love OCD on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:40:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hear what you're saying (0+ / 0-)

              but what has to be taken into consideration is that what most stockholders want is return on their investments.  I agree that it would be nice if stockholders would work band together and take action to rein in bad corporate officers. But I just don't see it happening in the numbers needed to effect change. That's why I think government is the primary vehicle capable of doing the job.

              The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free fully funded, thanks SCOTUS.

              by BentLiberal on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 06:41:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I suspect you're right, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BentLiberal

                but it worries me.  It's such an indication of how helpless Americans feel in general, and it's probably why we're willing to let corporations run the country.  We're too small to succeed?

                I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

                by I love OCD on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 07:04:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Manufactured outrage? (5+ / 0-)

      The government has no business telling companies what they can pay their employees?  And this diary got tipped 133 times?

      Holy shit - this community (or a significant slice of it) really has sunk to new depths.

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:45:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't have to agree 100% with a diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabienne, TheOrchid

        to tip and rec.

        I did both, even though I completely disagree with that line.

        I think the overall point of the diary, though, is that there was 'nothing to see here' in a President who supports capitalism making statements that support capitalism.  Some folks on HuffPo were apparently upset that he was doing so, then some folks here got upset that folks on HuffPo were upset.

        They seemed to want to claim that we should be outraged that HuffPo was calling the President a capitalist, while HuffPo was outraged that the President is a capitalist.  Amusing, but pointless.

        I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:09:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism vs Cronyism (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, blueoasis, jds1978

          Supporting this banking racket isn't just "supporting capitalism". It's supporting an extreme abuse of capitalism, government sponsored cronyism. "State capitalism", the inverse of socialism where only the cronies are protected by the state, which enforces the abusive economy.

          Real capitalism doesn't privilege bankers with government connections over individual traders or others who accumulate capital. All the people whose equity capital was ripped in half or worse the past couple years are capitalists, and they got screwed by the abusive capitalism of the people with connections.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:38:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See, to me that looks like trying to decide (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fabienne

            between two almost identical shades of pink.

            As far as I can see, pretty much all of capitalism is based around the privilege of knowledge.  The more 'inside' you are, the more knowledge you have access to, the better you do, and the worse those without do.

            So of course, in a capitalistic society, connections = money.

            Barring random luck, that's how people get wealthy and stay wealthy under capitalism.  To me, all capitalism seems 'abusive'.

            I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

            by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:49:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some Are Pinker than Others (0+ / 0-)

              A lot of success is indeed the privilege of knowledge. But there are many people who refuse the privilege. People who have knowledge shoveled at them, covered in candy and sexy whispers, but reject it. Usually because they think they're superior to "elitists".

              I'd rather be lucky than good any day. But I've taken my own average access to knowledge from being born into a middle class suburban family, through all public schools (including state colleges, and dropping out) to make a success of myself through hard work. And the luck of native intelligence. I've made capitalist successes, by making bigger ones for people I got to agree to pay me for my help. By exploiting the surplus labor value of people who worked for me, but for whom I worked harder, and who I typically trained and brought in opportunities so they could do their best.

              I personally have made it with only the average privilege access, and have seen many others do so, too. I've also seen people with nothing competitive except their privileges also succeed. But that doesn't discount all the people who do it through hard work, talent, and the average amount of luck.

              Opportunity favors the prepared mind, and fortune favors the bold. Those are at least as useful in achieving at least above average success, even if the most success is indeed reserved people with privilege who have nothing to do with merit.

              Cronyism rules, but "fairytale capitalism" also exists, and for many more than there are cronies.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 07:52:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  And Huffpo ISN'T capitalist? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ezekial 23 20

          Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something helpless than wants help from us.

          by Fabienne on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:57:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  They have been at this depth for a long time (0+ / 0-)

        The amazing part is that American suffering and injustice only makes them more sure of themselves.

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        So you oppose the min. wage?

        I agree with the main points in this diary about the over-the-top ill-informed outrage over the President's remarks as inaccuratley reported by Bloomberg.

        From the White House today:

        Clearing Up the Bonuses Issue
        Posted by Jen Psaki on February 10, 2010 at 05:58 PM EST

        We wanted to clear up some confusion about where the President stands on bonuses and excessive executive compensation. A 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.

        The President has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the success of Americans, but he also expressed ‘shock’ at the size of bonuses and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street. A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office.

        He also made clear, as he has said many times before, that he believes bonuses should take the form of stock so that the compensation is tied to long term performance. His focus from day one has been on signing into law a comprehensive financial reform package that reins in the abuses on Wall Street, addresses Too Big to Fail,  imposes real oversight and strict accountability on financial companies, prevents predatory lending practices,  ensures that consumers get clear information and imposes a fee on the biggest banks to ensure they pay back every dollar of money owed to the taxpayers.

        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."

        When asked whether seventeen million dollars is a lot for Main Street to stomach, he expressed shock at the size of the compensation and called for the same actions that are a part of the comprehensive financial reform proposal that has been working its way through Congress:

        "Listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money.  Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either.  So I'm shocked by that as well.  I guess the main principle we want to promote is a simple principle of "say on pay," that shareholders have a chance to actually scrutinize what CEOs are getting paid.  And I think that serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay.  The other thing we do think is the more that pay comes in the form of stock that requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings is a fairer way of measuring CEOs' success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better."

        And what has the President said about this same topic over the course of the last year?

        * ONE YEAR AGO-In February 2009, Pres. Obama Said, This is America. We dont disparage wealth. We dont begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset and rightfully so are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. [Remarks by Pres. Barack Obama on Executive Compensation, 2/4/09]

        * ELEVEN MONTHS AGO- In March 2009, Pres. Obama Said, I’ve Always Been a Strong Believer in the Power of the Free Market. Our Role as Lawmakers is Not to Disparage Wealth, But to Expand Its Reach. I've always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. It has been and will remain the very engine of America's progress -- the source of a prosperity that has gone unmatched in human history. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs like you who are willing to take risks on a good idea. And I believe that our role as lawmakers is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach; not to stifle the market, but to strengthen its ability to unleash the creativity and innovation thatstill makes this nation the envy of the world. [Remarks by Pres. Barack Obama at the Business Roundtable, 3/12/09]

        * EIGHT MONTHS AGO- In June 2009, Pres. Obama Said, I Believe Our Role is Not to Disparage Wealth, But to Expand Its Reach. In these efforts, we seek a careful balance. I've always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. It has been and will remain the engine of America's progress -- the source of prosperity that's unrivaled in history. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs who are willing to take a risk on a good idea. I believe that our role is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach; not to stifle the market, but to strengthen its ability to unleash the creativity and innovation that still make this nation the envy of the world. [Remarks by Pres. Barack Obama on Regulatory Reform, 6/17/09]

        * FIVE MONTHS AGO-In September 2009, Pres. Obama Said, I Believe the Role of the Government is Not to Disparage Wealth, But to Expand Its Reach. I have always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on a good idea. I believe that the role of the government is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach; not to stifle markets, but to provide the ground rules and level playing field that helps to make those markets more vibrant -- and that will allow us to better tap the creative and innovative potential of our people. For we know that it is the dynamism of our people that has been the source of America's progress and prosperity. [Remarks by Pres. Barack Obama on Financial Rescue and Reform, 9/14/09]

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Pass Medicare buy-in for all via reconciliation, since it is fiscally related (and sound) policy.

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 04:33:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks Mark JHC people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabienne

      The President has a lot on his plate right now. The economy, health care, the rethugs, wars, threats of terror attacks, obstruction in his own party, yes Wall Street, did I mention Rethugs, fighting off attempts that want him to fail, trying terrorist in the courts, did I mention rethugs etc. etc. etc. So lets all continue to jump on the band wagon of discontent because of any particular situation that YOU think he should be handling differently. I say don't give him any credit damn it! Maybe we can get shrub back.

      Our Health Care System is Neither Healthy Caring Nor a System.

      by desnyder on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:01:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hahahaha how naive... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      2 reasons he's soft on these bonuses:

      1. They are "friends" of this administration
      1. Wall St. donations to Dems are down (gee. wonder why?  Maybe Obama out villifying Wall St every chance he gets?) and Obama has received a "talkin' to" by other Dems to maybe rachet it down a notch.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:34:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  mark - I strongly agree (0+ / 0-)

      In situations where the government is an equity holder, or a provider of debt, the government should have the same rights as any other shareholder or debt holder. In some cases those positions would give you the right to dictate compensation. Aside from those situations, when the government has never been, or is now not a shareholder or provider of debt, the government should have no say whatsoever in executive compensation. It's none of their business. The proper place for public policy is in setting marginal tax rates. I favor higher rates for high income earners, but it should apply across the board to professional athletes. entertainers, media personalities, actors, lawyers, physicians and any other high income taxpayer.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:00:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Digby is also on it (43+ / 0-)

    Her take:

    He's not a stupid man. The only thing you can conclude is that this is a matter of principle for him and that he truly believes that these people are worth that kind of money despite the fact that they nearly destroyed the world financial system and are benefiting from its chaos and failure.

    And it clarifies once and for all that he doesn't understand the very real angst out in the country and the desperate need to hold someone, somewhere, accountable for what's gone wrong. Evidently, he's perfectly content to allow the government to take the blame for the whole sorry mess.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:19:17 AM PST

  •  The nub of the matter (30+ / 0-)

    You:

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.  I guess some here feel differently.  But I just don't think it's in the best interests of private business or the government to do so.

    Krugman:

    The point is that these bank executives are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state. There’s good reason to feel outraged at the growing appearance that we’re running a system of lemon socialism, in which losses are public but gains are private.
    [Emphasis added.- DM]

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:22:26 AM PST

  •  Another Progressive voice with a big (14+ / 0-)

    meagaphone who is just killing the Democratic message...Krugman must be gunning for General of the circular firing squad.

    No way to build a party or win in the fall!

    Don't fight it, understand it!

    by vinkeith on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:24:48 AM PST

  •  Another apologist for the wealthy - meh.... (17+ / 0-)

    Yeah, they're worth a million times more than their lowest paid employee - these brilliant managers who have brought about tremendous suffering and, yes, death around the world through their mismanagement of risk using other peoples money.  And we damn well have a right to tell a buisness what to pay when they are wards of the state, and they are.  If the banks used traditional practices in marking their asserts to market value, they would be bankrupt.  Their practices may be technically legal, but they are morally bankrupt, with no concern at all, aside for stakeholders.

    If you think the zombie economy we currently have bears any semblance to a free market economy, you must have stopped paying attention before TARP.

      •  You're right. What was I thinking w/ all that. (6+ / 0-)

        We should just accept Wall Street control of our political process.  Nothing to see here. Move along.

        •  I meant about my apologizing for the wealthy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GN1927, carlos the jackal

          I guess I should have specified.  

        •  Non Sequitur (0+ / 0-)

          How is Wall Street pay connected to their control of the political process?

          By your logic, the New York Yankees own congress because they're paid so much.

          NeoCons' view on torture: if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for anyone!

          by clone12 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:02:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry. I thought it was obvious. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drewfromct, blueoasis, Dirk Thrust

            More $ = bigger lobby influence, more political campaign contributions, unlimited attack ads and swiftboating of those who oppose your position.  I just thought it was obvious.  I'll be sure to spell it out for you in the future.  Or, perhaps you don't think money in politics is a problem.....

            •  You're Repeating Your Non-Sequitur (0+ / 0-)

              Money in politics is a problem, but your fixation on bonus money is like invading Iraq in response to what someone in Afghanistan did.

              Do you honestly believe that the Chamber of Commerce got their funding from their bonus monies?

              NeoCons' view on torture: if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for anyone!

              by clone12 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:40:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Far from fixation... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                drewfromct, blueoasis, Dirk Thrust

                Bonuses are but a small part of much broader financial legislation that needs to happen.  It would amuse me if the banks would simply engage in marking their assets to market values, but they can't, now can they?  That would reveal the rot and stink in their vaults to an unacceptable degree.  Reinstatement of Glass-Stegal, the Volcker Rule, breaking up too-big-to-fail.

                Roubini has it right.

                The new Volcker Rule is a step in the right direction. More radical reforms, like breaking up too-big-to-fail financial firms and returning to Glass-Steagall-type restrictions, which are needed to stave off asset bubbles and tame systemic risk, may be politically difficult to implement.

                Obama simply lacks the political support to implement aggressive fiscal reforms. The Senate recently voted against Obama's proposals on spending freezes and the establishment of a fiscal commission, whose role would be to send fiscal reform legislation to Congress that would have to be voted on or thrown out without the possibility of amendments. Moreover, if policymakers extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts beyond 2011, when they are scheduled to expire, the impact on the fiscal deficit and U.S. fiscal credibility would be immense. Washington has not signaled strong support for wider tax reforms, such as introducing a value-added tax.

                Instead the Wall Street hacks will continue to have their way, until the system finally resets.  The bankers at Davos are getting nervous.

                Beginning in 1990, the profits of the financial sector began to increase relative to the rest of the economy. This, of course, did not happen by accident. It happened because Alan Greenspan, the maestro of America’s demise, began to allow Wall Street more "freedom" during his tenure as Fed chairman; and, as we all know, freedom is a good thing—except, of course, when, in the name of freedom and free markets you turn the keys to the country over to thieves and robbers for ideological reasons, e.g. Republicans, and financial contributions, e g. Democrats.

                This is what happened when Bill Clinton sold out America to the bankers. Because Wall Street already owned the Republicans, when Bill Clinton and the Democrats entered into their time-share agreement with the bankers, the fate of America was sealed.

                Under the tenure of "Easy Al" Greenspan who never saw a problem easy credit couldn’t delay and the "welcome to the henhouse" policy extended by Bill Clinton to Goldman Sachs and their Wall Street cohorts, the stage was set for the climactic economic gang-bang of America that was to happen under Republican George Bush, Jr.

                Well, guess what, even with the easy credit still in place with the zombies Freddie and Fannie, the average Joe isn't borrowing.  There's nothing left but a smoldering contempt for the bankers and their system, which has to fail in order for real change to manifest.

                A new era and better era can be expected; but, first, the bankers’ system of fraudulent money must collapse. The good news is that it will. The bad news is that when it does, hardship and suffering will result.

                But suffering and hardship must be seen in a larger context. Just as Buckminster Fuller believed that mistakes are necessary for learning, crises are necessary for growth. Had we a choice, we would avoid all crises and all mistakes; and, as a consequence, all growth and all learning.

                •  More Non-Sequitur (Even If I Do Agree With You) (0+ / 0-)

                  I agree with Roubini and his endorsement of the Volcker rule, but that has nothing with your original contention about the effect of money in politics.

                  These two things are not the same.

                  Secondly, your insistence on banks having to M2M ignores the fact that this accounting practice is a double-edged sword- how do you think banks were able to leverage up the wazzo during bubble times?

                  NeoCons' view on torture: if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for anyone!

                  by clone12 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:15:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't doubt that I coflate the notions of money (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PsychoSavannah

                    influencing politics, concentration of wealth and the need for financial reform into one big concept.  Are you saying that being leveraged up the wazoo is a good or necessary for growth thing?

                    •  No, I'm Saying Things Are More Complicated (0+ / 0-)

                      You think that banks should assiduously mark their assets to market prices- the problem is that you explicitly make the assumption that the market is rational or sensical all the time.

                      This might be a good assumption 98% of the time, but there are times when this is an outright bad assumption.

                      It was obviously wrong to mark-to-market when there was a bubble and everyone knew it was a bubble, and you can make a good case for some class of assets that the "market" price for them right now are irrationally too low- you are forcing market prices to be the arbitrator and forcing banks to become insolvent for reasons that aren't entirely rational.

                      NeoCons' view on torture: if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for anyone!

                      by clone12 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 04:53:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It's quite rational for those who took inordinate (0+ / 0-)

                        risk to take a haircut.  That is the market.  Anything else is manipulation via corruption, plain and simple.  So you advocate mark-to-market when times are good, but prefer mark-to-fantasy when times are bad.  Greenspan's already 'fessed up to the markets being quite irrational.  What's rational is folks wanting their money back from immoral criminals.

                •  That next big implosion is (0+ / 0-)

                  coming next spring....when the next big round of ARMs reset.  I certainly hope we the people let the banks eat that one.

    •  I like how the Obama administration (4+ / 0-)

      covered all the dead bodies from the economic roadkill with a TARP.

    •  Strawman (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clone12, gwh, GrogInOhio

      You've imputed ideological characteristics onto the diarist with no justification.

      climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

      by GN1927 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:50:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For Progressive Purists (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927, gwh

        Anyone they don't agree with are corporatist shills.

        NeoCons' view on torture: if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for anyone!

        by clone12 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:03:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't know if this is a purist (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          clone12, ZAP210

          but this is a tactic which has become popular: when someone argues against a strategy, not ideology but strategy (in this case, the diarist is arguing against someone overreading a POTUS interview and flying off the handle at a strawman), people decide to "respond" to that strategy critique by pulling rank ideologically.

          "Either you agree with my strategy or you don't share my ideology."

          This is no good.  Liberalism/progressivism is a set of beliefs, not a set of strategies and tactics; holding that set of beliefs should not require that we endorse weak tactics.

          climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

          by GN1927 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:07:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  If I am responsible for my company losing money (23+ / 0-)

    I get fired not a bonus. What about that is so hard to understand?  Especially considering the desperation the average family is experiencing.

  •  sorry to report to everyone that (17+ / 0-)

    Rush just mentioned Huffpo as evidence that the left if furious with Obama.  Too bad they don't run with stories like the one written above and instead, rely on sensational headlines instead of in depth analysis.  Nice diary.

  •  The issue isn't bonuses per se (18+ / 0-)

    it is giant bonuses from companies that would have gone bankrupt but for their chokehold on the world economy.  When these CEOs should be prostrating themselves before the world and asking for pity (like the head of Toyota has repeatedly done), they are taking obscene bonuses for performance that could easily be matched by a cow shitting on random stocks positioned in a corral.

    All Krugman is saying is that Obama and America were justifiably pissed at these guys, and America continues to be justifiably pissed even if Obama isn't.

    •  That's a fair point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina, mos1133, jtown

      But I think Obama has taken action.  Feinberg has been pretty tough on the bailed out companies, and Obama wants to tax the bonuses.  He just doesn't rant and rave about it.  Maybe that's the problem.  Obama is more nuanced, and America doesn't do nuance.

      •  Exactly, the fact that they took stock vs cash (0+ / 0-)

        shows progress, don't get me wrong, the fact that they got anything don't make me too happy.

      •  yeah... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        it boils down to actually governing versus scoring idealogical points... he's doing the former.

        Unfortunately, doing the former may cost us both houses of congress and the presidency... then we're stuck with another incompitent Republican-lead government at a time when we absolutely cannot afford incompitence...

      •  I listened to Feinberg this week..... (6+ / 0-)

        .......in an interview on NPR. There was one thing that he said that was absolutely ridiculous. He was asked why the players at AIG, who were instrumental in designing some of the riskiest financial products were continuing to take home huge bonuses. Of course he explained that the contracts had been signed prior to the melt down and therefore there was nothing to be done.

        When asked why the car companies, who received much less money than the banks, were forced to  break all of the contracts with their employees, he replied that they had gone into bankruptcy and therefore contracts were renegotiable.

        He then said that, "anyway the people now getting the obscene amounts of money at AIG were probably not the same bad players that caused the problem."

        What?? He was caught off guard and completely contradicted himself. Unless I am mistaken contracts would have been signed with individuals at AIG. If they are no longer there, those that were hired to take their place and wind down that part of the company didn't have binding contracts with AIG to begin with. So why the big bonuses for them?

        I will try to find the NPR piece and link to it.

        Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

        by BMarshall on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:12:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those aren't all that giant. (0+ / 0-)

      From the standpoint of the bonuses people have been getting for decades, those are chump change.

      Sure, to the rest of us, they may be 34 lifetimes worth of wages, but to the Olympians of Wall Street, they actually think such 'small' bonuses are punishment.

      I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:37:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's almost as if Obama is talking to Wall Street (18+ / 0-)

    who will fight him every inch of the way, and is not preaching to the choir of the liberal blogosphere, where he could score political points for saying lots of fiery stuff-- without actually moving things a fraction of an inch in the direction of better regulations and government oversight.

  •  Paul Krugman is clueless. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, marabout40, jtown, vc2
  •  just wanted to say (8+ / 0-)

    thanks for diaring some facts.  rare indeed.

    save our democracy! freespeechforpeople.org

    by thoughtful3 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:27:26 AM PST

  •  Read the mission statement: (4+ / 0-)

    This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from all the tough issues, and yet we're all still in this to fight each other. We happily embrace centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean so that we can scream at them, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson so that we can scream at them, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama so that we can wail that that they haven't done enough and are weak and spineless and in the tank for big business. Liberal? Yeah, that's what liberals do!"

  •  The left will destroy Obama not the right, I hope (8+ / 0-)

    people are starting to realize this.  Arriana, Krugman have been on a witch hunt day one.

  •  A response--Stock grants are a red herring (10+ / 0-)

    The claim that stock grants are not immediately exchangeable for cash ignores the Financial Gimcrackery of Wall Street.

    The grants can be monetized by selling long-dated out-of-the-money options. The executive gets immediate cash for the option sale,  which is covered by shares gifted in the grant.  

  •  Tipped and Recced. (7+ / 0-)

    The faux outrage over a capitalist politician making capitalist statements is utterly silly.

    Unless the President magically becomes a real socialist, there's 'nothing to see' in him supporting bonuses as a form of capitalist incentive.

    Oh noez!  People are accusing the President of being a capitalist!

    I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:35:02 AM PST

  •  TIPPED!!! AND REC'D!!!! (6+ / 0-)

    THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!

    Besides, doesn't president's approach to this issue prove that he is no "stinking socialist-communist-devil" who is set to destroy capitalism and free markets?

  •  Just more evidence that the press... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seeds, Calidad

    ...is fully complicit in the political gamesmanship that has broken Washington.

    Kudos to Obama for not giving up his faith that eventually the country will choose truth over BS. But the only way we'll make such progress is for leaders like him to continue calling out the gameplayers -- who include Paul "The Shrill" Krugman, Ariana Huffington, and so many here who don't understand the difference between pressuring the administration and kneecapping it.

  •  Nuanced approaches to complex issues? (12+ / 0-)

    WE CAN'T HANDLE NUANCED APPROACHES TO COMPLEX ISSUES!

    (Scream it like Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men")

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:39:38 AM PST

  •  As usual, the responses here are almost (24+ / 0-)

    ... exclusively of the "black-or-white" nature. That is, nearly every response falls into one of two simplistic (and simple-minded) categories:

    1. Krugman is dolt who is stupid for attacking a Democrat.
    1. Obama is a clueless tool of big money interests.

    It's this kind of inane, shallow, idiotic reasoning that reminds me of the Cheney years when every topic was reduced to the absurd, "You're-either-with-us-or-you're-with-the-enemy" rhetoric.

    I can't believe so many here are as fucking stupid as the Cheneyites we all rightly derided as simplistic fools.

    I have wrested back control of my account from my dog, Rex.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40:04 AM PST

  •  Messaging isn't a game of context (10+ / 0-)

    Like it or not, the president said something with which he will be bashed over the head by his political enemies.  He needs to tread a little more thoughtfully when discussing something for which he should actually be quite outraged.

    Those bonuses didn't come from the workings of free market enterprise, they came from lemon socialism.  He had no need to qualify his remarks.

    It was stupid from a messaging standpoint, and that matters politically.

    "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by burndtdan on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40:28 AM PST

  •  in this case they should institute a windfall pro (5+ / 0-)

    profits tax on these bonuses. they are wards of the state and drove our country into bankruptcy.  

  •  "OMG", don't let a lack of context stop you, paul (7+ / 0-)

    Sam Stein:

    [...] The National Republican Congressional Committee was quick on the attack, sending the story to reporters under the title: "OBAMA SUDDENLY SCALES BACK ANTI-WALL STREET RHETORIC." On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum -- and at a slightly more elevated intellectual level -- Paul Krugman of the New York Times called the president "clueless."[...]

    (but only slightly)

    and

    [...] Bloomberg, to its credit, did highlight much of Obama's plan to rein in excessive compensation packages. But it did so midway down the article, at a distance from the more inflammatory portions of the president's quote.

    But what has White House aides even more bothered, however, is that fact that the president was simply using a tried and tested talking point only to have it treated like a major revelation. On that front, they're right. [...]

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:42:59 AM PST

    •  I'll say (7+ / 0-)

      it again, how the hell is the administration supposed to stay on message when the media is outright making sh-t up and/or misconstruing what the President has said. And to insult to injury, the left seems all to eager to believe what has been "reported".

      The left is so easily manipulated; it's sad and pathetic.

      Question: What does Sarah Palin and Keith Olbermann have in common? Answer: They both believe their own hype.

      by Parisienne Dreams on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:54:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sam's article also says (0+ / 0-)

      in the last 2 paragraphs

      But what has White House aides even more bothered, however, is that fact that the president was simply using a tried and tested talking point only to have it treated like a major revelation. On that front, they're right.

      In February 2009, Obama gave a speech on executive compensation in which he declared that, in American, "we don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded." In March 2009, Obama told the Business Roundtable that the job of a lawmaker is "not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach." And in a brief statement on executive compensation in October 2009, Obama repeated the lines: "We don't disparage wealth; we don't begrudge anybody for doing well. We believe in success. But it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms -- firms that are struggling -- pay themselves huge bonuses, even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat

      Thanks Sam for trying to save HuffPo's credibility. This sounds like much ado about nothing or a deliberate attempt to undercut Obama just as he's getting his mojo back...

      Obama to his opponents: If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize - Muhammad Ali

      by MB32 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:28:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know what this OMG business is about (5+ / 0-)

    considering that the only rec-listed diary I see about it largely agrees with your position.

    Telling a roomful of serene people to "calm down" seems a little weird in that context.

    If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

    by Bobs Telecaster on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:43:24 AM PST

  •  Krugman off base in his reaction? (3+ / 0-)

    When is he NOT being excessivly dramatic in his reaction?

    I bet when he takes a shit in the morning he proclaims its a sign of total economic meltdown.

  •  Stop rationalizing (17+ / 0-)

    Compensation has become obscene at these big banks and investment firms, and they do have an impact on all of us. If the CEO would get paid $1 million to run a profitable company, or $10 million to cut 1000 workers and ship there jobs overseas to make the company even more profitable, which do you think a greedy CEO would choose to do?

    On this one, Obama is wrong, and the impact is being felt every single day.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:45:19 AM PST

  •  I've thought this before... (9+ / 0-)

    Krugman was a fan of Hillary.  He is not a supporter of Obama.

    If Obama did something totally wonderful in Krugman's eyes, Krugman would play it down.  And no matter what this President does, Krugman will give him no credit for it.  This is my observation, after reading a lot of Krugman.

    In this case, Krugman could have been as assiduous as our diarist in learning the facts before he decided to help Republicans feel good about blocking all needed reform.  (Republicans yearn for any left-leaning columnist to give them legitimacy to obstruct policies.)  But the false statement fit his predisposition about the President, so he lets words fly.

    There is a style difference between this probably brilliant economist and this definitely brilliant President.  They could both be on the same page and accomplish quite a lot: Krugman has a lot of readers, and the President has a lot of people who wish his administration's policies well.  But I won't hold my breath.  Krugman would have to rethink the reasons he is so congenitally opposed to this President, and he might not want to dig that fact out.

    •  give it a rest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohmyheck

      Krugman actually has praised Obama's policies several times.

      "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

      by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:27:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  bad timing for you (0+ / 0-)

      If Obama did something totally wonderful in Krugman's eyes, Krugman would play it down.  And no matter what this President does, Krugman will give him no credit for it.  This is my observation, after reading a lot of Krugman.

      Krugman is quoted in a current FP post about medicare.

      Now, what were you saying about Krugman's (perceived) bias again?

      "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

      by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:06:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Nina, Stroszek, Calidad, addisnana, LiLaF

    I agree with your reading of POTUS' remarks and I think that Krugman battled a strawman.  Much ado about nothing.  Tipped and rec'd.

    climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

    by GN1927 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:46:42 AM PST

  •  Krugman's faux outrage is getting tiresome (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k, Drdemocrat

    I get it, Dr. Krugman.  But this isn't some goddamn surprise.  Stop acting as if the known news for the last month is some crazy surprising outrage on the part of the President.  

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:47:39 AM PST

  •  I don't see why we give big brokerage execs (4+ / 0-)

    such a bad time.  They are the men of mind who make our economy work.  If they were to go on strike, we would be doooooooomed.  Remember what Joe the Plumber said in 2008:  Higher taxes would discourage him from working hard to be the success he is today.  Just imagine if he couldn't even give himself a big bonus, as well.

  •  bonuses in stock even worse than cash because (11+ / 0-)

    the execs now have even MORE incentive to run up the stock price through fraud and deception, then unload the stock, leaving small investors and retirees to take the losses.  Happens every single day.  And no one does anything about it.

    The stock market is a fraud.

    Think about it. Did the real value of the Dow companies really go up and down 3 - 5 % in the last week or so?

    •  EXACTLY (5+ / 0-)

      This is exactly what happens and why CEO and so forth have very little care for long term planning or growth.  CEOS pay is basically tied to short term market gains.  So everything they do is in an effort to get the present and near term price high so they can cash in.  CEO's very rarely remain for more than a decade at a company, so why do they care what happens to that comapny after their term.

      Short term thinking push by short term profit taking. That is what has lead to many of the problems of this country.

      NOONE is paid to think 10-20 years down the road.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:33:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Couldn't agree more. (4+ / 0-)

      Payment in stock makes all incentives short term for corporate officers. Instead of long term plans to grow their business,executives devise risky short term plans to inflate their stock and cash out with little concern for the future health of the corporation.  Stock payouts have ruined corporate governance and planning.

    •  Agree, but it could work with the right rules. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah

      Many companies require their CEOs and senior executives to maintain a certain percentage of their personal wealth in company stock.  American Express is one, but even with that, CEO Ken Chenault is one the top most compensated CEOs.

      But I like the idea the senior management be required to keep very high percentages, like 70 to 80% percent of their personal wealth in company stock along with much greater restrictions on when and how much they can sell.  

      Insider trading rules need to be much tighter and crystal clear.  The penalties and punishments need to be massively increased.  Many have been caught and even sent to jail for it, but still come off as relative slaps on the wrist.

      There should also be restrictions on how long they hold their stock after they leave the company (like 10% per year) and certainly how much they can sell in the last two years before they leave company. (Like 0-5% if you ask me).

      If done correctly, it would be much like they were temporary heads of the family business and have to make sure their successor is going to keep it successful because their personal wealth is still on the line.

      With all of that said, none of this addresses the unique situation of the banks.  So little has been done to address outright fraud and corruption like Goldman's little trading computerized 'look ahead' scheme that is effectively insider trading, but legal because the law doesn't address it specifically.   Additionally, the banks need to be broken up to end their too-big-to-fail status on our economy.  If they don't do that, we WILL end up right back here sooner than later.

      ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

      by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:54:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Presuming Incomes No Matter How Large Should Be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, blueoasis, TKLTKL94, ohmyheck

    kept and not taxed away, which has never proven to support a stable economy, I suppose, whatever.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:54:20 AM PST

    •  They should be taxed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland

      Obama wants to tax them.  But you can't stop them from being awarded.

      •  The fundamental assumptions of our economy are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slatsg, blueoasis

        flawed and should be questioned.

        We can start with why someone who pushes piles of money around is somehow entitled to the things that they are paid.

        Athletes have a marketable skill, and are a brand name, thus there is some reasoning behind their high pay.

        Bank CEO's do not except to other Bank CEO's and board members.  Unless you're Donald Trump or someone else who is a house hold name they are neither brand nor a rare skill set.

        The United States Senate has lost its political legitmacy and should be abolished.

        by TKLTKL94 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:58:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So did I miss something (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, mediaprisoner, CT Hank

    When did Obama reign in CEO compensation? When did regulation reform pass?

    Or are we just ÀSSUMING Obama is the Wall Street reformer, champion of the people...and meant this, that & the other thing.

    I agree, the headline is sensationalistic, but too many here are pretending that Obama COULDNT have meant this, since this is against his core principles....really? I wish I had your faiths...

    I did campaign on the public option, and I'm proud of it!

    by Jazzenterprises on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:54:42 AM PST

  •  Obama needs to attack the Media head on. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pattym922, Petey2, Calidad, googleimage, LiLaF

    They twist his words far too much.  Snarky comments make us laugh but they don't outright expose how rediculous and empowering to Republicans that they have become.

    Yeah, Palin does the same thing....but Palin also eats food and BREATHES.

    Sometimes you do something both because it is true and because IT WORKS.

    The United States Senate has lost its political legitmacy and should be abolished.

    by TKLTKL94 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:56:16 AM PST

  •  let me bounce back a couple things (11+ / 0-)

    So these aren't cash bonuses, first off.  I think this point hasn't been detailed enough.

    1. I'd say the method of compensation matters very little when one is simply addressing the size of the compensation. Stocks, cash, gold, Gulfstream jets; that's largely irrelevant. What matters is how much compensation is awarded.

    $1 million worth of stock options is effectively the same as $1 million worth of direct deposits into your bank account.

    1. I think this misses the larger point, which you don't refute Krugman asserting, which is that the whole tone of the interview comes off as out of touch.

    Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein specifically, and many rich financial industry leaders more generally, are not rich because they're successful businessmen who have created wealth for society. That's an absolutely ridiculous claim.

    They're rich because they've sucked wealth away from society, wrecking our economy to the point of necessitating massive, unprecedented 'emergency' intervention by the government.

    Would it be any less clueless for the President to imply that Bernie Madoff was a successful businessman?

    •  No it would not be less clueless (0+ / 0-)
    •  but but but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      washunate

      "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

      by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:37:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not defending banker compensation of ANY (0+ / 0-)

      stripe...

      But $1M of stock options is NOT REMOTELY the same as $1M worth of direct deposits into your accounts.  It depends on a) the type of option; and b) the restrictions placed on the exercising of that option.

      •  I fundamentally disagree (0+ / 0-)

        This summarizes my viewpoint pretty well: from Baseline Scenario.

        Yeah, we can quibble around the margin about what sort of restrictions are involved. And certainly, some restrictions are marginally better than none.

        But I'd suggest that that exercise is a bit like discussing the degree to which a victim of sexual abuse said no. It just wreaks of being tone deaf to the underlying, substantive issue, which is that the nature of the conduct is fundamentally wrong, nevermind the more detailed discussion about the context and potential mitigating circumstances.

        There is no restriction ever placed on a stock option that can justify millions of dollars of bonuses for people who drove their firms into insolvency. It is the act of offering defenses like that, I'd argue, that is itself something that is very bad for us to be doing politically. Or as Krugman said, it just comes off as clueless.

        •  I see this differently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          washunate

          I understand the Krugman point but I think the President is attempting to reassure Wall Street that he doesn't plan any radical attacks on the financial sector that could damage the economic recovery.

          •  oh, I agree there, at least partly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YoGo

            I think the President is attempting to reassure Wall Street that he doesn't plan any radical attacks on the financial sector

            this is the part I have difficulty with:

            that could damage the economic recovery

            Some of us would suggest that radical financial reform is critical to allow economic recovery.

            •  Really late to reply to you. (0+ / 0-)

              BUT.  I would absolutely agree that radical financial reform is required at this point.  Pay for these bank executives is really a very teeny, tiny nit - but a one that is being publicly picked.  The issue is the risk.  When you buy a home, you assume the risk of owning that home - that it's value will increase or at least hold steady, etc.  You also receive the reward of that investment if the risk pays off.  Bankers??  They kick the risk can down the road under the current financial regulatory schema.  They can make money without assuming an iota of risk.

              THAT is what needs to be brought back into the financial system.  Risk has to go with investment and potential reward.  The upside is obvious - the market operates more closely to the way it should be operating.  The downside is that borderline "risky" investment (I'm thinking specifically of individuals) will be out the opportunity to purchase a home or get a loan to start a business.  These individuals will be the ones on the cusp of the risk assessment - who otherwise would probably be a good risk to assume.

  •  give me a break (15+ / 0-)

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    When a private company/industry is saved by the government then you better believe the government should have a say in their pay. If you think that paying back the TARP is the be all and end all of of the government safety net for the financial firms then you are woefully ill-informed. Can you spell TLGP? How about FDIC? The list goes on and on. How about the fact that Goldman Sachs became a "bank" so that it can have direct access to the Fed despite the fact that it doesn't take any deposits? The level financial ignorance on display here is appalling.

  •  Obama's response was tone-deaf (19+ / 0-)

    and if the pushback to it helps him realize that, so much the better. I really don't know what we gain from downplaying this.

    •  I just think the entire response should be known (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      googleimage
    •  Yeah, pretending that POTUS (4+ / 0-)

      said things which he didn't say and attacking him with sensationalist "lines in the sand," tripping over our feet and looking like a circus is going to result in him taking the blogosphere even more seriously than he does now (I personally think we're on ignore and have been since POTUS built his own online infrastructure).

      Fantasy.

      climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

      by GN1927 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:34:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't take long for his peeps to email Stein (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927, kyeo

        over at HuffPo to clarify the Bloomberg quotes.

        They may not like us, but they keep up with things at the prominent sites.  And I remember that Obama himself reportedly read Sullivan frequently during the Iran election protests, for example.

        y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

        by gatorbot on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:52:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Looking for that chance to "push back" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927

        even if it's against something that didn't actually happen.....more people enamored of the apparent power of the teabagger movement.  

        Subsidies without cost controls, regulatory reform means that citizens get a little more awful insurance at a huge cost to taxpayers. Like Part D but worse.

        by Inland on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:25:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But...but...Obama's on our side! (0+ / 0-)

        He cares about us, and he wants to help us! Isn't that what you've been saying for months?

    •  If you keep responding this way... (0+ / 0-)

      ...you're urging him to clam up and resort to the typical game-playing that defines Washington.

      Luckily he's not so easily bullied into worrying too much about every possible manner someone might twist his words.

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        Because god knows my reaction has the power to shape public opinion. And the media would never sensationalize a quote without my say-so.

        Why don't you just admit you want me to stop saying things you don't want to hear?

    •  Hate to tell you... (0+ / 0-)

      There's not a shred of news coverage over this issue as of yet that I've seen.  Just an observation.

      •  Try observing a little harder (0+ / 0-)

        Cut and pasted off the front page of Google News:

        Obama on CEO Bonuses: He Doesn't 'Begrudge' Wealth
        ABC News - Jim Kuhnhenn - ‎2 hours ago‎

        AP FILE - Less than a month after calling bank executives' pay "obscene," President Barack Obama is declining to criticize bonuses ...

        Obama doesn't mind bonuses to savvy CEOs -- Economic Times

        Obama: I 'don't begrudge people success or wealth' -- USA Today

        Politico - CBS News (blog) - Reuters - Washington

        Your selective blindness is showing.

  •  What??? (15+ / 0-)

    "I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees."

    The government practically bought these companies! Hundreds of billions in direct handouts and $20 TRILLION in government gauranties.  

    At a time when we have 15% unemployment, no decent jobs bill in sight, failed HCR, lackluster stimulus (that way because Obama "compromised" in the initial bill offfering, as always) Obama calls these welfare kings "savvy" businessmen whose tens of million in self-drected (from our wallets to theirs) compensation is a "free market" outcome we should all respect?  This is a Democrat?

    Disgraceful.  

  •  Right Wing Talking Point (7+ / 0-)

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    I should HR your tip jar, but seeing how the Big Tent now includes Republicans and political conservatives of all stripes.. I guess I won't.

    Sunshine on my shoulder...

    by pkbarbiedoll on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:21:00 AM PST

    •  It's gotten so bad... (5+ / 0-)

      That the President can continue to substantiate the world view of the right on a regular basis and people come here and regurgitate it.

      Personally, I "like the rest of the American people" Mr. Obama seems to think he knows so well, do give a shit what kind of dice the "masters of the universe" are using when they are gambling with our money and our futures.

      Slap happy is a platform.

      by averageyoungman on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:28:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Me too! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, ohmyheck, Johnny Q

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    I assume that you also feel that government should bail out private companies when things go south either.

    If a company has been bailed by the taxpayers, then absolutely the taxpayers have the right to make sure that their bailout money is used to shore up the finances of the company, as opposed to the bank accounts of certain individuals who work for the company.

    I do think that the bonuses are a side-issue though. There measured in the millions, tens of millions at most, whereas the wider issue of bailing out shareholders who were presumably already compensated for the level of risk involved through stock and bond prices to the tune of hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars.

  •  It's a cheap fucking pander (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, blueoasis, CT Hank

    To the fantasy voter the beltway has it's obsession with; the "fiscally responsible, self bootstrapped independent." News flash - that guy doesn't want to sit down for a fucking beer with Jamie Dimon, and Obama made himself look like a class-a fuckwit elitist by making those remarks. That guy is not going to save the Democratic party, especially if continues to relate to a stupid, white minority just as liable to give him the finger as they were to elect Scott Brown. That voter is a beltway fantasy.

    Honestly, the more mealy-mouthed, "here's my lunch money" crap I hear spewed by this dude the more it is substantiated for me that he's a conservative.

    When I have time, I'm going to compile a list of all the right wing ideals this Democratic President has substantiated in his first year alone, starting with his love affair with "Saint Ronnie" during the primary.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:24:38 AM PST

  •  bullshit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Kickemout, grinder

    it is all bullshit.

    against one day then it is okay the next day and he softens.  then he will call for jobs the next day.  until he needs to apologize for something the day after that.

    it is all bullshit.

    We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

    by fernan47 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:24:54 AM PST

  •  let's see, these guys drove the nation (8+ / 0-)

    into the ditch & the argument is over how they'll receive their bonuses? really?

    Everybody takes me too seriously. Nobody believes anything I say. - Philip Whalen, The Madness of Saul

    by rasbobbo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:28:32 AM PST

  •  So now the RW propaganda makes the rec list? (6+ / 0-)

    Sweet, it's finally a fucking free-for-all!

    Fuck it!

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:29:26 AM PST

  •  So, as usual, something gets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seeds, gratis4

    taken out of context in an interview, or in Huff Po's case, created out of thin air and it's "Obama's a corporate whore!" You'd think that SOME people here would know better than to fly off the handle without knowing all the facts. Whatever. Enjoy the outrage.

  •  whenever you have to explain what someone really (15+ / 0-)

    meant, that someone has stepped in it.

    I'm not interested in attributing any malice to Obama nor to Krugman and others who cringed at his "hey, I know those guys and they're pretty smart and I don't think people begrudge success" misstep. And yes, he said other things, too. But that part was a misstep.

    Shooting messengers won't change that.

    Unfortunately, this administration has a pattern of spraying multiple and conflicting messages to cover all bases. So Obama thinks the public option is necessary -- but it isn't really. He's not giving up on health care reform but he's willing to "start from scratch"-- but not really. Bankers are "fat cats" -- but not really.

    I've honestly learned to wait for the contradiction whenever Obama makes any  statement. One almost always follows.

    This strategy (if that's what it is) helped Obama to become that "blank screen" he compared himself to. It was a handy skill in a campaign to be all things to all people: a pragmatic incrementalist to centrists, a bold reincarnation of RFK/JFK/MLK to progressives. Now, though, when governing, what he needs is message discipline. That message has to come from a core conviction, however. The reason I have difficulty discerning Obama's core principles is that he continually contradicts himself. This unfortunately gives the impression that he has none, that he's merely searching for the right words to get a certain constituency's support and that those words will change with a different audience, a different concerned constituency. This is not good.

    I know that the die-hard Obama-supporters here will probably attack me for criticizing him. But I truly want the man to succeed. I just wish he'd decide where he stands, what policies are in the long-term best interest of the nation, and hold firm to a commitment to see those policies enacted. If he doesn't, if he is not willing or able to piss off some VIPs to help the average American, he's going to lose everyone's trust--including that of the VIPs he's trying so hard not to alienate.

    I do not want him to be a one-termer. But something is awry with this administration and it is projecting a wishy-washiness that will, I am afraid, cost it dearly in 2012.

  •  Did you really just write this (10+ / 0-)

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    about the Wall Street bonuses?

    These banks are making their money by borrowing from the Fed for free, and playing the yield curve on Government bonds.  

    Private company my ass.  Pull the government support, take away the backstop, eliminate the implied and explicit guarantees, and let's see how these "private companies" do.  

    They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred.

    by bdtlaw on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:30:59 AM PST

  •  The Huffingtonpost is just ridiculous (3+ / 0-)

    I understand what Obama is saying.  

    Obama 1/10: "We don't quit. I don't quit."

    by Drdemocrat on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:31:44 AM PST

  •  Shareholders need more power over (4+ / 0-)

    Executive compensation.  That's the bottom line.  The government could try to regulate it but these motherfucking vampires always come up with schemes to get around that.  So the shareholders are the nexus of reigning in this bullshit.

    My brother works his ass off doing life-saving surgery on people.  He gets paid a minuscule fraction of what that fucking vampire Blankfein "earns."  So when people talk to me about "value" and "talent" regarding these sociopaths, sorry fuckers, I know what actual value and talent look like.

    These guys are sociopaths raiding corporate coffers.  It ain't free money.  The money they steal is money that could go to shareholders, to employees, or to strengthening the corporate books.  So not is it morally egregious, it's also destructive to the organization.  Fuck these assholes.  Shareholders should have a hell of a lot more power over them.

  •  If you don't think the government can tell (4+ / 0-)

    private industry what to pay people, do you also object to the minimum wage laws?

    I would love to see a maximum wage law, but maybe that is only me.

    I see nothing wrong with curbing outlandish unfair distributions of wealth.  No one earns what those bonuses come to by doing actual work.

    2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

    by Silverbird on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:40:28 AM PST

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      carlos the jackal

      I think the government is more justified in mandating a living wage than capping what a person can make.

    •  minimum wage is very different (0+ / 0-)

      there has throughout history been a tendency for a few to enslave many to make themselves rich from the labor of the many and from claiming ownership of everything.

      the counter this tendency we established minimum wages.

      to keep people from essentially working as slave labor.

      earning barely enough just to stay alive.

      but capping how much a person can earn is a whole other matter.

      who decides how much someone can succeed in life?

      it's one thing to make a law that says that people have to be paid enough to survive.

      that is a knowable standard

      how do you choose how much is too much?

      and what does that do to stiffling innovation?

      i think obama has the right idea about making pay for a ceo based on share holders say

      as a suggestion not a law though

      They've sent us a message... that they can take whatever they want. Well we will send them a message. That this... This is Our LAND!

      by AntonBursch on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:50:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I once thought we should tax away everything (0+ / 0-)

        earned above $50,000 a year.  That was back when $50,000 was triple what the average person earned.  I think we can as a group, through democratic voting, decide what might be too much for some (which leaves not enough for others, isn't that the theory).  I am fine with moving some of the winnings in the class war back into the lower classes and with capping those huge salaries.

        2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

        by Silverbird on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:19:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't Defend That Shit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, Malvern

    Obama's comment about how he knows them and they are savvy businessmen was pure bullshit. If Obama was ever serious about bringing "hope" and "change," he sure as hell isn't now.

  •  Gee with friends like Krugman (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Nina, GrogInOhio

    and Huffington, who needs enemies?  Something is wrong here when a guy like Obama is getting crucified from all sides.

  •  Why it won't work (5+ / 0-)

    Obama said compensation packages over the last decade haven’t always been commensurate with performance, and reiterated his call for shareholders to have a say in CEO pay.
    ...  "Shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs."

    So the President re-affirms his desire for shareholders to have a meaningful say in CEO pay.

    Ok, great.  Shareholders get a "meaningful say" in CEO pay.  I would guess that means a vote.

    Here's the problem:

       Blankfein and Dimon took their bonuses in stock rather than cash, which Obama encouraged other corporations to do.

    Look who the shareholders are.  Blankfein just received a bonus of $9 million dollars worth of shares - on top of god knows how many more shares he already had.  And what about the vice presidents and the Boards of directors.  They own tons of shares too.  

    There is no way that an outsider, voting with 100 or even 1,000 shares will make any difference at all.  Unless Berkshire Hathaway buys up a huge lot, I don't see this as much of a solution.

    •  That's my concern too (3+ / 0-)

      If your votes in the company are dependent on the number of shares you hold, then it's easy for a few shareholders to determine how their company's executives get compensated.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:59:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  $9 million is less than .00001% of outstanding (0+ / 0-)

      shares of Goldman stock. These kind of stock accumulations will have little bearing on voting.  Warren Buffett on the other hand does have that kind of power.  You should definitely be concerned about what he thinks.  So far, I think he's firmly in the middle on the issue, but would prefer more accountability from the CEO's.

      Goldman, like most companies, probably requires their senior executives to maintain a certain percentage of their personal assets in company stock.  They do this to keep them loyal and committed to the performance of the company.  However, the thresholds are not high enough.  Awards like this and higher thresholds would make a bigger difference.

      The key is how much their personal wealth relies on them performing.  Most of us have that pressure on us every day. Not necessarily in stock, but our performance none the less, is what drives most of our incomes.  A true meritocracy would work that way.

      That said, more regulations need to be in place to prevent shenanigans as the motivation to cheat becomes greater the more their personal long-term wealth is tied to personal performance.  They call it being clever.  One thing you can count on is for bankers to be bankers.  They always find a way to make themselves money.  That's what they do.

      ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

      by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:22:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blankfein owns (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, blueoasis, MJ via Chicago

        $500 million in GS stocks.

        Even though he proudly pays himself more in a year than most of us could ever dream of — $68m in 2007 alone, a record for any Wall Street CEO, to add to the more than $500m of Goldman stock he owns — he insists he’s still "a blue-collar guy".

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:48:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  $500 million is less than .006 percent. (0+ / 0-)

          While undoubtedly huge, he has far greater influence on the company as CEO than as a shareholder.  For some reaction on how Goldman's shareholders feel about the issue...

          Goldman Holders Miffed at Bonuses

          Some other takes on this subscription only  'scoop' from the Wall Street Journal.

          Goldman Sachs' Shareholders Seethe

          Goldman Sachs Shareholders Ask Bank To Cut Down HUGE Bonuses

          ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

          by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:06:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't have a subscription (0+ / 0-)

            Are they planning to actually do anything to reduce those bonuses?

            "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

            by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:22:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

              Goldman: We Won't Slash Pay for '10

              To be clear, the shareholders weren't upset because they thought it outrageous for them to be making so much money while so many are desperate to survive in a situation created by these assholes.  They were upset that they weren't getting their share of the profits.

              But it does illustrate that shareholders do have power over senior executives and should be included in the process and that they won't necessarily just 'go along' as so many seem to think.  It's an important part of a much larger process that should include many other remedies to their blatant profit taking while contributing nothing.

              See mine and MJ in Chicago's comments on some ideas.  We obviously need many more.

              ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

              by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:39:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  check your math (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, PsychoSavannah, ohmyheck

        I looked up Goldman Sach's market cap and it's ~$80 billion rounded up.

        Market Cap: 78.83B

        If you divide $9 million by $80 billion (which is lowball estimate) you get .0001125

        If you take the $500 million worth of stocks Blankfein owns, then it's .00625

        It's still not a lot, but if you add up all of the executives and the board of directors, it's a lot more.  Also, many shareholders either don't vote or follow "recommendations of the board".  I've voted against those choices as a shareholder many times, but I have NEVER won.

        Shareholder voting on executive pay is not the slam dunk it seems to be.  

        •  Added a zero by accident. Doesn't change much. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MJ via Chicago

          See my response to catnip above, especially the articles about shareholder sentiment about Goldman's bonuses.

          Ultimately, I agree that it is not the slam dunk as it works now but could be an important part of the equation.  What I think would be a far more effective part of the plan I outline here.

          A quick quote:

          But I like the idea the senior management be required to keep very high percentages, like 70 to 80% percent of their personal wealth in company stock along with much greater restrictions on when and how much they can sell.  

          Interested in your response.

          ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

          by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:15:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a nice addition (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Back In Blue

            I think maybe the stock grants could be "non-voting shares", which might fix the issue.  But it could complicate things.

            I'd prefer a European-style law that says your highest-paid employee can't exceed 100x the salary of the lowest paid - or something like that.  Though I can see companies outsourcing all of their low-paid labor to get around this clause.

             

            •  There's always a way for them to get around regs. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MJ via Chicago

              It's a never ending battle, but one that has to be fought.  I can't see the European style working here.   JP Morgan said something similar -

              "The tycoon J.P. Morgan said about a century ago that CEO pay should not exceed 20 times average worker pay". Right now, in the United States, average CEO pay is nearly 150 times average worker pay.”

              Obviously, it never took hold here.

              I really like the non-voting shares for compensation.  That would really make it a non-issue.  I'd also like to see higher tax brackets put back in place. Most people are completely uneducated on how taxes work.  They hear 70% tax on income and think that all of their income would be taxed at that rate.

              More important would be to somehow create progressive tax rates to capital gains so that people making over $5 million do not pay less in taxes than people making $500 - 5 million.  The Bush tax cuts expiring will help, but won't eliminate this problem.

              Probably all just wishful thinking on my part.

              ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

              by Back In Blue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:30:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar, blueoasis, eXtina

    Both diaries were built around Paul Krugman's response to these comments

    No, they weren't.

    "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

    by catnip on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:56:34 AM PST

  •  I'll second the other comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar, GrogInOhio

    I wasn't that bothered by what the president said.  In this country, even in these times, you have to say something like that or you get branded as a socialist.  As much as I would not mind the president to have that label, too many other people feel otherwise.

    But context does matter.  It's one thing for companies to have their own policies with regard to compensation.  It's different when those same companies are still around because of public support.  I think that's what's irked some people.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:57:02 AM PST

  •  Clueless? You want clueless? (0+ / 0-)

    One of the reporters in yesterday's impromptu presser asked if Obama would force Anthem not to raise its premiums. HUH? Wouldn't that be SOCIALIST of him? He responded he would have done that already if he could, but missed the opportunity to say no - we have to pass this HCR bill to do that. Because I'm only the president. In a non-socialist country.

  •  When Krugman was shilling (6+ / 0-)

    for corporate oppression on health insurance, you loved you some Krugman.  Is your support conditional on whether he's "for" or "against" Obama on a particular day?  

    We can't just go back to the New Deal and try to grab all the same policies of the 1930s and think somehow they'd work in the 21st century. -Barack Obama

    by Nada Lemming on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:59:03 AM PST

  •  Y'know, the right wingers are geniuses..... (4+ / 0-)

    ...at taking quotes out of context and blowing them up into major smears.

    Let's not do the same thing.

  •  The Quiet Coup-Simon Johnson (5+ / 0-)

    The Baseline Scenario

    President Obama On CEO Compensation At Too Big To Fail Banks

    Bloomberg today reports President Obama as commenting on the $17 million bonus for Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase and the $9 million bonus for Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs,

     

    "I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,"

    and

     

    ""I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system."

    Taken separately, these statements are undeniably true.  But put them together in the context of the Bloomberg story – we have to wait until Friday for the full text of the interview-and the White House has a major public relations disaster on its hands.

    Does the president truly not understand that Dimon and Blankfein run banks that are regarded by policymakers and hence by credit markets as "too big to fail"?

    This is the antithesis of a free-market system.

    http://baselinescenario.com/...

    The Quiet Coup

    The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/...

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:30:33 PM PST

  •  For stress relief, play Boot the CEO (0+ / 0-)

    Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

    by EdgedInBlue on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:31:23 PM PST

  •  Free Market (0+ / 0-)

    I agree with the free market.  I agree government should not tell businesses how much to pay their employees.  I agree someone who's successful and can legitimately make a lot of money should be able to.  However, the companies that got bailed out or borrow money from the federal government at a lower rate than other companies can should be prone to government scrutiny and regulations on excessive pay.

  •  What Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Niniane

    actually said appears to be different from the way it was written up in the final Bloomberg article:

    QUESTION: Let's talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen. And 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.

    If this is an accurate account of the Bloomberg question and Obama's answer, it seems to me that what Obama doesn't "begrudge" is "success and wealth" which is a pretty innocuous thing for him to say.  I suppose you could read the answer as specifically not begrudging the Blankfein/Dimon bonuses, if you like to go to those places anyway.

    This is where I found the above:
    http://business.theatlantic.com/...

  •  Thank You (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Niniane
    Obama's setup sentence has been trumpeted as his position when he actually was saying the opposite.  Huffington Post is the WORST because they know they are distorting the President's meaning and doing it, I assume, for advertising revenue.
  •  Brother, this diary... (6+ / 0-)

    ...smells, to say the least.  Obama was a fool--or a tool--for defending the two salaries.  And the government has every right to tell the executives of a company how much they're being paid when the companies received taxpayer dollars, and are being supported by the promise of more taxpayer dollars.  (Actually, the boards and upper management of these two banks should have been fired outright, but that's a different discussion.)

    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:43:00 PM PST

  •  Sounds like Bloomberg misrepresented what Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Niniane

    said, if this report is accurate

    http://business.theatlantic.com/...
    According, to Derek Thompson of Atlantic, this was the "actual exchange" between Bloomberg and Obama --
     
    QUESTION: Let's talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen. And 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.

    If this is accurate and this was what Obama actually said I think we have much adoing about nothing going on.  To say you don't "begrudge people success or wealth" is pretty innocuous & non-specific -- very different from specifically saying you don't begrudge the bonuses given to Blankfein/Dimon.

    •  I don't see much difference there. (0+ / 0-)

      He was specifically asked about those two bonuses, and that was his response.  Had he been asked about bonuses generically, without those two being mentioned, then I might agree with you.  So I don't see any real misrepresentation.

      On the other hand, I don't see the outrage either.  Did people actually expect him to go all socialist in his response?

      I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:12:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sorry (0+ / 0-)

    thought it didn't work the first time

  •  It's about the Tin Ear (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, blueoasis, ohmyheck, Johnny Q

    The Man We Elected - the Progressive, Perfect-Pitch Campaigner -

    seems to have morphed (in his worst moments) into The Suit Who Deals.

    Granted, President Obama doesn't really have many "worst moments" - but both his intelligent, sober-minded, determined style and the concrete accomplishments of his first year in power are undermined by two things:

    1. The failure of his biggest, clearest legislative mandate, healthcare reform. It's a failure as of today, in light of the deadline he loudly proclaimed as being the end of 2009. Sad but true.
    1. The not infrequent missed opportunities to shape public opinion about the policy priorities and about the leadership style and image of this President. The fact that we had to wait more than an entire year to see him sternly and with controlled passion dismantle the Republican talking points, is a failure of his staff. It is also part of the reason that we are faced with item No. 1 above.

    I believe Mr. Krugman's commentary concerns item No. 2.

    We can be calm about all this, as the diarist suggests - but in that case we will be calmly glum. The snowblown, petrified stagnation on Capitol Hill was not created by President Obama. On the contrary: he is the man we elected to bring a fire to bear upon and melt that ice-jam!

    Where's the blowtorch, Mr. President? It is February 2010, the harried consumers and citizens of the United States uneasily ponder the rumblings they hear that portend continuing bailouts for the haves and deepening misery for the rest of us. Give us the fire, sir!

    Hope is, after all, the currency of popular politics, and a coin surprisingly hard to devalue. -- Fred Anderson, Crucible of War

    by ornerydad on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:54:58 PM PST

  •  Oh, really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    Do you really advocating the repeal of minimum wage laws? Just how overpaid do you think minimum wage workers are, anyway?

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:56:25 PM PST

    •  Again, No (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Niniane, gwh

      I explained this many times.  I see a big difference between mandating a minimum living wage and setting a maximum wage cap.

      •  What we need (0+ / 0-)

        is a tax code that allows companies to pay top execs whatever they like, but zeroes out deducting wages as a business expense at either a certain figure and/or proportion to the wages of the lowest-paid full time employee.

        We should also bring back the 90% marginal bracket for very high incomes. Overconcentration of too much wealth in too few hands is unhealthy for societies in general and democracies in particular.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:03:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're against the minimum wage? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, blueoasis

    I personally don't feel the government should tell any private company what they can pay their employees.

    Or, what if the private company is so large that it's instability will affect the nation?

    I find your statement very narrow-minded.

  •  Krugman is the "even the liberal new Republic" (0+ / 0-)
  •  Constant drumbeat of attacking Democratic Prez (10+ / 0-)

    The "tell" on these criticisms is that the demeaning tone. It's not that they disagree with the only Democratic President we have, it's that he is "clueless", naive, stupid, chickenshit etcetera. These people are not "criticizing from the left", they are reinforcing republican propaganda.

  •  Krugman is getting upstaged by Simon Johnson, the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina

    new darling of the Librul Left!!! he's sounding more and more petulant every day.  This is just the 'Doom of the Day' and will burn itself out in 24 hours.

    Better hurry up before the Outrage Express leaves the station.Get your licks in, quick!!!

    •  That's it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon

      It would be just great if one day The Cheerleaders could actually show up in a diary with Something/Anything that actually had some objective, factual analysis included.

      Maybe asking too much........

      Paradigm Shift. Think "Berlin Wall".

      by ohmyheck on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:09:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  why bother. The only purpose of the Dump on (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bustacap, Nina, Patricia Bruner, gwh

        Obama diaries and brigade is to pour fuel on the fires and heat up the kitchen and foment dissent, not to present factual reasonable analysis.

        Distortions, out of context selective quotes have taken the place of factual analysis, so why bother to post any here?  there are plenty of other sites that dont' resemble Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck at a Mad Hatters Tea Party. People dont' want to be persuaded, they want to be incited to revolution and flame wars.

        •   you know what was nice though? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soccergrandmom

          The poll added to another Diary pointing out that Huffington's headline on this non story is a bald faced lie, showed Democrats who visit this site  overwherlmingly think she's an attention whore followed by voters who thought she was a yellow journalist. It's very good to see the majority of Democrats who post here respect facts and not rabblerousers just looking for a reason to attack President Obama.

          •  I personally have been raising red flags about (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nina, Patricia Bruner, gwh

            Arianna Huffington for many months now. She is an attention grabber and will swing whichever way gets her the most facetime on the telly. She has lost all credibility as far as i am concerned and have seen gradually that many posters here have come to the same conclusion.

            In a way it parallels the attention drawn to FDL by their shenanigans and switcheroos and blatant animosity to Emanuel and the President. When I first started paying attention to poltical blogs back in the Kerry campaign FDL was one of my favorite sites as was HuffPost.  Since the election of President Obama they both have turned totally non-credible as far as I am concerned and I just dont bother now.

  •  You seem to trivialize the entire issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon

    Which is absurd.

    We should and must tell private companies what to do if we're to work our way out of the current wage gap situation.

    Those who agree, or wonder what I'm talking about, see this diary:
    An American Defeat:  The 100 Day War Against the Plutocrats
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    In part:

    The Wealth Gap: Unlike the Economic Flaw, which is built in to foundation of our economy, the Wealth Gap is determined by the political ideology of the Right or the Left, when it gains the power to enact economic laws. The Wealth Gap is a reliable predictor of massive economic cycles that trigger collapse.

    We're in a world of hurt with the uber-rich (including the people that this diarist doesn't think should have any limits on their pay) driving this country into the ash bin of history.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:09:49 PM PST

    •  well he did say he found the wage gap surprising (0+ / 0-)

      even for baseball players.

      But that's a separate issue that really creates a re-working of the capitalist system.  I know that's what people want is constraints but what constraints isn't clear.  Do you put a cap, do you tax, do you make it as a percent of worker income, is it even right for govt to do this?  

      Until these questions are worked out I can see how him to reasonably comment on them and says he begrudges them.  There's no plan to begrudge (yet if at all).   And I haven't seen plans from other dems either.

      Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

      by bvig on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:18:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  reading tea leaves all day is not helpful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrogInOhio

    I get so tired of this crap. EVERYTHING the man says is not a secret decoder ring signal that a major policy change is coming .

  •  That's selling out main street in favor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida, Johnny Q, absdoggy

    of Wall Street.

    First - they get to defer taxes untill they cash out that stock.  Then they only pay capital gains.

    Second, it doesn't encourage long term performance at all.  It encourages them to lay off workers and sell inventory for one quarter so that their stock will sky-rocket.

    Have you ever had a job in private sector?  Those of us who've worked for corporations have seen that cycle over and over.

  •  A faux populist (0+ / 0-)
    So much for his populism.  This just reveals what a total exercise in phoniness that was, and how out of touch Obama is.

    "Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money." Michael Steele.

    by Paleo on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:40:08 PM PST

    •  You mean, a faux socialist. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, gwh

      After all, he neither pretended to populism or socialism, so why not bash him for betraying both stab in the back he campaigned on being a socialistpopulist where's my change this isn't hope I believe in?

      Let's all pretend to be shocked, shocked to discover that Obama thinks capitalism works most of the time and demand that he begrudge people wealth and success.  Just to make sure the teabaggers are right about him.

      Subsidies without cost controls, regulatory reform means that citizens get a little more awful insurance at a huge cost to taxpayers. Like Part D but worse.

      by Inland on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 01:45:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Oh. My. God." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, ProgressiveMan

    Says it all.  I agree with Krugman.  I felt uneasy when Obama mentioned this subject during the State of the Union address.  He truly does not seem to get it.  And I like Obama.  I think he is doing a good job, considering everything.  But his pro-wall street bonus attitude is not good.  Nevertheless, it  it is perfectly in line with his hiring Larry Summers which left me equally baffled.

    I am with Elizabeth Warren, on all things watchdog, and I think Obama would be wise to listen to her.

    Dump Summers, at least.

  •  Obama is just a victim of general grouchiness (2+ / 0-)

    Obama keeps plugging away, doing sensible things, swallowing hard and continuing Dubya administration policies when that's the only realistic option, and drawing heat from Daily Kos people because he's not Dennis Kucinich (even though folks here never took Kucinich seriously enough even to be polite about him) and drawing heat from the Republicans because he exists.

    I can believe that Krugman is right about many points and that Obama is wrong, but I suspect that Obama just about always knows and understands Krugman's arguments, and that sometimes he just plain disagrees with Krugman, and that sometimes he feels he has to do what he can do rather than what he would like to do.

    I think that Krugman is doing important, necessary work by making the arguments he's making. There is no way the country can come up with sensible economic policies without consider his arguments -- or, to be fair, Volcker's, or the economists at the University of Chicago.

    But I wish that Krugman and more people here could disagree with Obama without coming off as if they're completely turning their back on him because he's the president he can be rather than the president he wishes he could be. He has certainly made and will make mistakes, and unpleasant compromises, but he is also an intelligent, well-meaning man with a good heart and an open mind, and he is up against real forces of evil.

    I think it's important for people to analyze and criticize his policies, and even to primary him, if they think they need to primary him. But I wish the critics anywhere on the moderately progressive to moderate right position on the political spectrum could acknowledge that he's in a tough position, and that, whenever there's a clear-cut battle between Obama and the No No No Republicans, we're with Obama.

    Otherwise, with allies like us, who needs enemies.

  •  Stock Bonuses are not Fine (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, blueoasis, jkshaw, ProgressiveMan

    This is another lie from the CEO/CFO and Wall Street crowd.  As an auditor of many years, here is what I have found to be good corporate governance:

    For any public company, there are owners (shareholders), a Board of Directors  and there is management of the company. With the exception of the CEO/CFO and perhaps COO on the board of directors (none of whom should be the chairman, and all of whom should be non-voting), these three groups of people should be completely separate from one another.

    The owners provide the capital and get a market rate of return on that capital.

    he Board sets the vision, strategy and goals for the company, with the input of Management - for this, they should receive a cash director's fee and reasonable expense allowance. Giving the board stock promotes short-term thinking and unrealistic goals.

    Management then carries out the tactical, operational and administrative tasks necessary for the company to follow the strategic vision and achieve its goals. For this, they receive a wage(salary) and an annual cash bonus of no more than 25% of that wage.  Again, giving Management stock does nothing but promote short-term actions, unsustainable earnings or sand-bagged goals that fail to take advantage of the true potential in the marketplace. Giving management bonuses in excess of 25% of their wage also creates an unhealthy incentive to falsify the books, neglect the company's long-term assets or understate its liabilities.

    Workers ideally would be in a union to protect their interests - to receive wages that provide income which will maintain their standard of living and provide a reasonable living wage at all levels of full-time employment, to provide opportunity for advancement, and to provide benefits for health care, retirement and paid time off that provide a good quality of life.

    When any of these are out of synch, if any of these stakeholders are disenfranchised, the company and society as a whole suffer.

    Unfortunately, President Obama has not used the bully pulpit nor pushed for legislation that would buttress the Worker and drive corporate behavior towards these ends.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:10:06 PM PST

  •  Please... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, 3goldens, ProgressiveMan

    the problem is is that our U6 unemployment is over 15%, our nation is going bankrupt, and yet we have to sit here and watch these rich ass mother fuckers take in millions?

    We have an obesity epidemic.

    1/8 Americans struggled to eat last year.

    Our climate is changing.

    I'm so tired of hearing this crap about how "ideally" capitalism is supposed to work.

    Look at what deregulating the economy (aka- going towards pure capitalism) has brought. Failure.

    Epic failure. The failure that only comes years down the road when we stop trying to kid ourselves and that this was a depression, worse than a depression. But at least Obama and the gang can give us that lovely smile

    At least our government wasn't in crazy debt and lacking the wherewithal to actually do something about it back in FDR's day.

    Good lord, bringing up professional sport players as an excuse for how much these guys are making? Yeah, that is a great analogy to Main St.

    The top 1% own how much in this country? What is our Gini coefficient? Oh, thats right. Third world levels.

    But its all cool, because, Ideally, under capitalism I can theoretically make that much money one day. I don't think that the government should ever say, "Enough is enough" because that just isn't right.

    What I say isn't right is that we are going down the shitter and we are supposed to support this shit. Fuck that.

    There are no jobs. The federal government itself has said they don't expect to see 2004 level unemployment until 2018!

    That is unacceptable. The world isn't some playground for the rich and famous. It isn't some sand box where people can build the biggest castle they want without any consequences. People are losing their homes, hell, people are dying out there.

    No, I don't support any fucking bonus while people are hungry and shelterless.

    To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

    by FinchJ on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:23:18 PM PST

  •  The reason that government... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, nils o

    ...has to insert itself into the discussions of executive compensation is that our government has not reformed how stockholders exercise control over corporations. Stockholders can not elect members to most boards. Management just overrides what they do. Since Levitt ran the SEC under Clinton there have been proposals to improve corporate democracy. But until that occurs, we need government to pressure firms to get executive wages under control.

    This diary, and sadly, President Obama didn't really show the sophistication to discuss this issue. His comments are a disappointment. Drawing a comparison with CEO's and sports stars is ridiculous. Sports players negotiate salaries directly with the people paying them. Unfortunately, shareholders have no direct voice in CEO pay, and their indirect voice is quite weak.

  •  How can you feel the gov'mnt has no rights (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jkshaw

    to influence executive pay when the gov'mnt owns a majority of the financial interest in that company?

    The bonuses given in stock are simply a way of deferring payoffs until a future time when they won't be so noticeable -- a time when we will be less likely to see that the CEO is being paid for tanking his company and the national economy.

    I worked for FPL, a large Florida electric utility, when it's CEO (Jim Broadhead, now head of Rutgers) was guaranteed a bonus of $35 million if he got a merger approved by the Board and the Stockholders. Well, he did that -- then, personally, killed the merger anyway. He DID get his $35 million, though the merger never happened.

    Get a grip here. NO human being is worth this kind of money. One of the world's richest men (Warren Buffet) said it best, "Something is wrong when I pay less income taxes than my secretary."

    Political Correctness Police: may your puckered, disapproving lips forever cover your donuts.

    by FeloniousMonk on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:42:54 PM PST

  •  We Who Are Addicted to Politics (0+ / 0-)

    think it's vitally important to have our fingers on the pulse of what's happening, sometimes to the extent that we detect a beat even when there isn't one.

    Krugman needs to de-oversensitize on this one.

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Stewart (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 02:50:53 PM PST

  •  Krugman and others (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex

    should read before they preach their outrage....

    MY GOD, some of the Liberal Blogs were ready to crucify President Obama without even knowing all the facts...

    Thank God for the DailyKos Today because they were on the right side of the facts, while Huffington Post and Raw Story were ready and willing to convict President Obama on the spot.....

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Keep it Simple Stupid

      I agree completely. The President was merely pointing out the obvious fact that we shouldn't be so quick to condemn everyone who works in the financial sector. It doesn't do any of us any good to throw cheap shots at Wall Street, particularly at those who have been supportive of the President's agenda. Rather than condemning the President, Krugman should be praising him.

  •  Trying to outmaneuver these guys (0+ / 0-)

    is like betting against Jimmy the Greek.  They're professional angle calculators and they're bound to find a loophole you've missed.

    The theory of stock bonuses is sound, whether we're talking actual stock or options. But as an engineer friend of mine is fond of saying, "In theory theory and practice are the same, but in practice they're different."

    I think actual stock is better than options, because options are more prone to accounting abuses. But even actual stock is vulnerable to price manipulation. You'd have to look at the deal very, very carefully,and the people who have the time and expertise to do that have no incentive.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:36:22 PM PST

  •  "Ballplayers get more, don't win series" (0+ / 0-)

    "That bothers me also".

    I thought that was an Obama line that Krugman missed. The whole Wall Street bonus issue is a bit bogus.  On companies that were lent money by US taxpayer, if they have not paid back with interest, then no bonuses.

    But overall, it's way too far into the weeds for DC to get involved in salaries.

    Key is protecting economy from Wall Street banks, limiting their size and the liabilities they create for the economy and Federal government if they fail.

  •  White House: Clearing Up the Bonuses Issue (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    We wanted to clear up some confusion about where the President stands on bonuses and excessive executive compensation. A 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.

    The President has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the success of Americans, but he also expressed ‘shock’ at the size of bonuses and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street. A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office.

    He also made clear, as he has said many times before, that he believes bonuses should take the form of stock so that the compensation is tied to long term performance. His focus from day one has been on signing into law a comprehensive financial reform package that reins in the abuses on Wall Street, addresses Too Big to Fail,  imposes real oversight and strict accountability on financial companies, prevents predatory lending practices,  ensures that consumers get clear information and imposes a fee on the biggest banks to ensure they pay back every dollar of money owed to the taxpayers.

    "Now is not a time for partisanship, it's a time for citizenship." President Barack Obama (01/07/10)

    by Ladyhawk on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 04:09:25 PM PST

    •  Dyland Ratigan mouth was watering, that is until (0+ / 0-)

      President Obama released the actual transcript of the interview.... and then he had to change course, well not really, but it took the energy out of what he had plan to do for his show.... He and Spitizer were left singer their same old song of generational theft.... A line I believed Sarah Palin repeated this weekend at the TEA KLUX KLAN Party

  •  Turbo Tax Timmy deathwatch ? (0+ / 0-)

    http://baselinescenario.com/...

    But if as rumored sometime back at Huffpo, Jamie Dimon replaces him, I am going to bang my head somehere. Oh wait, I need to get pre-approved by my health insurance company, right?

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