January 31st, 2009
11:24 AM ET
8 months ago

Obama pledges strict oversight of CEOs

Obama's radio address this week again focused on this economy.
Obama's radio address this week again focused on this economy.

(CNN) - President Obama said Saturday his aides are crafting a new plan to revive the country's financial system - and to make sure CEOs don't misuse bailout funds.

"We'll ensure that CEOs are not draining funds that should be advancing our recovery," Obama said, in his weekly radio/YouTube address airing Saturday morning. "And we will insist on unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight and clear accountability, so taxpayers know how their money is being spent and whether it is achieving results."

News that corporate executives had handed out $20 billion in bonuses last year spurred tough words from Obama this week. The president blasted those bonuses as "the height of irresponsibility," and seemed to say there could be consequences for those decisions.

"While I'm committed to doing what it takes to maintain the flow of credit, the American people will not excuse or tolerate such arrogance and greed," President Obama told listeners Saturday morning. "The road to recovery demands that we all act responsibly, from Main Street to Washington to Wall Street."

He also said that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is preparing a strategy to lower mortgage costs and increase the flow of credit.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. A. Darton

    Now I see why this country is in the big mess it is in, with CEOs like these, Bush Administration, and the Republicans. President Obama has been lefted a mess to try to straighten out, a BIG mess. But these CEOs shouldn't get another dime until they agree not to pay out these big bonuses. Since we all have to sacrifice, shouldn't that include these greedy CEOs?

    January 31, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. WIlly Brown

    Liberalism is a desease

    January 31, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. rhoward

    I get so sick of hearing that if these companies didn't pay these big bonuses, the CEOs would leave. With the economy in its current state, exactly where would they go? Nowhere, because their sorry selves are lucky to have a job after the great job they did getting themselves in the mess they're in.

    No matter what so-called safeguards are put in place in reference to CEO pay, you can bet these scumbags will find a loophole and exploit it to the nth degree. Taxpayers will still be soaked for the big bucks these losers think they deserve.

    January 31, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Well the first part of the bailout program did not contain ANY oversight or accountability. This was done during the BUSHCO era. Now we find out about huge bonuses, hoarding of funds instead of what this program was designed for. And the Wall Str fatcats are grumbling that there might be a cap on salaries, or worse yet..NO bonuses.

    Hearing Rudy Giulani defend those bonuses was unbelievable. What is he thinking? Joe & Jane Lunchbox are facing the loss of jobs, credit, housing, and are struggling with out a bonus. I really don't think anyone will quit a job with such great pay over not getting a bonus.

    It is said that the bounses are PART of their pay. If I got a bonus it was because the company did very well and it was a reward for good, hard work and not part of the base wage. To be rewarded for destroying the company you work for is insane . Get real!!!

    January 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. lr

    those bailout money used for bonuses are outrage. Bonus is in times of prosperity, when things go well. If someone begs for bailout it means the company is not doing well. The greed is disgusting. I bet those people have nice salaries, they will die from hunger if they tighten their belts. We, who payed for the bailout ( our tax money, we who do struggle) cannot tighten our belts much more. How those greedy people
    can sleep after this?
    Thank you Mr. President for being this good, this fair.

    January 31, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Dumas McGee

    just no oversight of his own cabinet

    January 31, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Ray Fisher

    I'm afraid the "Instant Gratification" in usall have gotten us focused upon the stimulus plans and bailouts while we should also be looking at the legislation, rules, regulations, etc... which caused our economic meltdown, have they been rectified such as oursourcing our jobs, Lax SEC regulations, regegulating our banks, etc... all the factors which contributed to our ruined economy probably continue to exist thus any stimuli or bailouts are a moot point.

    January 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. paul

    He still does not get it! The American people are tired of bailing out people that have made bad decisions. The time has come to let people be accountable and suffer when they made bad decisions. I work and pay my bills, when I made a bad move I pay for it. The time has come to let people earn their way and not have their hand out to the government to take care of them.

    January 31, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Mike - Houston

    Be careful when a government who is supposed to representa people begins to ridicule, demonize and blame the very people who elected them. One may agree with the government blame game as long as their not on the receiving end, but eventually all people become the cause of the problem in governments eyes.

    January 31, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Suzi

    Thank God!

    January 31, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. yuri

    It is easier said than done. GOP ultra conservatives and other non-political hardliners will cry foul. Particularly, those who behave vociferously in the radio or TV, will balk and bark at Obama's plan of action against the fat cat CEOs. Who knows? It may, quite well, be a tussle. For pete's sake, do not forget those who profess themselves to be economic experts such as the ones from conservative talk show.

    Well, battle lines have already been drawn and a blood bath is inevitable.

    January 31, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Becky

    Irresponsible? Those bonuses for Wall Street employess are earned. That is what they work for. You want to talk about irresponsible. How about Congress giving themselves a raise? How about all the money spent on the inaugeration?

    January 31, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. xcusme

    After what some CEO's have done they should not receive another bailout. No one is bailing me out. Let them go under. Congress should have put limits on the previous bailout. Citigroup, AIG and the rest that abused the funds should not get another red cent.

    January 31, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. david

    how was obama responsible in spending 170 million, or more, on his inauguration? it was donated money but a less costly inauguration should have been the order of the day with surplus money going to food banks, shelters, for the many hard hit americans, including children, by the worst economy since the Great Depression. how is obama responsible in naming a former lobbyist and tax evader to secretary of the treasury and selecting daschle for his cabinet, a man who evaded paying his taxes. who is calling who, irresponsible?

    January 31, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Meka

    GREAT, President Obama. Executives, are SO OUT OF TOUCH!

    The ABUSE, that they have demonostrated over the years . . . and now–they STILL IGNORE THEIR RESPONSIBILITY!

    THEY NEED TO BE PUT IN THE UN-EMPLOYMENT LINE!

    January 31, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. cnnnewser

    Lack of oversight has hurt us terribly and gotten us into this mess.
    I have confidence in our President to do the job right.

    January 31, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. cnnnewser

    Bush and his cronies dropped the ball – they allowed everything to turn into a free for all with no oversight at all.
    They really screwed our country up.

    January 31, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Scott L

    Whatever. He keeps appointing tax frauds and has taken the pacifist road with Iran.

    Obama is now irrelevant on the world stage. He has zero experience and has shown his fundamental lacking of capabilities. I'm not saying McCain would have done better, but at least Iran wouldn't be thumping their chests now and telling America to bow down before them.

    January 31, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. tiff of Lithia Springs

    They all need to be in timeout.

    January 31, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    This is what a real President does! Act!!! I hated when for the past eight years, we had one that kept telling everyone, "there's nothing he can do".

    January 31, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. aware

    Obama is an expert on arrogance and greed! :)

    January 31, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Don in Albuquerque

    Not one more dime for Wall Street or Banks! Let em fall!

    January 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Jason

    Enough talk from all of these politicians. I want action. This economy is tanking like a rocket and these people are continuing to let wall street runaway with all of the money. I want to see some caps placed on wall street pay. I am with Claire McCaskill.

    January 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Joe

    Mr Obama is trying to regulate CEO's when he can't even vet his cabinet picks properly. [Geithner and Daschle] The moral and ethical approach promised by Mr. Obama is another broken promise by the new regime. Just a pure case of do as I say and not as I do. If you expect the CEO's to be held at a higher standard so should the president, Senate and Congress. Like you said the American people will not tolerate or excuse arrogance or greed by the CEO's or by the government.

    January 31, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. southerncousin

    There is a sure way to make sure our best and brightest don't undertake these jobs. I guess he is planning on giving them to Chicago political hacks.

    January 31, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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