January 31st, 2009
11:24 AM ET
4 years 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. Anne

    Let's discuss the fact that some of these people have indeed earned their high salaries for the company and their stockholders. If it wasn't for the problems of people borrowing etc., and the act of "buying" almost disappearing, these people would not be asking for bailouts or loans. No one can be in a postion to sell if the money isn't out there and those problems are the ones not being addressed. The car companies are in trouble because no one can get the loans needed to purchase. Other companies are in trouble not because of their own actions but because of actions by others not under their control. The fatc that Obama and others were involved in tossing away the first TARP money so freely with absolutely NO control over it, now they want to punish the ones that still need help and make them jump through hoops that the others didn't??? People better address the right problems here or it will be another 800billion down the drain with no results just like the 350billion already wasted.

    January 31, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Obama 2.0

    It is about time. Being rich is one thing, even being filthy rich is one thing, but staling from the american people while you screw the pooch/system is unacceptable and these guys should pay it back.

    January 31, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Sarta

    get the names of these CEOs, publish those names, make sure either they pay the money back or pay the appropriate taxes on that money.
    these are the crooks. So we need to make sure that they go to the jail

    January 31, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Greg Hodges

    To me the insane amount being paid to C.E.O.`s over the last 30 years represent some kind of economic "Mad Cow Disease." The idea that some shmuck sitting in their nivory tower making far more than all a companies employees put together is the height of greed and stupidity. And then to be paid millions when they are proven to be incompetant is just mind boggling. It is capitalism at it`s worst. A tiny minority at the very top get stinking rich; while the majority live off of the "Trickle Down" leftovers. And you wonder why the U.S. is in such a state of economic termoil. Terminal greed and stupidity!!!

    January 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. FreeNLovIt

    The way to move this country forward, is to employ the HONEST, GENEROUS, INNOVATIVE and hard-working Americans, back into politics, back into upper management positions. So many times, these individuals are thrown out of companies. In fact, Ross Perot used to be one of them. He gave IBM a concept, they laughed at him and he started his own company. God, Guts and Guns.

    January 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Obama is such a pompous and arrogant scold. He can't micromanage private businesses with his "oversight" and other feel-good happy-talk, even if they are given public money which they don't deserve. The solution is to let housing prices fall to market-set levels and let failing banks fail.

    January 31, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Ryan - Detroit, MI

    Shouldn't our government have put in oversight on the first bailout? What a bunch of idiots. Or maybe we should try some trickle up economics and see what happens. It's obvious the people in power of these companies have little concern for their employees or customers.

    January 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Angie-OH

    I'm glad he is stepping up and doing something about the ceo's. Any ceo's company/bank (whatever) received bailout funds, shouldn't receive or deserve even a paycheck. They and people like stupid rudy g. are greedy pigs. Again it just shows they don't get it.

    January 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. tim

    He can limit their pay, and then just allow them to abscond on their taxes, then everyone will be happy.

    January 31, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. The Truth


    Funny how all you democrats want these "play nice" rules now. Where were they for the last 8 years?

    January 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Debby

    So let me get this straight, Obama wants to crack down on CEO's giving out bonus's to employees who have worked hard all year to get them. Sounds like a round about way of government taking over payroll. Maybe Obama should put his own money where his mouth is after spending millions on his inauguration bash.

    January 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    I want to know where I can get a job that I suck at that pays me millions or billions in bonuses!

    January 31, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Minnesotan

    Ooh! The Republicans are going to hate this one! They're so in bed with corporations and CEO's that they think these guys actually deserve bonuses worth millions of dollars while the companies are losing money and laying off workers. The GOP is so out of touch with reality that it's a blessing that we have Obama in the White House to shut down their corruption.

    January 31, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Dawn

    I agree with President Obama's plan, but it's a day late and a dollar short. What happened to the first 350 Billion dollars. It paid to remodel an office, paying bonuses, luxuary jet, well they did not take that. My advice is that since it is our tax money that paid for the first bail-out, do you think we could take one of their many luxuary corperate jets and go to, well the Super Bowl, a Hawaiian vacation.

    THINK ABOUT THAT ONE, nice huh!

    January 31, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Melissa from New Orleans

    Good. This should have happened a long time ago.

    January 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Mike


    Those Bush "tax cuts for the rich" INCREASED government's take by $900M ($1 trillion to $1.9 trillion). The problem was that spending tripled – too many handouts to those who believe they are entitled to things or want the government to take care of them. Still complaining about tax cuts for the rich? Increasing taxes on the most productive members of society will drive those revenues down and increase deficits. It always has in the past. Then again, I'm sure those folks in Minnesota really NEED that $3M snow-making machine that Nancy Pelosi and her dem pals put in their legislation.

    January 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. greg

    i know .. lets all put our earnings into a big pile , like tip sharing.. and then lets divy it all up equally,,, stop blaming people who make more $$$$$ than you do,,, wall street had nothing to do with this.. why not blame sports stars and movie stars that make millions ,,there is not one of you here that would turn down a 10 million $ bonus,, stop being hypocrites,, but since god said it , it has to be true,, also.. cant wait to see his magic wand next week , make another promise.

    January 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Steve, New York City

    Mr. President:
    Not everyone on Wall St works in mortgages, or was responsible for the current mess. Not everyone that has flown in a corporate jet is an evil money-grubber!

    January 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. 2010

    Yes, those corporate CEOs need to be held accountable with those salaries and bonuses. Some of those companies were wanting a bailout from taxpayers when they handed out $20 billion in bonuses to themselves and others. Give us a break.

    January 31, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. shoegazer

    Is that sound I hear the toilet flushing or the country going down the drain?

    January 31, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. greg

    btw.. it stated that corporate executives had handed out $20 billion in bonuses .. now how many ceo's , do u think work here in america... 1 2 maybe 3... get real ,, they handed those bonuses to other working americans,,, not 4 people ,

    January 31, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. chris ludlow

    Will posters please refrain from the following:

    * Openly rooting against your President who is trying to work in a very, very difficult time. If you think life on Main St is tough, you can't fathom one day in the Oval Office. There's a difference between free speech and right to dissent, and then hoping the President fails because he is not of your party.


    Answer Americano. Sorry...but no. you see...the problem is that those of us who dispise the president and his policies still have the taste of 8 solid years of total disrespect for bush still in our mouths. you two faced brown nosed posters can all take a hike. otherwise...i agree with your post.

    January 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Dumas McGee

    hmm...just no oversight of his own cabinet

    January 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. greg

    allen why pray to god when you have obama

    January 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Angie in Pa

    Like Nancy Pelosi once said THE PARTY IS OVER!

    January 31, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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