January 31st, 2009
11:24 AM ET
7 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. chris ludlow

    in short americano...we're just singin the song taught to us by the liberal left. sorry...but the same rules apply. just like before.

    January 31, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. IndependentfromTexas.

    Greed is a result of Rethuglians's policies and agenda now abetted by thugs like Rush. When did Rush become an economist? He couldn't graduate from a decent school with a decent degree but is lecturing the world. Rush Shambaugh should be his name.

    January 31, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Larry

    Government involvement by the Democrats created this nightmare,Bush allowed it to happen,none of these politicians have a clue what they are doing,yet they continue to screw-up the world economy,they need to get out of the way , and let business tell them what needs to be done ,then we will on our way back to recovery.

    Our country "had "done just fine for the last 200 years with capitalistic system.

    January 31, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Billy in KS

    What the difference does it make what he says? You can' t believe any of it anyway.

    January 31, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. mjm

    The tax on these bonuses comes to around $6 billion.

    $6 billion paid to the government. That's good. Not bad.

    Obama is getting ready to spend $800 billion. Only $50 billion on infrastructure and job creation. That's bad...and stupid.

    The way he talks, you'd almost think Obama has no experience running a government... But hey, at least we have change and hope.

    January 31, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. chris ludlow

    so what's next? a 'tax nanny' for Geithner?

    January 31, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Albo58

    If this president could just get his cabinet picks to pay their taxes, then that would be a step in the right direction! Of course when you are a lobbist, then keeping up with payments/bonuses can be daunting!!!

    January 31, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Slider

    Obama, you watch your staff. You've already got a couple of cheats on there already.

    CEOs are held accountable to their boards.

    You are held accountable to the voters. While some of them are enthralled with you as of now, there is beginning to be a feeling amongst those that voted for you that they are being had.

    Stick with your team, sir.

    January 31, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Bob

    Great plan – create a war against the rich and successful. Who do you think pumps money into the economy? Creates jobs? Invests in this country? It sure isn't the out of work lazy minority with his hands out looking at BHO for free money. Hey democrats, who is more foolish – the fool or the fool who follows?

    January 31, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    I have an idea, why don't we tell everyone they shouldn't have profits or jobs for that matter, and that all business should not do business in this country. We only need government anyway, don't we?

    January 31, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    I have an idea, why don't we tell everyone they shouldn't have profits or jobs for that matter, and that all business should not do business in this country.

    We only need government anyway, don't we?

    January 31, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Karla

    How about recinding the recent pay raises that Congress voted for themselves? I would imagine that the average Congress person can get by on the salry of 165,00.00 per year and I am sure that speaker Pelosi cann make it on the 212,000.00 she makes per year. Let them keep the $10,000.00 a year car allowance and other perks asw I would not want them to have to give up too very much

    Then if they all pay their taxes we can use that money to start paying off the huge debt we will owe once we borrow all of this money to not only create jobs but help folks stop smoking and an array of other programs. My question is where on earth do folk get the money for cigarettes/that would have been one of the 1st things to go.

    January 31, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. libs be dopes

    As usual, House, Senate and Cabinet members will be exempt from any investigations.

    and paying taxes

    January 31, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. heartlight3

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that the bonuses are a deductible business expense and thus lower the taxable profit of the business. It's one of the things the big corporations use to avoid paying corporate taxes. So not only are they taking the taxpayers' money and giving it to the CEO's, they are not paying corporate taxes to replenish the treasury.

    January 31, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    That is leadership people have been waiting to see!

    January 31, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. T. Mckinley

    Are there any conservatives out there who want to write a post claiming that limiting CEO compensation is "communism"?

    Go ahead right-wingers, I dare you!

    January 31, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Chief Embezzlement Officer

    I hate to say this, but when the extreme right revives its influence and retakes the White House, these CEOs will be back. Even if they were publicly identified with photographs, the next conservative administration will rehabilitate their reputations and install them as top cabinet members. We saw this happen with some interesting characters in the last administration.

    The abuses of these "talented" inviduals are rampant, but they keep coming back repackaged as economic wizards. CEOs who have taken huge loans from their companies and failed to repay them are rewarded with the highest financial positions in the land, and when they have done their damage, they return to the private sector as lobbyists for their special insterest so they can loot the entire tax base. I'm thinking of a specific person now; this is not made up.

    As this recession unfolds and average, hard-working people lose everything they have, let us not forget that it began before the current administration. Let us remember that it was not the Congress elected in 2006 that caused the current mortgage meltdown, but that it was elected after it had already begun. While both parties are responsible, let us not forget that it was the Reaganomic philosophy, adopted by three or four successive administrations that got us into this mess.

    Trickle down is more like tinkle down. How does it feel to be tinkled on? That is precisely what has happened to us. Those who have said that the CEOs took bonuses by making employees might tight production deadlines and then laying them off are right on. It has been said that we need to pay competitive salaries so we can hire top talent for these CEO positions. What about the talented folks who design and produce? Without them, these CEOs would have nothing.

    Those bonuses belong to all workers, not just to a few elitist who believe they are God's gift to the world. Bonuses in the pockets of the average worker will stimulate the economy just as much as it does in the CEO's pocket, who is very likely to put that money into a shell to avoid taxes. Let them live according to their means for a change.

    January 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Justice

    Call their bluff. Let those big executives of these companies quit their job just because they can't get a million dollar bonus. With the job market in the down fall it's in now, let them go out and look for a job like all the one's their stealing jobs from. These big ex' are the real losers. They are the wimps.

    January 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    No one on Wall Street deserves more than $1 million a year, if that. There are thousands of people who are smarter and harder working than they are, but those people weren't in the right place at the right time to network their way into a job that lots of other people can do.

    I can't believe shareholders (the sheep) stand for this BS.

    January 31, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Ken

    I believe that every American citizen has the right to know where EVERY penny goes and those that are receiving bailout money should account for every penny and know exactly where it all goes.

    Plus, there SHOULD NOT be any bonuses paid out from those companies receiving bailout money!

    What has been going on with the lack of accountability for the funds used in this bailout, is but a sham.

    The same thing happened with the funds that went to the war in Iraq, We lost billions of dollars that no one could account for! This is just plain stupid and those that are handling the funds should be fired and charged for embezzlement, and sent to jail.

    January 31, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Simmy

    Americano,

    Take your message to Wall Street. They really need your advice. Did someone appoint you Blog Police?

    January 31, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Sabrina

    Postor child & Gary in OK – I agree with you both. I want to know who got what and what they look like. They need to be seen in full view of everyone and they need to be held accountable. I'd like to see those CEO's return their bonus money. How disgusting.

    January 31, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Eydie

    I loved what President Obama said about wall street. It is irresponsible and shameless. I only wish that he could have had a few explicatives. I bet his is to wholesome to do that

    January 31, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Desmond Sequeira

    So what about getting these billions of squandered tax payer money BACK – Billions for heaven's sake!

    January 31, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Janet - Missouri

    While we're at it let's stop paying the salaries of U.S. Senators and U. S. Representatives who have left office. I think it's deplorable that they are paid for life after leaving office. I know of no other job where once you leave it, you continue to draw your salary.

    January 31, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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