January 23rd, 2009
11:25 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama slams companies for squandering bailout funds

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/23/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending while receiving taxpayer dollars from the $700 billion federal bailout package.

Watch: Obama on the economy

During a White House meeting with the joint congressional leadership, the president said he had seen reports "over the last couple of days about companies (receiving) taxpayer assistance (and) then going out and renovating bathrooms or offices or in other ways not managing those dollars appropriately."

Moving forward, the president said, it would be necessary to pass reforms ensuring the kind of "oversight, transparency, accountability that's going to be required in order for the American people to confidence in what we're doing."

Related video: 'We have to do this right,' GOP leader says


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. barack Obama is still just B.O.

    Didn't Obama and Pelosi and Reid all push for the bailout plan and vote for it?
    Or did Obama just vote present on that one too?

    Easy to sit back and blame it on Bush when they were just as much, if not more to blame.

    January 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. BW

    I did not vote for Obama because I did not agree with his liberal platform. But I will tell you this, if he can clean up some of this crap in congress (Democrats & Republicans alike), he will get my vote next time around. I don't care if you're black/white/male/female/etc. Though most Bush-bashers disagree, you can't put all the blame on one man...or one party. We have economic problems, a war I don't like but still think was necessary (please, I know...those who disagree need not comment). I think the main problem is that it's a mess in Washington D.C.! Turn that around, and the country (I believe) will turn around. Most people I speak with from both sides are having a hard time trusting ANY of them in politics!

    January 23, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Chris

    Congress approved the release of TARP funds, but it was given to the Bush Administration to distribute. Congress once again failed to realize Bush was in with the corporations, and as usual, his faith in a free market economy was returned with this selfish wastage. The perfect icing to the feces cake that was the Bush Administration.

    January 23, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. hello

    the bailout was a BIG blow out, it's time to think of the people, after all the people are what makes up America, not over spending selfish companies.

    January 23, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. Dictatorship

    A step toward government-control, or dictatorship?

    January 23, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Adam

    Why is anyone surprised by this. The bailout by definition was going to failing companies who've proved that their leadership was not able to lead. Of course they're not going to spend it appropriately.

    This is why I and many others were opposed to the bailout in the first place. By propping up these failing giants in the short term, I fear that we've endangered ourselves for the long term.

    It wouldn't have been pretty to watch them fall, but from the ashes, the strong companies who've spent their money wisely would survive. This is the very nature of capitalism; to reward those who are prudent and hard working.

    January 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. dave

    This, along with so many other issues, points out to me that we need term limits in ALL branches of government. We feel it works for the Presidency, will someone explain why it might not help in the Legislative Branch? That, strong limits on 'earmarking', and lobbying, coul dalleviate a lot of this pain. Make it a bit of a sacrifice to serve, (like it was intended to be), and not a cushy, life long position.

    January 23, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. a true american

    be patient, people, change is coming to america. it looks like some people who comment in here, don't even watch the news and don't make any research.

    January 23, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. al in memphis

    Bottom line is that the bailout was used by the banks to pay off their debts to foreign investors. It a sad day when the public has to payoff bank debts and we are powerless to do anything about it.

    January 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Kirsten

    Martha, we don't have to "settle" for anything with the Treasury Secretary. We elected a guy who said he stand for change and transparent politics. In our day and age, we shoul be able to have a Treasury Secretary that knows how to pay his taxes and isn't fradulent in paying them.

    Any other person would immeditely have to pay his taxes and would be disqualified from any type of Treasury job. Why should Obama's man be any different? He isn't qualified to handle the nation's money if he can't handle his own. And furthermore, if he can't handle his own money, why should he be allowed to handle ours?

    As a country, we deserve someone who isn't going to fool us. He doesn't ave to be "perfect", but at the very least he should be able to trustworthy wih money.

    January 23, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Greed is not good

    He needs to be more aggressive...launch investigations, consider criminal/civil charges against executives and such. Obama has been consistent though in his criticism of how the money has been spent.

    January 23, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Soccer Nana

    @ Robin Robb,

    Did you inquire as to why the Bushes needed 100K to redecorate while they lived there? They were given the funds as well.

    Get a life and get over yourself, as you are not the only person working and paying taxes.

    And for your information, the Obamas, as well as previous FIRST FAMILIES purchase their own foods with their OWN monies.

    January 23, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. richard

    "President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending." That makes me laugh when the Democrats are bankrupting America. The frivolous spending by companies does more to stimulate our economy than any of Obama plans. Giving money to the “Arts” or giving money to other countries to fund abortions in no way stimulates the US economy.

    January 23, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. debbie

    Tell me I'm not dreaming. Do we really have a President who is holding people (including himself) accountable for their actions? Maybe bailout round 2 will work. Let's give it a chance.

    January 23, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. NEL E BELL

    SQUANDERING PUBLIC MONEY, NO HUMMM, HOW ABOUT THIS POINT OF VIEW. NO ONE IS GOING TO JAIL, WHY, BECAUSE THE LAWS WERE CHANGED UNDER GWB. THEREFORE, NO ONE REALLY BROKE ANY LAWS ISN'T THAT WHAT GOT US IN THIS HOLE. CHANGE THE LAWS TO REFLECT ACCOUNTABLITY AND RESPONSIBLE ETHICS THEN GET BOOTS ON THE GROUND TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT ACCOUNTABLITY IS REENFORCED DON'T JUST TALK PRESIDENT BARACK, YOU DID THAT ENOUGH DURING THE ELECTION. ITS TIME FOR A-C-T-I-O-N! TWO YEARS FROM NOW ALL THE GOOD FEELINGS WILL BE SOURED AND YOU WON'T GET IT BACK, REMEMBER WE WENT OUT ON A WING AND A PRAY FOR YOU. I WILL BE WATCHING AND IN FOUR YEARS WE HAD BETTER BE ON A BETTER TRACK THAN NOW.

    January 23, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. SteveL

    Kind of hypocritical since they just spent 170 million on the inauguration party...........we need a leader, not a talker.

    January 23, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    To Michael

    It's the ELEPHANTS' faults. These congressmen PRESSED for no oversight!!!

    January 23, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Julie

    Sure, strong words, it'll be interesting to see the "action" by Obama.

    January 23, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Liberals Hate Themselves

    Someone tied the knot behind Pelosi's ears too tight this morning – her fake, fangy, smile is wider than Mik Jagger's. Its so obvious that even old doddering fool Reid seems to notice it. Now what was this story about?

    January 23, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Perhaps we need to go back to the public stockade. Place these CEO's in stockades for a week on the National Mall as partial punishment.

    I'd personally like to see Thain hung naked by his testicles for his stunt. And Madoff could be hanging right next to him. These two are prime examples of White Collar Crime that has run rampant in our society. They have no conscience and therefore we should have none when it comes to meteing out punishment.

    January 23, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. AndyL

    Obama-mama

    the man has only been in office a week and has done more than retarded bush….Isn't that interesting

    What has he done in the past three days, appoint a crook who does not pay taxes, release terrorist.

    January 23, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. EVERYMAN

    That's what happens when you put the fox in charge of the henhouse!

    January 23, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Jean-Pierre

    The problem with this CNN's comments environment is that anyone–even people from the remote villages in all parts of the world who do not understand the American reality can post their comments here.

    Let's be a little patient with the new administration. Change has come to America. That is factual (Ref. recent exceutive orders, nominations/appointments at the State Department, and much more).

    President Obama and his administration are committed to living up to the American people–and the world's expectations. Of course, not being God, we can anticipation that not everything candidate Barack Obama promised will be done (he is not a lone star). But we have got to make a difference between not wanting and wanting but having to deal with various opposing views/constituencies.

    The dialectic of power–or leadership is much more complex than we can imagine. The president wants to be bi-partisan and that will require some kind of giving and taking. He will need to compromise with die-hard Republicans, even with some members of his own party. But in essence, he is honest in his vision, in his promises and intentions.

    Have a blessed day and weekend!

    J-P

    January 23, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    To Michael

    It's the ELEPHANTS' faults. These congressmen PRESSED for no oversight!!!

    To Greed Is Not Good

    In Asia, they sentenced you to death!

    January 23, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Charlie

    The companies being bailed out should spend their money more respectfully. They should spend only what they need to get by, then they can focus on luxuries once they restore their finances back to where they used to be. They should spend their funds on keeping people employed and not letting the economy fall any further than it has.

    January 23, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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