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. robert g parker

    Paulson (ex CEO Goldman sach, 700 million bonus) Bush picks this guy to oversee money going to wall street (congress approves of him) are they all rotten to the core? Where does their sense of decency come in. This is like picking the fox to watch the chickens.

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

    I've heard not one word concerning the 100 plus billion incentive-pork or bribe money, whatever you want to call it, that was added to the original bailout amount of $700 billion. 100 plus billion of our tax money is not peanuts yet it's not been discussed at all since it went out of the Treasury. Where is it? Is it doing the greater public any good or did it just go into the pockets of the people who didn't want to vote for the package but did so after the pot was sweetened?

    January 23, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Jess

    This is part of why I, as any true conservative, was against the bailout in the first place. It makes no sense to reward these banks with millions of dollars after they contributed so much to the recent economic downturn with their crooked and fraudulent business tactics. What makes you think they would use the bailout money any differently than they used the money of their customers? Why do people seem to think that rewarding a criminal for bad behavior will make the criminal want to change?

    Furthermore, why do you liberals always insist on accusing George W. Bush, when there has been a 50%+ Democratic Congress for the past eight years, who has a lot more say-so over the spending of money than the President himself has? You should check out all the billions (yes, BILLIONS) of dollars worth of stupidly spent earmark money over the past year!

    January 23, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Tim E

    If President Obama has proof of his accusations, he should publish those in the interests of transparency and accountability. The American public knows how to deal with these kinds of people IF their identity is known. On the other hand, if President Obama does not have proof of his accusations, perhaps he should not be making them.

    January 23, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Chad, Wisco

    So how long is it going to take some of the people on here to realize that not every issue this country ever had was because of Bush. It isnt his fault the money was given out without transperency, it was Congress responisiblitiy. And for those of you that hold the president to a higher standard than congress, why? They are meant to each have an equal third of our government. Then again we just voted in more Dems to a Dem controlled congress that had a lower approval rating than Bush.

    January 23, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. wally

    This issue was given to President Obama during his campaign. His comment was, "These executives should be fired." I believe he was refering to AIG?

    January 23, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. obama-mama

    mamasboy January 23rd, 2009 12:54 pm ET

    GIVE THE MONEY TO THE PEOPLE IT'S THE ONLY WAY IT WILL WORK. TRICKLE DOWN IS IN THE PAST IT'S TIME TO TRICKLE UP………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    ____________________________________________________
    I wholeheartedly agree.....

    January 23, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Jess

    Wally, why did Obama want to fire them? Oh yeah, so he could appoint them as his chief advisors...

    January 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Matt

    @ johnny the boy

    Actually, it was a bipartisan effort to approve the bailout, so you can stuff your rewrite of history where the sun don't shine.

    January 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Dave

    Well, did you vote in favor of the bailout? Did you read the wording to see that there was not really much oversight over how it could and would be spent? All these politicians that voted in favor of it need to be tossed out the next time they run for re-election.

    January 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. David

    Wake up America. It's not going to get any better. What we have and been having for years is a snowball effect. The leaders in the capital could care less about the American people. The facts speak for themshelf. What happened to the oversite committee we were promised? It was not created because then someone in the captial would have been held responsiable. But with the way it is set up all they have to do is blame the companies. Anybody with an ounce of common sense would have known what would happen. The whole reason we are in the shape we are in now is because of greed. And how does Washington decide to fix the problem? By giving billions to the same greedy people that caused the mess to begin with. Benjamin Franklin had the right idea when he said that every 10 years we need to take everyone out of the captial and replace them with new people. Our goverment is so corrupt now there is no turning back. If anyone out there thinks it is gong to get any better,WAKE UP. You are living in a pipe dream. ll you have to do is look at history. The longest surviving culture was the Roman Empire that lasted 500 years. All cultures fall sooner or later. Ours is well on the way to do the same thing.

    January 23, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Frostlanta

    Wow!!!!! Prez Obama has hit the ground running. No more frivolous spending while holding companies accountable for how they spend. Who does this guy think he is...oh that's right he is President of the United States. Thank God Change is on the way or should I say "change is already here."

    Barack Obama – THE NEXT BEST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Debater

    These companies should not be given a large sum of money to play with. It should work how the IMF works. They should have been given the money, but with a catch. The government should have also sent someone in that would figure the best way to use the money and have the companies use it in that way. The president completely had a right to say what he said and it was well said.

    January 23, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Jay

    I agree with the President. The frivolous spending of taxpayer funds on luxuries is unconscionable. The future of our children is being sacrificed for the avarice of the irresponsible, dishonest, and greedy.

    Nevertheless, the President and Congress should lead by example. The recent inauguration was the most lavish in history at a time when the nation is accumulating unprecedented deficits. Many in Congress are renowned for their frivolous travel, spending, and port barrel projects.

    Let the President and Congress lead the way by acting in a constructive and responsible manner. Quit bailing out the irresponsible, dishonest, and lazy. If anyone doesn’t want to work, neither let them eat! Show compassion to those truly disabled by circumstances beyond their control. Reward the honest and industrious. Enact policies that encourage accountable businesses, responsible families, and up building habits.

    January 23, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Ghost

    Hey, it ain't too late. I say charge them with tax evasion, since they are using the money as if it was their own. Cut the games.

    January 23, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Barack wins and we collectively lose.

    He is right, Government is good at doing one thing well, wasting our money, so why I we continuing this madness?

    January 23, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Dean in Florida

    Chill 'H'...they're supplying jobs.

    January 23, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. elizabeth

    This is an example of entitlement at its ugliest. These arrogant jerks didn't honestly think that we, the taxpayers would expect them to alter their lifestyles one little bit! I hope the President gets tough with them; someone needs too.

    January 23, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Dean in Florida

    Chill 'H'...they're supplying jobs.

    January 23, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Lisa in Shelton

    When Paulsen asked for no strings on the money, it seemed so ludicrous that noone could fall for it. Yet enormous sums of money were distributed to failing corporations still led by the jerks who got them there in the climate of deregulation and absence of audits – what were the congressmen thinking? Being surprised now that the idiots who lost hundreds of billions before, still don't know how to manage money is foolishness. Hope the new Prez throws the bums in jail and seizes their gross overcompensation as the fraudulent misappropriation of funds it is, and then uses their ill-gotten gain to pay back employees and investors and taxpayers.

    January 23, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Proud Democrat.

    We have to make sure the bail out money is not used for anything other than programs that will provide jobs.

    The abortion issue and programs should be kept out of the bail out process.

    Additionally, we should have a more detailed plan as to how the money is being used.

    This is OUR money after all.....not President Obamas, Not Pelosi, Not the Republicans , Not the Democrats.....it's OUR MONEY........AMERICA"s MONEY!

    January 23, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. WATCHER

    President Obama,
    You cannot sit back and allow these greedy idiots to continue to use the American people's money for their own self interests and pleasures. They will continue to do so until you MAKE THEM STOP!! They obviously have NO respect for you or your position as our President. They should all be FIRED immediately and all the money given back to the American people who's money they have so easily spent on themselves and their friends / family. You cannot just say a few harsh words and move on. That won't do anything, mean anything or change anything. We voted you in because we believe in you and your vision for a better America. NOT because you're Black. So Mr. President , what are you going to do? We're waiting for a real response from you regarding this matter. Handle your business Mr. president.

    January 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. barack Obama is still just B.O.

    Go after your dimocratic congress for quickly pushing this bill through with no oversight. What a mess they've made in two short years.
    Pelosi and Reid should be put on trial for crimes against america.

    I'll give Obama a chance since he's never done anything yet, good or bad, but Pelosi and Reid are about the worse leaders in Congress EVER!!!!

    January 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Proud Democrat.

    We have to make sure the bail out money is not used for anything other than programs that will provide jobs.

    The abortion issue and programs should be kept out of the bail out process.

    Additionally, we should have a more detailed plan as to how the money is being used.

    This is OUR money after all.....not President Obamas, Not Pelosi, Not the Republicans , Not the Democrats.....it's OUR MONEY........AMERICA"s MONEY!

    January 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Lisa in Shelton

    When Paulsen asked for no strings on the money, it seemed so ludicrous that noone could fall for it. Yet enormous sums of money were distributed to failing corporations still led by the jerks who got them there in the climate of deregulation and absence of audits – what were the congressmen thinking? Being surprised now that the idiots who lost hundreds of billions before, still don't know how to manage money is foolishness. Hope the new Prez throws the bums in jail and seizes their gross overcompensation as the fraudulent misappropriation of funds it is, and then uses their ill-gotten gain to pay back employees and investors and taxpayers.

    January 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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