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Do you agree with President Barack Obama calling the $18.4 billion in Wall Street bonuses last year “shameful?”

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 31, 2009

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Photo of John Panknin

“Bonuses provide a lot of incentives for CEOs to run their companies correctly. It’s supposed to provide a trickle-down effect. That didn’t really work out too well. If you’re talking about top executives, they are paid ridiculous amounts of money.”

Photo of Ryan McDowell

“Absolutely, I don’t think this is a time for excess. I think everybody from top down needs to take a more conservative approach.”

Photo of Francis Thoennes

“If it was at a tough time, it’s pretty selfish. Everybody needs to hunker down — rich and poor people.”

Photo of Elise Gingerich

“I think they should share it with everybody.”

Comments

JHOK32 5 years, 2 months ago

Godot: You're worried that Obama will spend Trillions? Bush spent 1 Trillion on a war nobody wanted, except of course Exxon-Mobil, who gladly made the highest recorded U.S. profits in the history of our nation (Bush's fatcat big oil buddies). 2. After Bush allowed the big banks & wall street CEO's to financially rape our country, he then gets on TV with big crocodile tears & pleads to the American people that we have to give these same CEO's $Billions more of our money.....which he did, to the tune of $700 Billion more dollars. The difference between Obama & Bush is that ALL of Bush's money went to the people who least needed it.......the wealthiest 10%. If Obama is going to send the next round of money to the middle & lower class citizens, the people who need it the most, the people who have lost their jobs, houses, & health insurance, then let the cash registers ring! The fatcat CEO's have already made their money, now it's our turn!

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

Barry hates people in Kentucky and wants them to die.

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Sigmund 5 years, 2 months ago

Truth be told (very unlikely today) the current economic environment isn't nearly as bad as the press would have you believe. In the first three months of 1982 the GDP was minus 6.8%, much worse than it is today. In 2001, the year President Bush took office, the economy expanded at less than 1%. Over all of 2008, the US economy grew 1.3 percent, with total output of goods and services of 14.26 trillion dollars.http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business/view/405926/1/.htmlThe only thing we have to fear, is the the fear an panic being spread by the press and the current administration.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

correction: here is the link to the above quote:http://www.powerlineblog.com/The author is John Hinderaker.

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Sigmund 5 years, 2 months ago

I always wanted a cushy government job or two! Look at Boog he has lots of free time for the City Commission and a state job, two government paychecks. No wonder increasing taxes or creating a few new jobs in Lawrence doesn't seem much of a cern for him.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

Sigmund, this is a better explanation:"Is Barack Obama an insensitive lout who serves $100 per pound steaks to his elite guests and turns up the heat in the White House high enough to grow orchids while a million of his countrymen are without power and dozens are freezing to death? If not, why not?Solely because that is not the story the media want to tell. Many on the web--but no one in the mainstream media--have commented on the fact that Obama has not even pretended to do anything about the massive ice storm that has disabled much of Kentucky and neighboring states. It took days for FEMA to swing into action. Why is that not a scandal? Days went by before Kentucky's governor called out the National Guard. Why did no one blame Obama for failing to call out the Guard sooner? Probably because he lacks the constitutional power to do so; but the Constitution hasn't changed since 2005. The Anchoress has an excellent roundup. Glenn Reynolds has been on the story too. One of Glenn's readers writes:What Katrina taught the media was that they could hurt Bush by lying. What 2008 taught them was that they could help Obama by not reporting at all. What will 2009 teach them? I shudder to think.A basic reality of our time is that our mass media are monolithic, and what they choose to report (or not report) depends on what fits the narrative they are pushing on the public. If our reporters and editors wanted to portray Obama as clueless and out of touch with ordinary Americans, he has given them ample opportunity to do so. But because they are Democrats and he is a Democrat, they have no desire to tell that story. So "let them eat steak" is not a theme you'll be seeing on the evening news."http://www.anncoulter.com/

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

Sigmund, the reason main stream democrats and moderate republicans do not realize they have been scammed is because 1) they are not alarmed, and 2) they believe the end justifies the means. The end I speak of is that government becomes the owner of the banks and insurance companies, the owner of the manufacturers, the owner of the utitilities, the owner of the medical facitlities, the owner of your medical records, and the owner of all mortgages, therefore, essentially, the owner of all real estate that has a mortgage, and the employer of all.

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Sigmund 5 years, 2 months ago

Godot (Anonymous) says… "I agree, Sigmund. The first to stand trial for treason, however, should be Henry Paulson. I am very happy that Pres. Bush did not pardon him prior to leaving office. Paulson must pay for what he has done."I couldn't agree more but it ain't going to happen. Even if the democrats in congress had the integrity to try because President Obama would pardon Paulson, he voted with President Bush, Paulson, McCain, et. al. and is extending now with tax cheat Timothy Geitner who is beholding to Wall Street. The real question is when do main stream democrats realized they have been scammed?

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mom_of_three 5 years, 2 months ago

Someone said it before - if your company is successful and makes money, then you earn a bonus. But if it doesn't, and the government and taxpayers have to bail you out, then obviously you didn't accomplish your goals, and no bonus.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

I agree, Sigmund. The first to stand trial for treason, however, should be Henry Paulson. I am very happy that Pres. Bush did not pardon him prior to leaving office. Paulson must pay for what he has done.

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Sigmund 5 years, 2 months ago

I think the $750 billion bailout that the American people were almost unanimously opposed and a $850 billion "stimulus" plan approved by a congress who then confirm a Treasury and Commerce Secretaries who can't figure and pay their taxes borders on treason on the part of both republicans and democrats.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

I am still waiting for the annoucement that Obama is returning the milions in donations he got from bailed out firms and unions and their employees who benefited from bailouts to the US Treasury.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

I predict when this presidency is viewed in hindsight, the price paid to elect Obama will havee been in the trillions.

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invictus 5 years, 2 months ago

I am not discrediting the president only the media.

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bndairdundat 5 years, 2 months ago

womanwimp - and my point is:Absolutely these bonuses are shameful.So is spending one BILLION dollars to buy the presidency.And I would think it was shameful regardless of my politics.Still waiting to see what we get for the money.....

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womanwarrior 5 years, 2 months ago

bndairdundat (Anonymous) says…“Shameful”$850,000,000 to get elected…$150,000,000 to celebrate getting elected…….$1,000,000,000 to get the keys to the White House.Yep, he ought to know what shameful looks like.Point being, like it or not, I believe the man would have gotten the job for a lot less dollars spent.Go back to reading class. Try and stick to the issue. Do you think it's ok that these CEO's got the bonuses? Are you one of the scum bags?

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JohnBrown 5 years, 2 months ago

The bonuses reward the idiots who created the economic problems in the first place.It's normal for people to have self-interest. When it becomes pathological it's known as greed. There are two ways to counter greed: regulate or litigate. The republican'ts have tried to eliminate both of these countermeasures, and here we are.It's also interesting to see that the republican bill sent before the House forgot about the alternative minimum tax (AMT); their bill would have pushed abot 26 million Americans THAT MAY STILL HAVE A JOB into the higher AMT tax bracket. That is, the republican bill would have had the effect of raising taxes on 26 million taxpayers. Boy are they smart.

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lawrenceishome 5 years, 2 months ago

Of course, I agree with Obama on this along with most Americans, but how about a question that less predictable?

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

"JHOK32 (Anonymous) says…Obama worked his way up the ladder on his own."The help of powerful people in the corruption-riddled Chicago political machine and the support of domestic terrorists greased the skids of the O'dude.

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JHOK32 5 years, 2 months ago

Obama worked his way up the ladder on his own. He did not come from a very rich family with powerful friends in the right places (like Georgie boy did). I have a million times more admiration and respect for a man, woman, black, white, yellow or red, that works hard and is smart enough to win scholarships to graduate from Harvard Law School. They don't just hand out those papers to anyone. Obama is very smart, you can hear the way he speaks and chooses his words wisely. Not like that pathetic Bush, the guy was a total moron and couldn't even say a sentence that made any sense. Bush only got elected because his daddy's big oil buddies & big bankers got him in. Everyone agrees that Bush has screwed this country up the worst since the great depression. Meanwhile, Bush's fatcat buddies made $Millions & $Billions for running this country into the ground, Then do they get fired like you or I would? Hell no, let's give them another $700 Billion for screwing up!....by the way, where the hell are the applications for these jobs? I'd sure like to sign up for one! Wanted: We'll give you $10 Million a year to bankrupt our company, then after you bankrupt it, we'll give you another $10 Million.....sign me up! Lets give Obama a chance. W left him one hell of a mess. People already criticizing the man........He's been in office 10 freaking days!!!!!!!! Even Superman couldn't clean up 8 years of W's mess that fast!. All Georgie's fatcat buddies are fat, filthy rich, & happy. There $Billions of dollars are already in the (swiss) banks. Exxon posted another record profit year for 2008 WITH $1.79 gallon gas......imagine what $4 would have brought! Cheneys buddies got no bid contracts, blank checks for their people. $Millions & $Billions of our tax money to Haliburton, Blackwater (that means oil by the way). If we added the whole magnificent fiasco we're talking $ TRILLIONS of dollars ALREADY in the pockets of the Bush buddies. Gee, I wonder why our country is in such an economic mess? BECAUSE THESE GREEDY BUTTHEADS BROKE OUR NATION! Theres no money left........they took it all! Good for you President O'bama for publicly shaming these people.....Personally I think they should be treated as criminals......they stole our money while Bush sat by & smiled. Now they're probably all playing golf at their country clubs & living in the multi-million dollar houses that we bought them........Good Luck to you Mr. President, you're going to need it!

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Pywacket 5 years, 2 months ago

invictus~ Since you're comprehension challenged, let me explain the point for you. (You're welcome.)Yes, it would be news. Just as I agreed that whatever Obama's relatives are doing is news. That's the way news works. Nobody is faulting reporters or news sources.It is bogus, however, to hijack a thread on an article that is totally unrelated in order to try to discredit the president (no matter who the president may be) by association. Bogus, transparent, and utterly lame.And anyone who has a problem with my key being stuck can kiss my asisk.

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womanwarrior 5 years, 2 months ago

The_Original_Bob (Anonymous) says…Good one, Jaywalker.Funny how the politicians are acting mad. They are the ones that gave the money without accountability for how it could be spent.It's too early to rewrite history, Bobby boy. Congress gave the money Bush asked for and he administered it right into the hands of his greedy little buddies with no accountability, even though he promised there would be. That's why Congress wasn't going to release any more funds until Obama was sworn in. Bush will be richly rewarded by his CEO buddies. He'll soon be serving on many corporate boards and raking in his rewards. You aren't going to see him involved in peace making or charities, that's for sure. Will we see him lift a hammer to build a house for a poor working person? No way. He can finally be on permanent vacation getting plenty of our tax dollars.

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bndairdundat 5 years, 2 months ago

"Shameful"$850,000,000 to get elected...$150,000,000 to celebrate getting elected.......$1,000,000,000 to get the keys to the White House.Yep, he ought to know what shameful looks like. Point being, like it or not, I believe the man would have gotten the job for a lot less dollars spent.

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invictus 5 years, 2 months ago

If bush's brother was busted for dealing drugs we would hear about it.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

http://economicedge.blogspot.com/2009/01/obama-pledges-mortgage-help-buying-into.htmlexcerpt:"Make no mistake; while he may struggle to do the right thing, President Obama has wrapped himself with central bankers who have stated that they prefer to see a one world system that is owned and controlled by the central bank. Their vision is of a world where everyone and every country has already spent their future productivity and is thus indebted to them. In this way, the future labors and production of mankind belong to them. Sound radical? That's exactly where they have us headed. I ask you to please assimilate the facts, understand the math, and realize that I sounded just as radical three years ago when I was talking about the credit bubble popping and economic storm that we face. Now here it is, and it's not over, not by a long shot."--Nathan A. Martin

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grammaddy 5 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely, 175 billion in baillouts after they spent 19 billion on bonuses??!!!

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

TOB, due to a printing error on our tickets, the lemurs and I wound up in Muleshoe, TX. After a couple of days, we realized that the local stock pond wasn't Lake Titicaca. It was a complete mystery tour getting home. Never try to hitch-hike with 20 lemurs.

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jail4ceos 5 years, 2 months ago

Regardless of company size, corporate executives, board members and lawyers should be automatically regarded as sleazy because the vast majority of them are dishonest. As a general rule, society should look upon them with disdain, disgust and a strong presumption of guilt just for being in the position.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 2 months ago

"A puff a day keeps Alzheimers away snap."That's what Michael Phelps believes! I suppose that will be next week's pointless media s***storm.My * key is stuck as well.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

Your * key is sticking, py. Might ought to get that looked at. BTW, Axelrod's puppet gets no honeymoon.

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Pywacket 5 years, 2 months ago

Shameful is right--an understatement, if anything.Nice try, snap. I never thought it was GWB's fault that one of his brothers was a womanizing creep (and they were raised in the same household and possibly influenced each other). Why should the actions of Barack's half-brother (a person he never knew, who was raised on another continent, and is 20-some years younger than him) have any bearing on anything?"What?" you innocently say, "I wasn't trying to stir anything up... just reporting on the news...."To that, I call "Bulls*!" Yeah, it is news simply because they are related and the LJW will probably get around to printing it. Nothing wrong with that. But I have no doubt as to your insidious motive in hijacking this thread to mention it. Get over yourself--mcsame and the mukluk halfwit lost. Rather than trying to stir sh, why don't you sit back and give the man a chance?

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Starlight 5 years, 2 months ago

A puff a day keeps Alzheimers away snap.Back on topic, I bet the robber barons of a century ago are chuckling in their graves. I agree with the VP, throw them in the brig for misappropriation of public funds

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solsken66 5 years, 2 months ago

Off with their heads.... Oh yes, shameful, repulsive, unethical... The taxpayers' money sure does help those top people continue their unethical business practices.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

The President's half-brother is arrested for drug possession & the LJW is silent on the subject? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/31/world/main4766060.shtml?tag=topHome;topStories

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camper 5 years, 2 months ago

Most of the top executives can easily be replaced. The reason why they get paid so much is because the Board of Directors place them there. I will say that if the lowest payed member of a business quit, it would distrupt the business way more than a top exec leaving. Top executives take pride in the fact, that they "delegate".

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 2 months ago

Bonuses in and of themselves are not bad things.Trouble is, they are often awarded to execs with no relation to how he/she has stewarded the company.Seems that CEOs always get about the same bonus, whether they have doubled the profits of their company or ruined it to the point of needing government bail-outs.A reinstatement of corporate oversight is sorely needed to return bonuses to actually meaning something.

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righthanded 5 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Elise voted for the B. Hussein O.?Share the wealth anyone?

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Bob Forer 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't think tthey got enough. I am the sychophant. I love to grovel at the feet of rich people.. Greed and god are good.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 2 months ago

Good one, Jaywalker.Funny how the politicians are acting mad. They are the ones that gave the money without accountability for how it could be spent.

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jaywalker 5 years, 2 months ago

Noone caught it, but I love the last woman on the street's comment, and then I looked to see what she did for a living......

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

Let's hope the O'dude keeps the thermostat in the Oval Office high enough to let the electrical and gas companies make a healthy profit.

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Newell_Post 5 years, 2 months ago

Even if the bonuses are paid to managers of profitable companies, there is still a problem with how it is done. Management experts call this the "agency problem." Managers put all of their effort into maximizing their annual bonus instead of the long-term prosperity of the company. This is precisely what led to the problems with credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.Managers bought and sold instruments with crazy long-term risks attached in order to make their quarterly quotas. Since their bonuses and incentives were tied to sales and short-term profits, they didn't care about the long term risks. They bought and sold anything and everything to make the short-term numbers tied to their bonuses. When the long-term risks kicked in, they bailed.Owners of companies are usually much more attentive to long-term risks. Non-owner-managers work toward their personal incentives which are almost always short-term and non-risk-adjusted, hence the current problem. This is one of the things Alan Greenspan overlooked. He assumed managers of companies always worked in the long-term interests of the companies and the shareholders.

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50YearResident 5 years, 2 months ago

Bonuses in the past have always been paid on a percentage of the profits made by the company.When a company loses money no bonus is paid.Plain and simple, that is the way it should work.

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bobberboy 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, I agree it's very shameful. They are nothing but greedy pieces of #$%1&* and need to have their taxes increased.

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Deja Coffin 5 years, 2 months ago

Especially since it's the hardworking lower employees that get denied raises and bonuses because it's "not in the budget" this year.

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BigPrune 5 years, 2 months ago

Obama can call it anything he wants but it's what he actually does about it that's important. He won't do jack.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

Because McCain isn't the one who won. And he isn't the one who made that statement.If Obama does not return all those donations from firms that have benefitted from the TARP and the Fed loans, then he is proven to be a shameful hypocrite.

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Azure_Attitude 5 years, 2 months ago

It is absolutely disgusting!!!!Why don't you post what those same companies gave to the McCain campaign, Godot?

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prospector 5 years, 2 months ago

Wall Street, they are just greasing the wheels. So I like "greasy".Shameful. The trillion bucks. The drooling state and local officials everywhere that are getting all wet waiting for their chunk. Lard butts sitting with their hand out. It looks so bad we should get them an accordion, cup and monkey The daily articles about their wish lists are too.

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

Among the top donors to Obama's campaign (employees of, not the corps. Must mean the money came from shamefully high salaries and bonuses)Goldman Sachs $955,223JP Morgan Chase $642,958Citigroup $633,418UBS AG $505,017Morgan Stanley, $483,583Each of those firms have received billions of taxpayer dollars in the last 6 months.For the inaugural fete, the sector donating the largest amount of money was the securities and investment sector:$3,603,000 was donated by 118 people.Source: Opensecrets.orgTake a look at those inaugural donations - it will give you a hint as to which businesses will be selected to be "winners" in the "new economy."

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 2 months ago

What a hard question. Let me check my mail, and get back on this one. (Might have a bonus in the mail) Okay, back from the mail box, and yes it is shameful.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 2 months ago

The number of people who committed tax evasion that are getting high positions in the O'dude's regime is shameful.

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News_to_me 5 years, 2 months ago

C'mon folks, let's show a little compassion. The rich and powerful are struggling as well. How else are they going to maintain their status without raping and pillaging the peasants? That's the American system of capitalism, right?

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely obscene and it's robbing the banks:Reps.: Cancel $400M Stadium Naming for Taxpayer-Rescued CitigroupMeanwhile, here in New York, Major League Baseball’s New York Mets are facing calls to cancel a $400 million stadium naming rights deal with Citigroup. Congress members Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Ted Poe of Texas are demanding the annulment of a contract naming the new Mets stadium CitiField. Kucinich said, “It’s totally unacceptable that Citigroup should be able to spend $400 million in naming rights when they’re the recipients of a massive federal bailout.”They take your money,charge fees and rip off interest rates. Then spend money like this as if they are being good neighbors when in fact if they should give back the money to customers. Each time we see banks sponsoring something remember some got that money...... from you!Why do banks like Citigroup need to spend $400,000,000 in advertising on one billboard aka sports stadium?$50 million airplanes,obscene bonus packages and other irresponsible business deals = should be out of business not bailed out!It's not just banks on the take for your tax dollars. Locally:Free Lunch for Developershttp://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

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Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm waiting for Obama, in his shame, to return the donations he received from these execs during his campaign or for the inaugural fete. Better yet, he should account for every dime given him by a TARP beneficiary and any of its employees and deposit it directly into the Treasury.

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oldvet 5 years, 2 months ago

What is really shameful is the pork spending that the Democrats are putting into the stimulus bill that has absolutely nothing to do with stimulating the economy... just more of their pork projects...

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 2 months ago

Bonuses are nice. My wife can nearly double her income with annual bonuses. Bonuses should be the product of hard work put into a thriving company, not a reward for a greedy CEO who is knowingly running a company in the ground.

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