And who do you think is fanning the flames for the pitchforks?
The bankers struggled to make themselves clear to the president of the United States.
Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees — and, by extension, to themselves.
“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”
But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” . . .
Of course, the Obama people think some high salaries are OK.
Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, was paid about $5.2 million in compensation by hedge fund D.E. Shaw during the past year, according to financial disclosure forms released on Friday by the White House. . . .
The New York Times reports that Summers worked a grand total of one day a week for $5.2 million.
The Washington Post points out that Obama's economic advisors were paid handsomely WHILE they were advising Obama.
Some of President Obama's top economic advisers were paid, in some cases handsomely, for their commentaries in 2008 about tax policy, government bailouts of financial institutions, global trade and the economic recession, according to financial disclosure forms made public by the White House late Friday. . . .
Summers did not join the Obama team in an official capacity until after the November election, but he was an influential adviser to the candidate during the campaign as the economic collapse moved to the forefront . . . . .
Judge Andrew Napolitano has a very disturbing report here:
The FDIC — with Treasury backing — threatened to conduct public audits of his bank unless his board created and issued a class of stock for the Feds to buy. The audit, which he is confident his bank would survive, would cost it millions in employee time, bad press, and consequent lost business. . . . .
Now Obama refuses to let the banks repay the money that they were forced to take:
I must be naive. I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?
My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command. . . . .
Of course, Geithner is talking about the ability to fire bank executives.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he’s prepared to oust executives and directors at banks that require “exceptional” assistance from the U.S. government.
“If in the future, banks need exceptional assistance in order to get through this, then we will make sure that assistance comes,” while ensuring taxpayers are protected, Geithner said yesterday in an interview on the CBS “Face the Nation” program. “Where that requires a change in management and the board, then we will do that.”
Geithner noted that American International Group Inc., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had their chief executives removed after it became clear the companies couldn’t survive without government rescues. The Treasury is reviewing how much capital the biggest U.S. financial companies need in order to endure a severe economic downturn.
“Where we’ve had to do exceptional things,” the government has replaced management and boards, Geithner said. . . . .