Bankers’ bonuses are bad, the White House clarifies
What President Obama meant to say to Bloomberg about 'obscene' Wall St bonuses
President Barack Obama is performing more U-turns on the subject of bankers' bonuses than a hunted coke dealer in a Miami Vice car chase.
Having spent most of the winter calling top-end bank bonuses "obscene" and the men who receive them "fat cats", Obama used an interview on Tuesday with BusinessWeek to say he didn't begrudge the bankers their money after all, because "there are some baseball players who are making more than that".
He also described JP Morgan chairman Jamie Dimon - who received a total of $17m last year in salary and bonus - and Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein as "savvy businessmen".
Or at least that's how the media - including The First Post - reported the president's comments.
On Wednesday, with Wall Street watchers still scratching their heads at this apparent presidential "rethink", another U-turn came from the White House in the shape of a blog headed 'Clearing Up the Bonuses Issue' written by Obama's deputy press secretary, Jen Psaki.
In a nutshell, Psaki then sought to prove that the BusinessWeek interview had "inaccurately made it sound like the president brushed off the impact of bonuses and applauded the role of bankers".
Psaki says that when asked by BusinessWeek whether $17m was a lot for Main Street to stomach, the president responded: "Listen, $17m is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well."
However, just to be clear the president wasn't on some anti-capitalist jag, Psaki stressed that her boss "has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn't 'begrudge' the success of Americans".
Obama's critics remain unconvinced: is he on the side of the 15m Americans out of work, or the Wall Street types who read BusinessWeek? ·
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