In this economy, any additional reward would not be popular with anyone, including Obama. Americans are losing jobs, losing retirement and paying out enormous sums to keep business afloat so taking a pass on bonuses is the only option this year. The bonus culture doesn’t end in the executive suite, with many mid-level workers doubling their annual salary at bonus time to the tune of one hundred thousand and beyond. The bonus freeze needs to run deep, very deep on Wall Street.
President-elect Barack Obama thinks bank executives should forgo their bonuses this year to show they are taking responsibility amid difficult economic times.
In an interview with Barbara Walters to air Wednesday, Obama also said he’s trying to keep his BlackBerry or find another way to “break through the isolation and the bubble that exists around the president.”
Obama talked about a range of topics in Tuesday’s interview, including troop deployments in Afghanistan and Thanksgiving plans with his family, ABC News said. He also discussed the adjustment of moving into the White House with his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters.
According to excerpts of the interview released by ABC, Obama said bank executives should make sacrifices because so many other people are struggling as the nation’s economy slips further. Some financial firms, including Goldman Sachs, the Swiss bank UBS and the British bank Barclays, have said they aren’t handing out annual bonuses to top executives, and Obama encouraged more to follow.
“I think that if you are already worth tens of millions of dollars, and you are having to lay off workers,” Obama said, “the least you can do is say, ‘I’m willing to make some sacrifice as well, because I recognize that there are people who are a lot less well off, who are going through some pretty tough times.’”