Because when deals cut in the opposite direction and were losses, taxpayers made out so well. Right? Telling Citi to pound salt would be a good small step by Obama and would show the public that he hears them but the friends-of-Robert-Rubin crowd might get upset. The masses of Citi people at Treasury probably wouldn’t be happy either.
Citigroup is planning to claim that an energy trader who is due to receive compensation of $100 million this year should be exempt from review by a federal authority given responsibility for setting pay packages at financial companies that received taxpayer bailouts, executives at the bank said Wednesday.
Such a claim would come as the Obama administration is set to begin examining the pay packages and, if accepted, could set off a new wave of criticism from the administration and from lawmakers already incensed over recent Wall Street pay packages.
Citigroup executives say the trader’s compensation is exempt because it is part of a contract signed before the law establishing the review system was passed.
So what? That was before the global economy tanked thanks to Citi and other banks who gambled and still won even though they lost. It’s true that Bush-Paulson and later Obama-Geithner did a poor job of managing this process and did not immediately scrap all of these “it’s in their contract” moments. Even so, that argument is so 2008. Maybe it’s time Washington started to consider the financial blood bath for Americans who don’t live on Wall Street.