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Highlights From Obama's Second Press Conference 03/24/09

Obama Wants Action and Patience to Get US Back on Course

Unsurprisingly, almost every question at tonight's press conference had to do with the economy. President Obama, who said we are beginning to "see signs of progress," took the opportunity to lay out his four priorities moving forward: health care, education, energy, and deficit reduction. When asked why it took him so long to express outrage over AIG's bonuses, Obama said: "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about when I speak." That clearly showed tonight, considering the amount of detail the president shared.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • On working together: We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other — that's when we succeed. That's when we prosper.
  • On a new type of prosperity: We know that an economy built on reckless speculation, inflated home prices, and maxed-out credit cards does not create lasting wealth. It creates the illusion of prosperity, and it’s endangered us all.
  • On the sacrifices of the American people: With respect to the American people, I think folks are sacrificing left and right. They — you’ve got a lot of parents who are cutting back on everything to make sure that their kids can still go to college. You’ve got workers who are deciding to cut an entire day and entire day’s worth of pay so that their fellow co-workers aren’t laid off.

To see what Obama had to say about his critics, and public outrage,

.

  • On public outrage: We can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who tries to make a profit.
  • On his critics: I’m not going to lie to you. It is tough. As I said, that’s why the critics tend to criticize, but they don’t offer an alternative budget, because even if we were not doing health care, we were not doing energy, we were not doing education, they’d still have a whole bunch of problems in those out years, according to CBO projections.
  • On how his tax plan would impact charitable giving: I'll tell you what has a significant impact on charitable giving, is a financial crisis and an economy that’s contracting. And so the most important thing that I can do for charitable giving is to fix the economy, to get banks lending again, to get businesses opening their doors again, to get people back to work again. Then I think charities will do just fine.

Source

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janneth janneth 6 years
Genesis, you are correct.
Michelann Michelann 6 years
"The Stimulus Bill was passed in mid-February. Anyone who expected results this soon needs to learn how the economy works. " Anyone who expects the stimulus bill to have any successful results at all needs to learn how the economy works.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 6 years
Agree steph- they say Obama's not the messiah and then they get mad at him for not performing miracles.
stephley stephley 6 years
The Stimulus Bill was passed in mid-February. Anyone who expected results this soon needs to learn how the economy works.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years
IMO, the irritation is hearing about all the money that this administration is simply throwing at this problem, and we are not seeing any results. At this point, if Obama had given every person in America $20,000, he would have effectivly stopped this recession, and spent less. At this point, he's spent a lot more, and we are no better off.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
I understand the outrage over AIG but we also have to understand that AIG is a HUGE co. and the group responsible for this is a very small group so if you bump into anyone who works for AIG give them the benefit of the doubt before you club them over the head. As for President Obama he made it clear at the DNC and every major speech there after that it would take years to heal our economy not months and the majority of us were there in person or in spirit in full agreement & support of him to take on this task and do pretty much what ever we needed to help. Now our support and promised patience has washed into a sea impatience with waves of irritation. He now has the task of correcting the problem and pulling an unwilling mass along with him. I don't envy him the task but he still has my patience and support as promised.
Roarman Roarman 6 years
"what youa re saying is misleading. The man got a $1 salary, with the expectation of receiving his bonus for one year. He did not say that was always how he was compensated. And he admits that some in his profession may have been overcompensated... I don't understand why you are singling that out? He and his coworkers should be punished because they didn't insist on less compensation? Would you? I don't hear the people at McDonald's getting upset every time minimum wage goes up. " My point is you can call it what you want, bonus or salary, but these people weren't making $1. And I don't recall asking for them to be penalized. I was just pointing out that HE said those in his profession were overpaid. And they probably are. I don't think they should have to give the bonuses back, I never said that. I also disagree with the 90% tax, which I said in a previous post. I still think saying they earn only $1 is false.
kranky kranky 6 years
Liddy stated in Congress that the bonuses were not going to people from their London office who caused the mess. I agree diadem that there could be more information about what exactly is happening over at AIG. As default shareholders, it seems like taxpyers should have access to that information. It seems to me that AIG has become a completely new animal - operating in some instances as a public-traded company, but in reality, it isn't and the public should have a say. The interference of government into the private sector has created a lot of blurry lines, as evidenced by this latest debacle. One of the many reasons why I hate the current trend. In terms of people leaving and still collecting bonuses, again, we don't know the whole story. Maybe their particular task was finished and the Company had no more need for them so they moved on, but were compensated for their time.
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I agree with you on 1, I'm not sure about 2, 3, and 4(no one in that credit default swap business, and no one overseeing that business at an executive level received these bonuses?). I wish I could get more details on the structure of these retention bonuses, because that is where my outrage lies. A lot of these employees are no longer with AIG, including someone that got over 6 million in a retention bonus. That doesn't seem like an effective program to me, it seems like it could be a golden parachute in disguise.
kranky kranky 6 years
Thanks for the article. First (and most shocking to me), I now have a grudging respect - very small, but still there - for Charlie Rangel. "It is tough to me to think of the tax code as a political weapon." Nice. Wish everyone in Washington felt the same way. Second - this article is a prime example of mis-placed outrage, at least to me. For the following reasons: 1. The bonuses were guarenteed on March 2008, but Dodd agreed to them in Feb of 2009 - in the terms of the bailout. It is misleading to say that the bonuses were not reviewed by Congress. 2. The people receiving the bonuses were not responsible for the crumbling of AIG. 3. IMO, it really doesn't matter how the bonuses got sactified by Congress (I would feel sorry for Dodd if he hadn't acted so sanctimonious when the news broke). They were the right things to do in this sitution. We should compensate highly qualified individuals who have performed well in the past for doing a tough job. 4. A quote, "We shouldn't have businesses that are too big to fail..." The people currently working at AIG are restructuring the Company, thus making it too big to fail in the future. So they are performing a valuable service. I don't get the fuss over them receiving bonuses that congress approved for performing a job that Congress said needed to be done. Sorry, I guess this is redundant from point 3. Also, my apologies if the numbered points come off as pedantic... I'm multitasking here and and apparently losing my train of thought anyway...
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
Here is what I have seen in many articles about the bonuses - the agreements were made in March 2008 to duplicate employees' 2007 bonuses "despite obvious signs that 2008 performance would be disastrous" Here is a Time article and a NYT article that discussses this: www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1885977,00.html www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/business/18cuomo.html?_r=1&ref=business I think a lot of people knew this kind of thing could happen with the bailout money. There were going to be stories and examples that rile up the general public, but the facts remain that if AIG was allowed to fail then the economy would be completely in shambles. This is because they have their hands in all aspects of the financial system. What I think is needed is more separation and regulation of different financial sectors so that a massive behemoth like AIG cannot exist anymore. We shouldn't have businesses that are too big to fail, and the only way to ensure that is through more regulation.
kranky kranky 6 years
Woulda, coulda, shoulda... but I guess we'll never know how having high salaries would have gone over. I suspect that people would have been outraged to learn that those evil people at AIG were keeping their 'outrageous' salaries. As pointed out above, it sounds much better to say that they are working for $1. Either way, I believe it was up to our politicians to educate themselves (and us) about what exactly they signed our money away for. Rather than getting angry at something something that turns out to be perfectly reasonable, that they already knew about int he first place.
kranky kranky 6 years
Woulda, coulda, shoulda... but I guess we'll never know how having high salaries would have gone over. I suspect that people would have been outraged to learn that those evil people at AIG were keeping their 'outrageous' salaries. As pointed out above, it sounds much better to say that they are working for $1. Either way, I believe it was up to our politicians to educate themselves (and us) about what exactly they signed our money away for. Rather than getting angry at something something that turns out to be perfectly reasonable, that they already knew about int he first place.
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I meant should as in it would have been wiser, more transparent, and their wouldn't be the same populist outrage if AIG gave compensation as salary with a more normal retention bonus instead of this specific scenario. They are the ones that set up these contracts and exposed their employees to all this outrage. And I agree with you, it is unjust to direct the outrage onto all employees when it should be directed to upper management and a certain tier of executives.
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I meant should as in it would have been wiser, more transparent, and their wouldn't be the same populist outrage if AIG gave compensation as salary with a more normal retention bonus instead of this specific scenario. They are the ones that set up these contracts and exposed their employees to all this outrage. And I agree with you, it is unjust to direct the outrage onto all employees when it should be directed to upper management and a certain tier of executives.
kranky kranky 6 years
Diadem, I am outraged as well. I guess my point is that it is unjust to direct that outrage at people who don't deserve it. Not only is it morally wrong, it diverts attention from fixing the real issues.
kranky kranky 6 years
Diadem,I am outraged as well. I guess my point is that it is unjust to direct that outrage at people who don't deserve it. Not only is it morally wrong, it diverts attention from fixing the real issues.
kranky kranky 6 years
daidem, We will have to agree to disagree, then. I have never heard of a situation in which executives 'should' receive their compensation in the form of a salary versus a bonus. I will qualify that I work in employment matters as a consultant, so I've been around a bit. The retention bonus was agreed upon in the first AIG bailout - the one that outlined how the Company was going to restructure. I'm curious why you say otherwise, and I hate to be misinformed. Can you provide a source? I wish you luck with your own employment issue. I hope you make the right decision for you (and read all the fine print). ;)
kranky kranky 6 years
daidem,We will have to agree to disagree, then. I have never heard of a situation in which executives 'should' receive their compensation in the form of a salary versus a bonus. I will qualify that I work in employment matters as a consultant, so I've been around a bit. The retention bonus was agreed upon in the first AIG bailout - the one that outlined how the Company was going to restructure. I'm curious why you say otherwise, and I hate to be misinformed. Can you provide a source?I wish you luck with your own employment issue. I hope you make the right decision for you (and read all the fine print). ;)
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I guess my point is, this article (resignation letter) doesn't curb my outrage at AIG for working the ways that it worked and the mess its left the economy in.
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I do know quite a bit about executive compensation actually in sectors other than finance at Fortune 500 companies as well as in the finance industry both on the private equity and public sides. He should have gotten the money as regular salary, that's what should have been done. Its very odd to me that these retention bonuses were agreed upon in lieu of a normal salary. And he doesn't have to give it back, legally he is entitled to that compensation. And I thought that this retention bonus was agreed upon before AIG was in trouble, and definitely before it took all that government money so did he know that AIG might be out of business in a year? Retention bonuses work, heck I have one I'm waiting on right now. It will guarantee that I stay at my company for 6 months through a very difficult time when up to 40% of the company will be laid off. I could leave right now and try to find another job, even in this economy I think I could do pretty good, but I've decided not to look because of this bonus coming my way. Each person needs to make thier own decisions, seems like this guy chose the wrong decision. But the thing is, he (as well as myself), could walk away from that bonus at any time.
mydiadem mydiadem 6 years
I do know quite a bit about executive compensation actually in sectors other than finance at Fortune 500 companies as well as in the finance industry both on the private equity and public sides. He should have gotten the money as regular salary, that's what should have been done. Its very odd to me that these retention bonuses were agreed upon in lieu of a normal salary. And he doesn't have to give it back, legally he is entitled to that compensation. And I thought that this retention bonus was agreed upon before AIG was in trouble, and definitely before it took all that government money so did he know that AIG might be out of business in a year?Retention bonuses work, heck I have one I'm waiting on right now. It will guarantee that I stay at my company for 6 months through a very difficult time when up to 40% of the company will be laid off. I could leave right now and try to find another job, even in this economy I think I could do pretty good, but I've decided not to look because of this bonus coming my way. Each person needs to make thier own decisions, seems like this guy chose the wrong decision. But the thing is, he (as well as myself), could walk away from that bonus at any time.
kranky kranky 6 years
daidem- Again, he is not asking for sympathy. And even if he were, I fail to see how making a good living should exempt him from receiving the basic human emotion of sympathy. This is the man's resignation letter. He is outlining why he is resigning, and offering insight into the witch hunt that our government has created.
kranky kranky 6 years
daidem-Again, he is not asking for sympathy. And even if he were, I fail to see how making a good living should exempt him from receiving the basic human emotion of sympathy.This is the man's resignation letter. He is outlining why he is resigning, and offering insight into the witch hunt that our government has created.
kranky kranky 6 years
diadem, I have the utmost respect for you, but I don't believe that you know much about executive compensation - especially in circumstances such as these. The man was working at dismanteling the Company as specified under the government mandate. Of course he is not going to get a performance-based salaries, which are evaluated on growth, development, etc. As far as retention, he had the experience of working at AIG for 10 years, and was told he would be compensated for staying on until the job was done rather than moving into another position. Who would go a work for a Company that they know will be out of business in a year?
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