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I’ve got a sob story for you that I know will just break your heart. You might want to grab a couple of tissues. Ready?
It’s about those bankers who took bailout money from you and me. Far from grateful, these executives are in a deep, industry-wide pout about how they’re being treated. Having taken billions of tax dollars for their bailouts, and having refused to use those billions for loans that would help our economy recover – bank executives are now stamping their Gucci-clad feet and whining that the Obama administration is being mean to them. Go ahead – dab those tears from your eyes.
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First, they’re having heart palpitations over the possibility that Obama and his bailout overseers might demand “management changes” at some of Wall Street’s largest failed banks. They saw the CEO of General Motors get the boot, and these once-haughty titans of finance are aghast that it could also happen to them.
Indeed, to avoid that and to escape the executive pay restrictions that came with the bailout money, many top bankers – including such giants as Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo – say they want to return the money. Which brings us to their second complaint. In exchange for taking the money, they agreed to give stock ownership in their banks to us. In fact, taxpayers are the primary owners of many of the banks.
To get out of the bailout, not only must they repay the billions they took from us, but they also must pay us for our ownership share. “Unfair,” they shout, demanding that Obama waive this payment. It is “fundamentally un-American” cried one banker, asserting that this amounts to a “penalty for early withdrawal.”
Well, yes sir, maybe it is – but isn’t that what you do to your customers every day? Why should we shed a single tear for these banksters, much less give them yet another break?
“Showdown Seen Between Banks and Regulators,” The New York Times, April 11, 2009.