Bloomberg came out with an article today that took remarks in an interview with President Obama so far out of context, they’re in China.
The article, titled Obama Doesn’t ‘Begrudge’ Bonuses for Blankfein, Dimon, has this quote in it.
“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”
Huffington Post responded to the article, calling it a potential “public relations disaster” for the White House. Paul Krugman went apocalyptic;
if you look at the transcript of the interview, you’ll see that Bloomberg decided not to tell the whole story…
Q Let’s talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They’re very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That’s part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we’ve seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance. I think that shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs.
Q Seventeen million dollars is a lot for Main Street to stomach.
THE PRESIDENT: Listen, $17 million 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. I guess the main principle we want to promote is a simple principle of “say on pay,” that shareholders have a chance to actually scrutinize what CEOs are getting paid. And I think that serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay. The other thing we do think is the more that pay comes in the form of stock that requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings is a fairer way of measuring CEOs’ success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better.
This is irresponsible journalism at it’s most irresponsible. Basically, the story here is the President doesn’t oppose lavish bonuses and pay, because we live in a free country, but that he doesn’t support it in these cases and thinks people need to have more control over the process of pay. Very populist if you ask me…no wonder Bloomberg left it out.
So it appears that the Huffington Post article, which could have been used to correct the inaccuracies in the Bloomberg hit piece, decided not to, only to pile on, because, hey, Bloomberg is lying for them. In the meantime, Bloomberg put the President in a Catch-22 where either came out looking like a defender of Wall Street or an enemy of free-market capitalism.
Can anyone not say there is a coordinated effort to destroy this man? Can anyone not finally admit no matter how good our messaging is, we’ll always fall flat because people are only going to read what backs up their beliefs and ignore everything else?
Also maybe liberals needed to stop shooting themselves in the fucking foot!