President-elect Barack Obama has suggested that bank executives should forgo their bonuses this year to show they are taking responsibility amid difficult economic times. I have to agree, in this economy, any additional reward for those who played such key roles would not be popular with the American public. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs, losing retirement savings, and their taxes are paying out enormous sums to keep these Wall Street institutions afloat. Taking a pass on bonuses is the only option this year for the management of these companies. The bonus freeze needs to run deep, very deep on Wall Street.
In an interview with Barbara Walters to air Wednesday, 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.'"