Friday, January 30, 2009

Scolding Wall Street

After the New York comptroller's office reported on Thursday that bonuses in 2008 totaled $18.4 billion, Obama and Geithner lashed out against companies that continued to issue huge bonuses while receiving billions in funding from the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

"That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful," Obama said Thursday.

Obama is right. The bonus payouts at this point in our economic cycle are shameful. Obama is talking the talk.

But what about walking the walk? Why not hold some of these companies accountable for their actions in the form of penalties and fees? As the nursery rhyme goes, words will never hurt them.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in a free market economy. But our free market is broken right now. The essential element we are missing is accountability. Until the companies in question are held accountable for their mistakes, their wrong-doings, and their bad decisions, no amount of stimulus or bailout will correct the state of our nation.

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