Obama Blasts Big Banks for Crying Poverty, Fighting Fees

If they can pay soaring bonuses, they can help repay taxpayers
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2010 6:46 AM CST
Obama Blasts Big Banks for Crying Poverty, Fighting Fees
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as he announces a new fee on big banks to recover up to $120 billion in taxpayers' money used to prop up corporations during the economic crisis, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – President Obama beat up on the big banks in his radio address today, accusing them of crying poverty even as they hand out record breaking bonuses to their own employees. He criticized banks for claiming that the fees he's proposed to help recoup taxpayers losses on the bailout would leave them with less money to lend to customers. "If the big financial firms can afford massive bonuses, they can afford to pay back the American people," he said in the address. The fee would raise $90 billion over 10 years, essentially making the taxpayers whole on TARP, notes the Washington Post.

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"Like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favor are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect," he said. "The very same firms reaping billions of dollars in profits, and reportedly handing out more money in bonuses and compensation than ever before in history, are now pleading poverty. It's a sight to see."
(Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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