“We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer.”
— Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, on the floor of the Senate Friday. McCaskill introduced legislation stipulating that no employee of any company that accepts federal bailout money be allowed to earn more than the President of the United States. Obama’s annual salary is $400,000. The bill came a day after Obama chastised Wall Street for delivering $18 billion in 2008 bonuses even as these companies were being rescued by taxpayer money. “The American people understand we’ve got a big hole that we’ve got to dig ourselves out of, but they don’t like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they’re being asked to fill it up,” Obama said.
Meanwhile, AT&T chief Randall Stephenson announced that he would refuse his 2008 bonus amid news that the company will freeze the salaries of 120,000 managerial employees. This was the capper to a week in which more than 100,000 jobs were shed at companies including Pfizer , Caterpillar , Boeing , Starbucks and Home Depot .
More records were set on Wall Street this month as the Dow and S&P 500 today finished their worst January ever. The Dow lost 8.8% and the S&P 500 lost 8.6% in the month. Want to hear ideas about how to fix the economy? Tune in to the first CNN Money Summit tonight at 11 pm ET and Saturday, January 31 at 8 pm ET. The program will examine the economy from the perspective of Wall Street, Main Street and Washington. –Jessica Shambora