President Barack Obama says he has no problem with the huge bonuses recently doled out to JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Dimon is taking home $17 million and Blankfein $9 million.
“I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free market system,” Obama told Bloomberg Business Week.
“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen.”
Obama acknowledges that the sums are huge, but notes that they pale in comparison to top athletes’ pay.
“There are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”
Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Manny Ramirez, who didn’t make it to the World Series last year, earned almost $24 million.
Some experts have criticized the president for what they call his recent bashing of banks.
Obama proposed a tax on big banks to recoup all of the government’s bailout money.
And he proposed regulation that would bar banks from proprietary trading and owning private equity and hedge funds.
Vanguard mutual funds founder John Bogle is skeptical that an effective bank regulation regime can be implemented.
“We need to try, but all the lawyers and geniuses on Wall Street are going to figure out ways to get around everything,” he told The New York Times.
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