President Obama took a more conciliatory stance toward the financial sector in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, saying he did not “begrudge people success or wealth,” as it was “part of the free-market system.”
The president’s comments come days after the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs received multimillion-dollar bonuses. But during the interview in the Oval office, he pointed out that “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.”
Wall Street banks have been pulling their support for Democrats as they come under fire for their role in causing the financial crisis, as well as the huge payouts they make even as the rest of the United States continues to struggle with a sluggish economy and high unemployment.
While Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein have made gestures of cooperation as Congress looks at the bank practices that preceded the financial crash of 2008, the banking sector as a whole has poured money into fighting efforts to overhaul the system and increase regulation, bringing the chief reform bill to a standstill.
The president said, however, that the fact that Mr. Dimon and Mr. Blankfein took their bonuses in stock instead of cash was an improvement over the way bankers are often paid. He told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that that was a “fairer way of measuring C.E.O. success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better.”