June 22nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Goldman Sachs may make its largest bonus payouts ever

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Goldman Sachs is on track to make the biggest bonus payouts in the company's 140-year history - according to a report in the British newspaper 'The Guardian'. Goldman staff in London were reportedly told that they could expect record bonuses if the company - as predicted - has its most profitable year ever.

Goldman Sachs' headquarters building in New York City.

The investment bank's earnings are up for several reasons - including a lack of competition, along with increased revenue from trading foreign currency, bonds and fixed income products.

Just last week Goldman Sachs repaid the government the $10 billion in TARP money it had received - which would leave it free to do whatever it wants. Yet the company is denying these reports about record bonuses, calling them "pure speculation." They say they won't know what bonuses will be until the end of December.

But the company's CEO told lawmakers recently that the firm is obligated to "ensure that compensation reflects the true performance of the firm and motivates proper behavior."

Critics say the culture of excessive risk and excessive bonuses is what brought down the financial system in the first place. Also, in light of the ongoing recession, record unemployment, foreclosures and a whole range of economic woes... some might wonder if this would be the best time for Goldman to pay out record bonuses.

It's believed the firm paid $1 million or more to nearly 1,000 bankers last year.

Here’s my question to you: What message would it send if Goldman Sachs makes the biggest bonus payouts in its 140-year history?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy
June 22nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why is health care reform in danger of not happening?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama's plan to push through health care reform this year is very much in danger of being dead. Top Democratic advisers are urging the president to get even more involved in the debate before it's too late.

The Congressional Budget office last week put the price tag at more than $1 trillion over the next decade; and said it would still leave millions of Americans uninsured.

Republicans have seized on this, insisting that health care reform may be too expensive at a time when we're already facing huge deficits. Senator Lindsey Graham called the CBO estimates a "death blow" to a government-run health care plan.

Some in the GOP suggest an overhaul of the nation's health care system just might have to wait for a while. They're also accusing the White House and Democrats of trying to rush through what they see as flawed legislation this year, before the mid-term elections in 2010.

The White House acknowledges there are legitimate concerns about the proposed legislation, but says the president is confident that setbacks are a normal part of what happens in Congress and that this legislation will get though Congress by the end of this year.

One senior official tells CNN, "We're not hysterical. We've seen this movie before."

But some people are not convinced, including some members of the president's own party. Senator Dianne Feinstein says she's not sure there are enough votes among Democrats to get this thing through. And she's probably right.

Here’s my question to you: Why is health care reform suddenly in danger of not happening?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care
June 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Can protesters ever prevail in a country like Iran?


An Iranian protester stands next to a burning bus during clashes with Iranian police at a demonstration in Tehran. (PHOTO CREDIT: ALI SAFARI/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iranian protesters aren't packing up and going home - despite warnings from the government that they should do just that.

Earlier today, the elite Revolutionary Guard warned that people who "disturb the peace and stand up to security forces" would be met with a strong response.

And they meant it... as riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets into the air to break up one rally in Tehran today. Witnesses also said that helicopters hovered overhead; and they noted heavy police presence in other parts of the city.

The country's highest electoral authority - which has supposedly been investigating allegations of voter fraud - acknowledged that there were voting irregularities in 50-electoral districts. Nonetheless, the council insists the problems don't affect the election results.

But opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is vowing to keep up the protests - defying the country's supreme leader.

It's impossible to know for sure how many people have been killed and injured in these protests since the Iranian government is severely restricting international media coverage. Reporters Without Borders says 20 journalists have been arrested in the past week, while many others have been kicked out of the country.

Nonetheless, violent amateur videos and pictures continue to make their way out of Iran though social networking websites.

Here’s my question to you: Can the protesters ever prevail in a country like Iran?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran