April 21st, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should Pres. Obama return $1 million from Goldman Sachs?


Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its marketing of a subprime mortgage product, sending its stock price sharply lower. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Wall Street may be enemy number one for President Obama and the Democrats these days; but things get complicated when you look at how corporate America has lined their pockets.

Let's start at the top - the president received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs. That would be the same Goldman Sachs that the government is now accusing of civil fraud tied to those subprime mortgage investments.

Federal law prohibits a company from giving directly to an election campaign; so this money came from Goldman's political action committee and employees. The $1 million represents the president's second largest contributor... and these donations from Wall Street's top investment bank to Mr. Obama were more than four times what they gave to John McCain.

But in light of these allegations against Goldman - and as Mr. Obama and the Democrats push hard for financial reform - maybe the president should consider returning this money. As a candidate, Barack Obama made lots of lofty promises about not being beholden to special interests. here's a chance to prove he meant them.

Of course - it's not just the president. Records show in the 2008 election, three out of every four dollars given by Goldman went to Democrats. And since then? The company has contributed generously to the members of the congressional committees that have oversight of the financial industry. Sadly it's the way the game is played.

The big corporations in this country own our government - lock, stock and barrel. Our so-called representatives sell their souls for campaign contributions... and when it comes time to pick a side, the corporations or the people they are elected to represent, guess which side they most often choose.

Here’s my question to you: Should Pres. Obama return the nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


January 13th, 2010
01:42 PM ET

How much were banks to blame for the financial collapse?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress is trying to get to the bottom of the financial meltdown that practically brought the country to its knees.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/13/art.lloyd.sachs.jpg caption="Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies during the first public hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on Capitol Hill."]
There were some tense exchanges on Capitol Hill today... with a bipartisan commission grilling the heads of Wall Street's top banks about who was to blame for the biggest downturn since the Great Depression.

The bank chiefs testified under oath about their institutions' mistakes that led to the crisis... things like the housing bubble, "new and poorly underwritten mortgage products" and "excessive speculation."

These banks bundled mortgages and sold them as investments. But when people began to default on the mortgages because they couldn't afford them in the first place, the bottom fell out.

At one point - Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein compared parts of the financial crisis to an earthquake and similar acts of God. Nice try. The commission's chairman - Democrat Phil Angelides - immediately pointed out: "These were acts of men and women."

The heads of three other big banks - JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America - also testified. They all tried to walk the fine line of owning up to what happened... while pushing back against potential government reforms that they think would go too far.

There's a lot of anger out there directed at Wall Street. Since the start of the downturn, seven million Americans have lost their jobs and more than two million families have lost their homes to foreclosure.

But the banks were given hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to keep them afloat, and to this day they continue to pay out record bonuses. And they are making profits like they've never made before.

Here’s my question to you: How much were the banks to blame for the financial collapse?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Bailout • Goldman Sachs • Homeownership • Spending • US Economy • US Government Bailouts
November 13th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Meaning of Goldman, Morgan Stanley‘s planned bonuses?


Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The economic picture got even worse today. Weekly jobless claims were the worst we've seen in 7 years. Mass layoffs continue to be announced across a variety of sectors. And the markets remain in a free fall as the Dow's off around 30 percent for the year and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 are both off around 40 percent.

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing today with representatives from banks getting money from the big $700 billion financial bailout package. Committee members wanted to know where the money is going. Not an unreasonable question.

Bank executives said they are both lending and working with delinquent homeowners and that this money is not going to pad executive paychecks.

Watch: Cafferty: Planned bonuses?

A general counsel at Goldman Sachs told the committee that compensation, "will be down very significantly this year across the firm, particularly at senior levels... We get it."

But what does "down very significantly" mean on Wall Street? According to Bloomberg financial news, Goldman Sachs has set aside $6.8 billion for year-end bonuses, and Morgan Stanley, $6.4 billion.

That figure is down from the record setting $12.1 billion Goldman shelled out last year and the $10 billion Morgan Stanley doled out.

Granted they cut the bonus numbers in half, but that's still a mind-boggling amount. And both firms are taking taxpayers' money from the bailout package. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley each got ten billion dollars.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are planning to pay $13.2 billion in year-end bonuses?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Goldman Sachs • Morgan Stanley • US Economy