Obama promises to curb corporate abuse of tax dollars

January 31st, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 31 (IANS) President Barack Obama Saturday said a new strategy was on the anvil for reviving the financial system that will not only ensure that CEOs aren’t abusing taxpayer dollars, but also get credit flowing and lower mortgage costs.”Soon my Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

“We’ll help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs,” he said calling on the US Senate to approve a $819 billion economic stimulus bill that the House of Representatives passed this week without a single Republican voting for it.

Obama said his plan would ensure corporate chief executives do not siphon away tax dollars to fund big bonuses, expressing outrage again at reports of big pay-outs in 2008 despite massive job cuts, financial losses and government bailouts.

“We learned this week that even as they petitioned for taxpayer assistance, Wall Street firms shamefully paid out nearly $20 billion in bonuses for 2008,” the president said.

“While I’m committed to doing what it takes to maintain the flow of credit, the American people will not excuse or tolerate such arrogance and greed.”

Obama said he would insist on “unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight, and clear accountability” for funds that went toward stabilising the financial system.

He repeated his mantra that the country’s economic picture would likely get worse before it got better. But he would work with both political parties to ensure a strong stimulus bill, which would save or create at least 3 million jobs “over the next few years”, eventually made it to his desk.

“Americans know that our economic recovery will take years — not months,” he said. “But they will have little patience if we allow politics to get in the way of action, and our economy continues to slide.”

Republicans, who opposed Obama’s stimulus package largely because of its spending priorities, suggested mortgage help as well.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a separate radio address proposed a government-backed 4 percent fixed-rate mortgages for “any credit-worthy borrower”.

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