Fallout

Obama Hammers Wall Street

Could the era of corporate excess finally be ending? Wall Street executives are quaking in their Prada boots after President Obama lashed out against their "shameful" greed twice in two days. In his weekly YouTube address, Obama sharply criticized executives for "draining" bailout funds and pledged "unprecedented transparency" for taxpayers. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced legislation to cap bailout recipients' executive compensation at $400,000. (In other words, one-third of John Thain's office decor fund.) The Wall Street Journal reports that, though overwhelming voices outside the financial industry want Wall Street to trim the fat, insiders find the assault on their bonus-driven salaries "destabilizing" and "unsettling." The WSJ's editorial page rebuked the anti-CEO fervor: "Mr. Obama wanted to hit a populist nerve this week because he knows he may have to ask Congress for another $1 trillion or more to revive the banking system."