President Obama said he does not "begrudge" the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
The president said in response to a question that while $17 million is "an extraordinary amount of money" for Main Street, "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."
"I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen," Obama said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system."
Blankfein and Dimon took their bonuses in stock rather than cash, which Obama encouraged other corporations to do. Such compensation, he said in the interview, "requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings."