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The News: Obama Calls Truce in Compensation War

Wonderful news: The Commander-in-Chief just called a truce in the long-running war against your paycheck.

President Obama used recently announced share-based bonus awards to the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to distance himself from the stance taken by some of his allies who contend that bank employees are grossly overpaid - not just at the C-suite level, but up and down the entire title hierarchy. "I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen," Obama said in a BusinessWeek interview to be published Friday, referring to JPMorgan's James Dimon and Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system." The president also endorsed the idea of paying CEO bonuses in stock rather than cash.

eFinancialCareers News has argued that the debate over compensation levels that's playing out in the political arena directly impacts management decisions about how much to pay not just executives of financial institutions, but employees up and down the line. While the connection is strongest within companies that received government bailout aid, it impacts a wide range of other sell-side and buy-side institutions as well.

Obama's latest remarks mark a dramatic change from the "shame on you" rhetoric he's embraced from time to time during the financial crisis. It even marks a change from Treasury Department paymaster Kenneth Feinberg's remark that Blankfein's $9 million stock bonus was still "excessive," made in a Bloomberg TV interview on Monday. Feinberg nonetheless appeared to take credit for nudging Goldman's board to make the lower-than-expected award, saying the company had consulted him before its decision.

Obama Doesn't 'Begrudge' Bonuses for 'Savvy' Blankfein, Dimon

[Bloomberg News]

Feinberg Says He Spoke With Blankfein About Pay Plans [Bloomberg News]

Morgan Stanley Gets Earful on Pay [WSJ]

Bank of America Names Borthwick, Carnoy to Run Capital Markets [BusinessWeek]

First Data Having Hard Time Paying Its Debt [NY Post]

The firm reportedly has forced out several key executives from its Dallas office and is "repositioning the workforce."

When Is Lunch Deductible? [Openforum.com]

How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt [Der Spiegel]

Snowpocalypse: Barclays Bosses Declare It A Casual Day [ClusterStock]

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AUTHORJon Jacobs Insider Comment

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