“We want our money back and we’re going to get it” – the message from President Barack Obama to the US financial institutions that the government saved from collapse with massive injections of cash.
They will be charged the equivalent of 81 billion euros spread over 10 year.
Obama is tapping into mounting public anger over big profits and big bonuses at those banks.
He said: “My commitment is to the tax payer and my commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed. And my determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people.”
Obama accused the bankers of being out of touch with the hardships being endured by ordinary Americans; and more evidence emerged of the effects of the financial crisis with the latest figures showing that US retail sales were much worse than expected in the run-up to Christmas. They were down 0.3 percent in December while weekly jobless benefit claims were up.
Fear of losing their jobs is keeping a lot of Americans from spending and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday that the US unemployment rate – currently at 10 percent – is unlikely to drop below eight percent before 2012 unless US politicians do more to boost the economy in the short term.