UPDATED: Obama: Wall Street Bonuses “Outrageous”

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President Obama has weighed in on the controversy over Wall Street bonuses.

Obama this morning called the bonuses “outrageous”, according to White House Robert Gibbs, speaking at a press briefing moments ago.

A report released by the New York State comptroller’s office and written up today by the New York Times found that Wall Street firms awarded over $18 billion in bonuses, despite the financial crisis that many of them helped trigger.

Yestrday, it was reported that AIG paid $450 million in bonuses to the unit that sold those disastrous credit default swaps.

And of course, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating Merrill Lynch’s awarding of billions in bonuses, on an accelerated schedule, before it went formally went under the control of Bank of America.

Late Update: Obama went further in comments to reporters today after meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The presIdent said that awarding billions in bonuses “at a time when most of these institutions are teetering on the brink of collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to sustain them” is “the height of irresponsibility” and “shameful.”

He added: “Show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility.”

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