economic growth. That involves making investments on health care and energy and education. That means increasing our productivity across sectors, and not just relying on the financial sector for all our economic growth. It means that shareholders and boards of directors have to hold executives more accountable for their compensation scales.
The fact that these guys are looking for bonuses, having run down AIG, begs the question of, why were they making that much beforehand, when nobody was criticizing them, everybody thought they knew what they were doing? That kind of culture has to change. And I think that’s what the American people are looking for. The financial regulatory package that we’re designing, as well as the economic policies that we want to put in place are going to put an end to that culture.
That’s what we’re striving for. That’s what the American people are looking for, and working with Congress, that’s what we’re hoping to deliver.
All right? Thank you, guys.
Q Mr. President –
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll just take — I’ll just take a couple of questions. Go ahead.
Q Can you do anything about the bonuses, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: We are exploring every possible avenue, as is Congress, to see what we can do. But what we need are tools that allow us not to find ourselves in a situation where we only have two options: One is to withhold money from AIG that could potentially lead them into a spiral that could affect the entire financial system, or, on the other hand, having folks get bonuses and at least have the capacity to sue the government and get not only their bonuses but potentially even more out of the legal system.
We’ve got to have tools that, under our legal authority, allows us to deal with these issues. That’s what we’re going to be striving for.
Q Mr. President, do you wish that you had found out about these bonuses –
THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry?
Q Do you wish that you would have found out about these bonuses a lot sooner than Thursday so you could have done something more then?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, rather than going into sort of the details of finding it out, ultimately I’m responsible, I’m the President of the United States. We’ve got a big mess that we’re having to clean up. Nobody here drafted those contracts. Nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in.
We are responsible, though. The buck stops with me. And my goal is to make sure that we never put ourselves in this kind of position again.
Q — there’s going to be a new round of AIG bonuses coming out for executives. How are you going to quell America’s anger with the new round of bonuses that are coming out?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry. What I want us to do, though, is channel our