I'm amazed that Wall Street would have any qualms with the government wanting our money back and the right to approve future bonuses.
No company ought to consider giving additional stock options or cash bonuses to executives who don't generate profits. The definition of "bonus," according to Dictionary.com, is "a gift to reward performance, paid either by a private employer or by a government."
Usually, it's hedge fund, buyout, venture capitalist, money management or private equity firms that carry the pitch forks, torches and ropes ready to lynch. I have raised money from private and professional investors, and I can tell you that they have a say in management's bonuses. In fact, your biggest investors are usually on your board of directors.
There's no way Citigroup (C) (Stock Quote: C), JPMorgan (JPM) (Stock Quote: JPM) or any other Wall Street firm would give any company a dime without some control over how the money is spent. As a recipient, you have a choice of accepting the money and the conditions that go along with it. If you want your at-bat to swing for riches, you gladly put your name on the agreement.
Companies that take government money shouldn't look at the money any differently. Once you take money, you have taken on a new partner.
(C) (JPM) The companies that have taken money these days are no different than those with a long history of success. They believe that with the right amount of cash, they can get back to their once-glorious past. Chrysler did it in the early 1980s, and so did Mellon Bank in the late 1980s.
Branch Rickey, the famous Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who changed the color of baseball by promoting Jackie Robinson to the Majors, later in his career served as the general manager of the then-lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. When Pirate Hall of Fame slugger Ralph Kiner asked for a raise, Rickey reminded him the Pirates finished last, even though Kiner hit 40-plus homers. You don't give your people bonuses when the company has a losing season.