Obamanomics Sparks Ire Across the Aisle

Liberals voicing anger, outrage over president's handling of bailouts.

ByABC News
March 17, 2009, 4:28 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2009— -- President Obama is facing growing liberal anger over his handling of the economy, with prominent voices on the left voicing concerns that taxpayer-funded bailouts are enriching corporate America while doing little to right the nation's economic ship.

The revelation over the weekend of massive bonuses being awarded to employees of AIG -- despite repeated federal bailouts engineered by the Obama and Bush administration -- is igniting fresh outrage among liberal lawmakers and bloggers.

Several prominent Democrats are pointing out that Obama aides were more than willing to press auto workers to renegotiate contracts as a condition of bailouts for car companies -- but are now citing the sanctity of contracts in AIG bonuses, saying they can't be canceled.

"People have no confidence in what's happening right now," Jane Hamsher, the founder of the liberal blog FireDogLake, said Monday on ABC NewsNOW's "Politics Live."

"People on the right and the left are looking at all this money being shoveled to banks [by] friends of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers ... and they're not seeing any accountability," she added. "They don't know where the money's going, they don't know how much is gone, and it's all nontransparent and extremely suspicious."

Hamsher is organizing an online petition drive to press lawmakers to block further bank bailout funds. The Obama administration has signaled that it anticipates needing more funds to stabilize the nation's banking system.

A group of nearly 80 House Democrats took the unusual step of publicly sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Monday, calling on him to block AIG's bonus payments.

"These kinds of abuses of the public trust will only threaten any future efforts by President Obama's Administration to intervene in the financial markets," they wrote.

Allowing the payments to go through would leave the president in a difficult political spot.

"He's walking down a very, very dangerous path right now," liberal activist and author David Sirota told ABCNews.com. "It betrays the exact problem that people are angry at -- that there's one set of rules for Wall Street and Washington and another set of rules for everybody else."

"It's becoming real, what the difference is between Obama's rhetoric about power coming from outside of Washington, and the reality of an administration filled with Washington and Wall Street insiders," Sirota said.