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Banks About To Become Political Punching Bags?

The latest move out of Washington suggests once again, lawmakers are less than happy with Wall Street.

According to the WSJ, the Obama administration is considering levying a fee on banks to recoup more of the taxpayer funds spent to rescue the financial system.

"I'm not championing the banks," says OptionMonster Jon Najarian on Fast Money's Halftime Report, but that's exactly wrong thing to be doing right now."

And we’re not just talking AIG or other financial services firms that are still in the TARP program. The paper said the fee could hit big banks that have already repaid their TARP funds.

The commentary suggests that banks may become political punching bags as Wall Street bonus season begins in earnest this week.

As the nation struggles to emerge from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, many Wall Street firms are expected to award massive bonuses – in the case of Goldman Sachs $18 billion – which averages to $600,000 per employee.

Workers in the investment bank of JPMorgan stand to collect about $463,000 on average, writes the New York Times.

And those kinds of salaries have Main Street outraged considering for a good part of 2009 many of these same banks needed federal aid to stay afloat.

“I don’t think the furor over bonus season has peaked,” says Fast Money trader Zach Karabell on the Halftime Report. “I’m very concerned about possible Congressional action. If bonuses get out of hand in an election cycle Wall Street is an easy target.”

Even some industry veterans are astonished.

“There is nothing I’ve seen that gives me the slightest feeling that these people have learned anything from the crisis,” Citigroup founder John Reed told the Times. “They just don’t get it. They are off in a different world.”

What do you think? We want to know!



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Trader disclosure: On January 11th, 2010, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Seymour Owns (TM), (TTM), (AAPL), (BAC), (F), (INTC), (TSL); Najarian Owns (BP), Is Short (BP) Calls; Najarian Owns (CELG); Najarian Owns (FCX), Is Short (FCX) Calls; Najarian Owns (LDK); Najarian Owns (MS); Najarian Owns (PCX); Najarian Owns (PFE); Najarian Owns (SOLF) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (TEVA); Najarian Owns (TTWO) Call Spread; Terranova Is Short (AA) Jan. Put Spread, Is Long (AA) Feb. Put Spreads; Terranova Is Long Copper Backwardation Futures: Long May 2010, Short July 2010; Terranova Is Short Feb. Crude Oil Futures; Terranova Owns March British Pound Futures; Terranova Owns (XHB) March Puts; Terranova Owns (QCOM), (MSFT), (EMC), (FTO), (XOM), (BAC); Terranova Is Short (CMA), (JCI), (CAL), (ESS), (ICE), (SHLD)

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