March 18, 2009

Bonus is last thing executives deserve

The enormous taxpayer bailouts of formerly high-flying financial companies, and their highly paid employees, continue to infuriate me ("AIG's bonus payments blasted," March 16).

Leaders of AIG, the outfit that treated employees to a $450,000 junket at a California resort days after receiving billions from you and me, now have the gall to tell us they have to pay bonuses to the very executives who caused this mess.

Have they no shame? Have they no sense of the responsibility they carry for the widespread suffering among people who truly are guiltless, people who did honest work for a reasonable wage and are being punished nevertheless?

Any employee in AIG's financial products division who has a shred of dignity should humbly submit his or her resignation and offer to work to dispose of the remains of that infamous division under terms to be set by the new owner of the company - i.e., you and me.

As long as the party kept humming along and the money kept rolling in, I suppose it was easy for AIG executives to believe it could go on forever, or at least long enough for them to make their fortune before the bubble burst.

Well now it has burst, the gravy train is off the track and the next-to-last thing they deserve is sympathy.

The last thing they deserve is a bonus.

Bill England, Baltimore

Outraged by bailout of failed companies

It was with shock and outrage that I read that insurance giant AIG is planning to pay $165 million in bonuses to executives after receiving billions of dollars in a taxpayer-funded bailout ("AIG's bonus payouts blasted," March 16).

AIG's chairman claims that the company is contractually bound to pay the bonuses or face lawsuits. I say withhold the bonuses and let the executives sue.

If they sue, their names will be made public and they will become pariahs for having the nerve to demand taxpayer-funded bonuses at a time when millions of hardworking Americans are losing their jobs.

I suspect that few of these executives would have the nerve to sue.

Let's call their bluff and see what happens.

D.R. Longway, Towson

I just don't get it. AIG is a failed company with executives who didn't do their job properly and caused the company to fail. American taxpayers are spending their hard-earned dollars to bail the company out, and these same executives who caused the problem in the first place are being rewarded with bonuses to keep them from leaving.

Pray tell, where would they go?

To another failed Wall Street giant also giving bonuses to executives who caused their institution to fail but is now receiving taxpayer money?

Arlene Gordon, Baltimore

Keswick's loss is the city's gain

The decision by the Keswick Multi-Care Center to cancel its proposal to purchase the Baltimore Country Club property and build an outsized facility was greeted by a great sigh of relief from the community in Roland Park ("Keswick drops plan for Roland Park retirement project," March 14).

There are lots of heroes in this matter, but two merit special mention. Sharon Green Middleton, our City Council member, has been zealous in her support of the community, from the first, against any rezoning of the property. And Philip Spevak and the Roland Park Civic League have been organized and on point in all their presentations and discussions, and refused to ever let the conversation stray from the issues into name-calling.

This is all in the best American tradition of informed, involved citizens and elected officials responding prudently to the will of those they serve.

This is a very good day for Baltimore.

Stan Heuisler, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Roland Park Civic League.

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