What Do You Think?

November 30, 2008

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week there were three poll questions. The first question was: Should the United States increase the number of troops it has in Afghanistan?

"The war in Afghanistan is a no-win situation. The answer lies in talking to the Taliban, something Barack (Obama) has already advocated. A protracted military engagement should be avoided like a plague."

"Afghanistan should be in the hands of the United Nations. It's time for a fresh approach dealing with terrorism. The U.S. has to consider the difficult situation we're in economically. Putting American forces in a country that poses no imminent threat to us may not be the best option at this time."


"Stop sending 10 billion a week on these false wars and focus on pressing matters here at home. Violence in Afghanistan is worse since 2001 and for every Taliban killed, 10 step up in his place. Centuries of ethnic problems in a foreign land, which we think we can miraculously solve with violence? Come now. The 'war on terror' should be fought by intelligence forces, not our troops. Again, it is ludicrous to think we can solve these major problems in the Middle East when these countries are already so divided."

The second question was: Do you agree with the government plan to bail out Citigroup by providing the company with $20 billion?

"Where is the money coming from? A trillion dollars has been committed for bailouts and it is money the U.S. doesn't have. ... If bailouts are going to be given away (I don't believe the taxpayers will ever see it again), we might as well help the local companies, too. But the bailouts are happening against the will of the people who are paying the bill."

"No way! These bailouts are for companies that have made billions of dollars just a few years ago. If they can't manage their money better, that is on them. These handouts are conveniently called 'bailouts' even though this money will probably never be paid back. Citi definitely should not get one because they are crooks and make their money off of high-interest credit card interest."

"Is it a gift or a loan? Make them pay a loan back. Just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be doing. Make the people running the place into the ground retire without a bonus. It's the worker that gets laid off, and the big shots, with the larger-than-life salaries, that stay employed."

"I am sorry for those people who will lose their jobs over this ... the little people who have nothing to do with how the company might have been mismanaged or whatever. But we just can't keep bailing out everybody. If I am fiscally irresponsible, no one is going to bail me out. Fixing my finances will be my problem. What we need are some CEOs with some morals and integrity who feel some responsibility toward the other employees and who are motivated by that responsibility to keep things financially sound."

The third question was: Should top executives of companies accepting government bailouts receive bonuses this year?

"What is happening to this country? It's not just about bonuses for this year. Goldman Sachs gave $19 billion in bonuses just last year and now they need us to bail them out? And that's just one firm, mind you. ... Capitalism is dead, democracy is dead and my retirement account is a couple blips away from flat lining. Big thanks to our government, Democrats and Republicans alike.

"Give them a bonus for what? Being so pathetic at their job that they have to have the government bail them out? Geez, they go without a bonus and what does it really cost them? These execs are loaded anyway. Maybe there should be a proviso for their bonuses, but have that bonus distributed to all the average Joes ..."

"Public opinion on this issue is so one-sided it is almost inconceivable for a corporation facing bankruptcy to offer anything more than basic compensation to a CEO. The penalty for doing so could very well be a revocation of the corporate charter. It must be understood that a corporation is allowed to exist solely at the sufferance of the citizenry of the country of its origin. That which the public can grant most certainly by the public can be taken away."

"Giving the 'big' CEOs a bonus at the taxpayers' expense is the same thing as welfare, so to me, I think that the CEOs of the companies should have to march down to the welfare office in their suits and apply for welfare."

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