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What Do You Think?

March 29, 2009

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. 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: Do you think the government should impose a special tax on millions of dollars in employee bonuses paid by AIG and other companies that were bailed out by taxpayer dollars?

"I am not usually a proponent of special taxing, but in this case I will vote 'YES.'"

"Washington put those provisions in there, they should be held responsible for them. I do believe there are a few places in the Constitution which specifically forbids taxation of a specified group of people. But hey, it's only the constitution ... Right?"

"I voted 'no' because taxing the bonuses is not fixing the root of the problem. There shouldn't have been bonuses with taxpayer money in the first place, but Congress HAD to rush this stuff through."

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"I voted yes, but after reading some responses from you all, I am really not sure what should happen. They never should have got the money, but you should not go against the Constitution whenever you want. There should have been a stipulation on the money that there would be no bonuses to all in the company. If you need help, you must not be doing good enough to EARN bonuses."

"AIG should have never received any tax dollars in the first place. This idea of a special tax scares me."

The second question was: Are you participating in an NCAA tournament pool?

"I filled out a bracket and have 14 of the Sweet 16 remaining."

"Yes, but just for fun, no money invested. (North) Carolina vs. Louisville in the final game. Carolina wins, 68-63."

"I have an issue with sports taking the No. 1 place in this country when it should be education. If we valued education as much as sports, our children would study more and we would have more successful educated people to fill the higher paying jobs like engineers and medical personnel. We also overpay athletes who entertain us rather than engineers and other personnel who provide needed services."

"Basketball ... just as boring as golf and tennis."

The third question is: Should the federal government be given the power to regulate and/or take over financial giants whose collapse could imperil the entire economy?

"While I don't have a solid reason why, I say no. Because politicians and the government are just as likely to mismanage money and use it for their own benefit as a private institution. Perhaps they should have a say in guiding businesses, or make it harder for a company to just declare bankruptcy or something ... but taking it over seems like swapping one devil for the other."

"It's a double-edged sword, but I said 'yes.' It's not that I necessarily want the government to take over financial giants, but considering the alternative, I'd say it's the better choice."

"I said yes because of the second clause. Unfortunately, the banks have become too big through takeovers and mergers, which means if they get into trouble through risky investments and the market starts a downward spiral, then goodbye people's retirement funds."

"The Fed has turned itself into the largest commercial bank in the world over the last six months. We've forgotten about what the founding fathers stood for. They stood for limited government with government standing out of the way of the free enterprise system."

"It's a no-win situation. We either have a government that controls everything or we lose all of our retirement. One solution would be to start saving your money and burying it in jars in the backyard. Forget the banks!"

"Well, we saw the effects of no regulation during the Bush years, and as previously stated, we are still seeing the effects in our retirement accounts, so I'd say yes to increased regulation and takeover only if it's absolutely necessary."

"And that's the Catch-22 ... help the people that caused this mess for the greater good? Or make them pay for their own mistake even if others have to go down with them?"

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