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Tighten reins on top bonuses

February 04, 2009

Re "Obama slams Wall St. bonuses," Jan. 30

It's good that President Obama is blasting the $18.4 billion given in Wall Street executive bonuses last year -- but why doesn't he ask for legislation to make sure that this never happens again?

Obama calls these bonuses the "height of irresponsibility" and "shameful."

Shaming doesn't work with these people. They need to hear that it is illegal to give bonuses to employees at financial institutions that have received taxpayer bailout money.

M. Christine Moore

Tustin

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In defending the billions paid in bonuses last year, Wall Street executives said they have to pay bonuses to keep the best people. Their companies are in ruins and need government bailouts because of reckless and irresponsible deals. How good can these people be?

M. J. Johnson

San Luis Obispo

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There has been a lot of bad publicity lately about Wall Street bonuses. As someone who has been in the business for more than 30 years in middle management, here is a truth that I don't think anybody is aware of: In middle management, we work more than 60 hours a week and are grossly underpaid for what we do. We depend on performance-based bonuses to make ends meet. Bonuses are how Wall Street gets away with paying us so little. Our jobs are high stress and carry great responsibility, and many times lead to burnout and high turnover.

We all agree that these highly compensated executives who have led us down an irresponsible path should not receive bonuses. But please don't forget about us -- the ones in the trenches each and every day who make these companies work. We depend on our bonuses to reach a lifestyle we couldn't attain with the basic pay that is given us.

Douglas Amato

Woodland Hills

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