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Bonus round

March 19, 2009

Re "Ailing AIG stands by need for bonuses," March 15

American International Group says it has to pay bonuses because of its contracts.

Simple: No contract is valid, because the bonus money is not the company's. The bonus money belongs to the American middle class. It's my money and my neighbors' money.

We do not have to honor a "contract" into which we did not enter. We demand that our money not be distributed to the obscenely greedy executives of AIG. Because AIG no longer has any money, other than our money, it no longer gets to write the rules.

Joannie Parker

Los Angeles

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I work in television. Some of the best brains and most creative people are unable to find work now. It's the same for many of my friends in other industries.

I'm sure the "best brains" of the financial industry are happy to have jobs at all -- or they should be -- and I don't see why we have to pay millions in taxpayer dollars to retain them. I'm sure there is currently plenty of talent available.

If I were AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy, I wouldn't pay these bonuses. Let the employees sue. As soon as they do, slap them with a countersuit for fraud. I'm sure we all would love to see these people defend their records and their bonuses in a court of law.

Jeff Gold

Granada Hills

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Re "Hands off the bonus, Obama," Opinion, March 17

Jonah Goldberg argues that taxpayers must subsidize $165 million in bonuses to AIG executives because a contract is a contract.

Logically, then, it's safe to assume that Goldberg and like-minded conservatives also would argue that taxpayers must subsidize the pension and health benefits of retired autoworkers because a contract is a contract.

Right?

Ross Brown

Westlake Village

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Re "U.S. tightens grip on AIG over bonuses," March 18

Washington is awash with bonus fury directed at AIG? I'm sorry, but this seems a badly scripted (or teleprompted) morality play.

President Obama takes more than $100,000 from AIG in contributions in 2008; Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) adds to the bailout bill a clause protecting retention bonuses; Congress votes to accept this clause; Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner approves the bonuses in advance ... and now they are outraged?

It's time to point out that this president and his team are trying to sell us campaign rhetoric. Perhaps this emperor is lacking more than clothes.

Robert Dames

Hollywood

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