The Baltimore Sun

Blame politicians for the bonuses

Let me see if I've got this right: I'm supposed to be OK with the 9,000-plus earmarks in the president's budget proposal because the total amount earmarked is such a small percentage of the total, even though the spending will be on such things as studying swine odor and the DNA of catfish.

But I'm supposed to be outraged because AIG is spending less than 1 percent of the total bailout dollars it received to pay contractual bonus obligations, obligations that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd helped to exempt from regulation ("Tax on bonuses eyed," March 18).

And now our benevolent leaders want us to believe that they want to get that money back for the taxpayers? Who are they kidding? Is there no end to the hubris of Capital Hill?

D. Pazourek, Sparks

A 100 percent tax would recoup funds

Here's a quick fix for the bailout money spent on bonuses: If the government immediately enacted a law requiring all bonuses paid from bailout money be taxed at 100 percent and payable by April 15, the money could be back to the Treasury quickly ("Tax on bonuses eyed," March 18).

Bonuses are for a job well done. A job poorly done should result in dismissal.

Patricia A. Leepa, Ellicott City

Remember abuse of bailout money

I find it amazing that none of the letters about the AIG bonuses published on March 18 made any critical comments about our senators and representatives who allowed the bailout money to be paid to AIG without strings attached to forbid such bonuses.

Now our elected officials are pointing fingers at AIG employees who met the criteria for bonuses and want them to either return the money or be taxed at a very high rate ("Tax on bonuses eyed," March 18).

The next time we vote, let's remember their lack of control of the taxpayer money used to solve the economic mess they helped create.

Ron Wirsing, Havre de Grace

Bad drivers pose far greater threat

Michael Dresser's column "Protect those pesky cyclists? Yes." (March 16) propagates the kinds of negative stereotypes about bicyclists that keep people in their cars. His choice of language will only help ensure the defeat of Del. John S. Cardin's bill to protect cyclists.

Mr. Dresser notes that bicyclists run red lights, drive the wrong way on one-way streets and don't follow the rules of the road. Yes, some cyclists do, and so do some drivers. People who do this kind of thing should be ticketed by the police. But when was the last time you heard about an accident, death or serious injury to anybody but the bicyclist as a result of such actions? Rarely, if ever.

The Baltimore Sun regularly writes about drivers running red lights and stop signs, driving aggressively and driving drunk who cause the death and serious injury of people in motor vehicles, motorcycle riders, bicyclists and pedestrians. Those are habits of drivers that I find "irksome" and "obnoxious."

Mr. Dresser also calls helmets "dweeby." I wear a helmet and high-visibility vest to reduce the chance of winding up with brain damage or walking with a cane as a result of an accident caused by some driver who ran a red light, drove drunk or passed me too closely.

Charles M. Fitzpatrick, Baltimore

Biking next to cars just plain foolhardy

I cannot understand why anyone would bicycle on a road accompanied by cars ("Protect those pesky cyclists? Yes," March 16).

Do these people have a death wish? It's just plain foolhardy. It's like swimming in an area where you know there are sharks.

This is environmentalism run amok.

Joyce C. Robinson, Glen Burnie

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