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American Opinion

On payments to executives at firms receiving bailout funding:

Save some outrage for other bailouts ... Don't let AIG madness blind you to the other ridiculously wasteful spending going on. ...

Consider, for example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the twin mortgage finance titans that some people blame for setting the table for much of the current economic crisis.

The companies were seized by federal regulators in the fall and have sought out $15.2 billion and $44.8 billion in bailout funds, respectively.

So where is that money going?

Fannie Mae disclosed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to The Associated Press, that it is planning bonuses of $470,000 to $611,000 for four top executives, on top of their base salaries this year. ...

What is wrong with these people? Who really thinks people who drive their businesses to the brink of extinction and the worldwide economy to the brink of collapse deserve bonuses in the half-million-dollar range?

True, these bonuses are spare change compared to what some of the boneheads at AIG received, but that doesn't make it any less deserving of your wrath. ...

When it comes to Fannie and Freddie, the money has not been given to the executives yet. And if Americans make enough noise to their elected officials, maybe it never will be given to them. ...

-- Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, N.J.

On help for auto parts suppliers:

... (T)he Obama White House announced the creation of a $5 billion fund to aid battered auto parts suppliers. The money will arrive not a moment too soon. Many suppliers stand on the verge of bankruptcy, their struggles linked to the severe financial troubles of the American auto industry, their largest customer. The federal money will guarantee payments to parts firms for products already shipped to automakers.

The larger hope is, the decision to establish the fund suggests the way the Obama will handle the fate of Chrysler and General Motors. ...

Follow the logic of the aid to parts suppliers, and the task force appears to see the wisdom of avoiding bankruptcy for Chrysler and General Motors. ...

... American automakers have improved the quality of their cars. They have plunged into hybrids. Workers have made substantial concessions to advance productivity. No question, the road ahead is long and difficult. At the same time, the industry has made the necessary start, and now should receive federal help to continue pressing forward.

-- Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal

On border protection:

Facing grave domestic issues that dominate his agenda, President Obama must be given credit for devoting at least part of his attention to our southern neighbor.

The president said he would meet with his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, in Mexico next month, to discuss proposals on how to fight the drug wars along the border. ...

Soon after his inauguration, Obama pledged to help Mexico in its bloody battle against the drug cartels a vow that this trip may go a long way toward fulfilling.

Concrete proposals may result from the meeting, but the symbolism of the visit cannot be dismissed; it shows that both presidents recognize the problem must be assaulted on two fronts, Mexico and the United States.

-- San Antonio (Texas)


On bills to snatch back AIG, bank bonuses:

The government can't be allowed to pass laws levying extraordinarily punitive taxes on tiny groups of people, particularly not when it is doing so to cover up its own incompetence.

... (L)egislators tried to do just that, introducing bills that would snatch back "bonuses" paid to AIG employees and workers at other bailout-buoyed banks. ...

It can seem like justice to tax these bonuses away. That's the populist point lawmakers are trying to make as they try to distract voters from the fact that they voted in favor of paying these bonuses. And no one deserves a bonus for doing a poor job, but there's more to think about ...

It has become clear the president and key legislators knew of these specific AIG payouts all along. It would be nice if the president and legislators spent a little less time on fake, retroactive anger at payouts they approved, and a little more time crafting the laws and policies that might prevent the next disaster.

-- Spartanburg (S.C.)