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Main Street in a Rage

Responding to our Special Report on the financial meltdown ("Wall Street in Crisis," Oct. 6), readers were especially provoked by "Mad as Hell on Main Street." The article reported on the anger and angst of working people in Allentown, Pa. Lots of readers echoed those feelings—taking aim at both the moneymen and the politicians for what they saw as the free-for-all that led to a costly bailout. Some also blamed the unrich and unpowerful: those who bought a home, or big-ticket items, by taking on debt they couldn't possibly pay back. And some expressed compassion. After reading about a town resident who couldn't afford to see an eye doctor, an ophthalmologist practicing nearby wrote to offer to treat her at no charge. —Susan Berfield

My suggestion is to create a windfall-profits tax on all management compensation that is more than 100 times the average income of a company employee. Managers who want to make a fortune would then have to bring their employees along for the ride.

Screen name: Richard Carter

How many of the CEOs and those who support and need the bailout to keep their jobs opposed social welfare and safety-net programs for the poor, calling such people lazy and unmotivated?

Screen name: Random

Live within your means, people! [The failure to do so] is how this "crisis" was started in the first place.

Screen name: Gerald

Now that the Wall Street corporate welfare bailout plan (a.k.a. The Big Ripoff) has been passed by Congress, does that mean Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is the de facto CEO of the U.S. government?

Screen name: Henry

We taxpayers and investors want CEOs and CFOs to pay dearly for their miscalculations, bad decisions, and personal and corporate greed.

Not only do we want to eliminate huge payouts to the Wall Street crowd, we want their homes and yachts confiscated.

Jerry Metzger

DECATUR, ILL.

I do not mind lifting the bucket to help bail the boat. I do mind lifting the bucket to slop the pigs.

Screen name: John

Rational Self-Interest Is Alive and Well

"Flaws in the Selfish-Worker Theory" (Outside Shot, Oct. 6) opines that homo economicus—the belief that man is motivated by rational self-interest—is erroneous and harmful to business.

The author says most business decisions are emotional and that people are wired to be altruistic. Yet he recounts a conversation with a hot dog vendor who left teaching to work at Costco (COST). Why? Higher pay, a better environment, and the chance for advancement. It would appear that homo economicus is alive and well and selling hot dogs at Costco.

Glenn Pfeiffer

ORANGE, CALIF.

A New RTC? That's Yesterday's Solution

The Resolution Trust Corp. was not created to restructure mortgages and sell off assets over time, as stated in "Time for a New RTC?" (News, Sept. 29).

The RTC liquidated insured savings and loan institutions to pay off depositors' guarantees by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. Initially run by FDIC professionals who knew how to hold garage sales to liquidate banks, the agency was designed to clean out portfolios quickly with the least loss.

Please don't suggest this blitzkrieg approach as a model for today's more complex and systemic crisis.

Roland Freeman

DALLAS


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