Letters: Salary Cap Plan, Paulson, Children's Music

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Listeners responded to the story on a proposed $400,000 salary cap for those executives whose companies accept the Wall Street bailout. They also responded to the profile of Henry Paulson and the interview with children's music blogger Stefan Shepherd.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Time now for your emails.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The topic that has overwhelmed our inbox this week is, not surprisingly, the financial bailout. Yesterday, before talk of a possible deal on executive pay, we mentioned John McCain's proposal that executives who take the bailout money should not be paid more than the highest-paid government employee. That would be the president, who makes $400,000 a year.

BLOCK: Our reporter, Robert Smith, remarked that $400,000 would be pocket change for a corporate executive living in New York.

ROBERT SMITH: At that salary, these guys could only afford a mortgage on an apartment for about $1.5 million. I'm standing in front of a real estate bulletin board with all the listings in front of it. And there's a fellow New Yorker here, Jimmy Chalk(ph, who's going to help us decode this. What are they going to get? They're not going to be able to afford this penthouse?

Mr. JIMMY CHALK: No Tribeca condo penthouse, no West Chelsea penthouse.

NORRIS: Well, some of you were not amused.

BLOCK: Robert Gibson(ph) of Tucson writes, "I'm sorry. I have zero sympathy for these obscenely well-paid individuals." He continues, "$400,000 per year is hardly impoverished. Our household brings in just under $80,000 a year. We have one little boy, a two-bedroom house and two small cars. We don't have everything we would like to have, but we get by fairly well most of the time."

NORRIS: Julia Cardelli(ph) of Denver heard my interview with Newsweek columnist Daniel Gross about just who Henry Paulson is. She has this to say.

BLOCK: "I am certainly impressed with his intelligence and diligence, but I couldn't help thinking that putting this man in charge of fixing the banking mess is tantamount to having the fox guard the hen house. Yes, the fox knows where the weak points are, but is he motivated to fix them or just exploit them?"

NORRIS: Meanwhile, Paul Oddrin(ph) of Princeton, Massachusetts, calls the interview pure puff. He writes, "This person was CEO at Goldman Sachs, and that's presented as a good thing? Now after the economy sank on his watch, he wants dictatorial powers over nearly a trillion dollars. How naive you sound."

BLOCK: On a very different note, Elizabeth Clarke(ph) of St. Louis enjoyed my conversation earlier this week with children's music blogger Stefan Shepherd. Shepherd introduced us to some new kids' music made by artists better known among grown-ups.

NORRIS: Clarke tells us, "It was such a refreshing change from all things political and financial. I don't have children, but I might buy one of these CDs so I can have a daily break on my car ride home."

BLOCK: Well, we hope that means she doesn't stop listening to All Things Considered.

NORRIS: Sarah Schlicter(ph) of western Connecticut has this to add about one of the groups Stefan Shepherd brought to our attention.

BLOCK: "The Nields have been one of our family's favorite bands for years. We discovered this summer that they have children's albums, and my husband says it saved our marriage." She goes on. "We now have excellent children's music for our 3-year-old on long car trips. What a delight to hear them on NPR."

NORRIS: We hope you will write to us when you're delighted or even far from that. Go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on "Contact Us" at the top of the page. And please don't forget to tell us where you're from and how to pronounce your name.

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