NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- "NO NO NO. Not just no, but HELL NO," writes Richard, a reader from Anchorage, Alaska.
"This is robbery pure and simple," Anna from Denver posted on CNNMoney.com's TalkBack blog this weekend.
"It's our money! Let these companies die," added Claudio from Plainville, Conn.
After President Bush petitioned Congress Saturday for the authority to spend up to $700 billion to to bail out a financial industry on the verge of collapse, he said the high price tag was not only justified, but essential.
"It is a big package because it's a big problem," Bush told reporters at a news conference. "The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package."
But when asked what they thought of the government's proposal, most readers gave an overwhelming thumbs down.
"I'm tired of rewarding institutions and people for the bad decisions they have made," said Dean from Madison, Wis. "Sure, it will hurt tax payers if/when some of these institutions fail, but perhaps we need to let that happen. We do not need more big government involved in our lives. Enough is enough."
Don't hand me the tab
Readers focused most of their indignation on having to foot the bill for irresponsible lenders and borrowers.
"Companies, like individuals, should be held responsible for their decisions," wrote Jorge from El Paso, Texas. "This buyout does not address the other problems in the pipeline such as personal credit default and market slowdowns in most industries. No new jobs will be created."
Paul from Portsmouth, N.H., said banks are getting the soft treatment when taxpayers are suffering.
"It is time for the financial institutions of this country to be called to the mat. We should be expecting and demanding responsible and ethical business practice, not rewarding it at the expense of taxpayers."
And John from Springfield, Va., said the government action actually hurts the people it is intended to help.
"The government does not have $700 billion dollars. WE have $700 billion, and it is being taken from us. If this is passed then the next administration and the next will be extracting this one from the people who are supposedly being protected by this bailout."
Where's my bailout?
Other readers wanted to know why the government didn't spend the $700 billion investment on the majority of responsible Americans who are suffering because of the bad bets of the few.
"Why not take the billions and ... make funds available to home owners stuck in the loans these idiots created, marketed and sold," asked Don from Coarsegold, Calif. "It will put the money where it should be with the little guy who made a mistake, instead of the big guy who created the problem."
Jordan from Charlestown, Ind., asked why different rules applied to big banks and ordinary investors.
"Once I invested in something and lost money. Maybe I could just change the rules of investing so that my loss turns into a gain? Oh, I forgot only banks can do that!"
Vote these jerks out
Some readers said it was time for the politicians who support the bailout to get the heave-ho come November.
"I will be watching to see which of our representatives vote for this bailout," said R. Kidd in Troy, N.C. "Let the American people see how many we can fire come election time."
And many readers, including Danny from Texas said we should stop typing and start dialing the lawmakers who are prepared to give the OK to the bailout.
"Call your Congressman. Stop blogging, posting comments, and call your congressman. This is the patriotic thing to do. Let them hear your opinion, show them this is still America and that you will not stand for this!!"
A necessary sacrifice
But not all readers agreed. Some thought the bailout was an unfortunate but necessary move to rescue our financial system from collapse.
For instance, Bill from St. Louis said he changed his mind about the bailout when he realized the consequences of doing nothing.
"I was opposed to the bailout at first, but realized that the scope of this thing is global and so massive that the entire global economy could collapse if nothing was done. ...The priority has to be resolving the present crisis of confidence in our economy. Remember, if Wall Street collapses, Main Street will go with it."
Andy from Chicago said the cost to the taxpayer will not be what the headline number makes it seem.
"This money is not a handout to companies. It's simply giving banks and mortgage companies loans, since the banking system itself is too unstable to raise this kind of capital. And no, the government cannot just use the $700 billion to pay back all the citizens that will be hurt by this. If the companies like AIG fail, the cost will be far far greater than $700 billion. Wake up!!"
And Surfta from Brooklyn, N.Y., says the government action is really not a bailout at all.
"It's NOT a bailout. The government is not handing out cash, they actually stand to make a great deal of money out of this, which will trickle down to YOU. First priority should be to try to control and fix the problem, then regulate sufficiently to make sure this NEVER happens again."
First Published: September 21, 2008: 2:07 PM EDT
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