Jim Bueche, 50, owner of Jim's Stogies, a cigar shop in Farmingdale

"Their compensation is out of whack with reality. . . . They want us to bail them out because their company is going down, but they still want their large bonuses from us. Instead of bonuses they should be getting unemployment." Though some say the economy is starting to turn around, he said that is not what he is seeing.

Gurnam Dhindsa, 53, of Hicksville, a clerk at Village Stationery in Farmingdale

Dhindsa said tax money should be put into construction projects to benefit the public in the long term. The investment banking industry is partly to blame for the economic crisis, he said, and the public and small businesses are suffering because the banks are not making loans. "There should be a limit on their pay, otherwise they will keep using taxpayer money," Dhindsa said. "If people keep bailing them out, then they never learn a lesson."

Kathy Foley, 45, of Huntington, a former editor studying for a master's degree in special education

"Given the state of the economy, I think those executives should forego their bonuses," Foley said, also noting the big banks were saved by the government's bailout and not by any feat of their own. "The financial industry is what got us into this quagmire."

She later added, "They should be compensated, collect a salary, but I don't think they should get bonuses."

Dania Donaire, 39, a Hempstead housekeeper who runs her own cleaning business

Her housekeeping operation used to work six days a week before the financial crisis, and today it is working four days a week.

"They are talking, but they don't help," Donaire said of the banking chiefs. Of the bonuses, she said, "I don't think it's a good idea because they caused all of this."

Michelle Chan, 19, a Nassau Community College student from East Meadow

The problem, Chan said, is that the government hasn't done much to help the average citizen financially, as it has helped the banks.

"I think everyone should be equal no matter what," Chan said, adding there are students who had to drop out of college because they didn't have the money. "Everyone else should get help."

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