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Economic corrections

January 24, 2008

Re "If you're in debt, you're in luck," Jan. 23

If you maxed out your credit cards buying big-screen plasma TVs and iPhones and taking vacations you couldn't afford, took a home equity loan to buy a BMW or some other luxury car you couldn't afford, or without a second thought took a teaser loan to buy a house you normally couldn't afford, your unwillingness to face reality has been rewarded by an unprecedented Federal Reserve interest rate slash.

But if you put money away to pay for vacations and retirement, pay your bills on time, survive in retirement on CDs and Treasury bills and live within your means, you're the big loser.

Am I the only one who thinks things are topsy-turvy here? Shouldn't we reward people who live responsibly?

The small monthly drop in our mortgage payments is far outweighed by the severe plunge in interest rates that will have a huge effect on those living on fixed incomes. It's time the government rewarded those of us who didn't take a bite of the apple.

Lewis S. Snow

La Crescenta

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Re "Economic stimulus deal seen as a priority," Jan. 21

The same folks in Washington who helped give the economy its current problems have now proposed a $150-billion stimulus package to correct them.

The theory used to be that the federal government would run surpluses during the upturn of the business cycle and use them to stimulate the economy during the downturns. Now that Washington is running continuous deficits, it will have to borrow the money to finance the stimulus. In effect, it is taking money from the economy with its left hand and putting it back with its right hand.

The old theory also was based on the notion that Americans' use of the stimulus money would have a multiplier effect in the domestic economy. Now, in the age of globalization, any additional consumer spending caused by the stimulus may benefit foreign economies more than ours.

George Moss

Columbus, Ohio

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My wife's grandchildren, ages 9 and 13, don't understand that they will have to pay for the state budget deficit, even though the schools are inadequate and the parks are being closed. They don't understand that they will have to pay for the federal budget deficit, or that the federal government lives just like a family -- a family that has an average credit card debt of about $8,000. They don't understand that they are going to have to pay for the stimulus program of $150 billion in "targeted" tax cuts, which I plan to use to pay for a trip my wife and I were going to take anyway.

Someday they will understand, and they will curse us for having put their future in jeopardy. I am waiting for my elected officials to tell them that we are foisting this burden on them and that they have no say in the matter.

We don't need tax cuts and rebates nearly as much as we need responsible leaders with the courage to stand up for fiscal responsibility in a way that protects basic services.

Brian Sheppard

Encino

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