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Sharing the financial pain

September 19, 2008

Re "Fed rescues giant insurer AIG," Sept. 17

Daily, fortunes are made and lost on paper -- stocks, bonds and other financial instruments. But the underlying value of productive companies remains unaffected by the paper blizzard of the trading floor.

Wild share-price fluctuations can be triggered by as little as an article. The trader buys and sells on these fluctuations like a surfer catching a wave, but he doesn't change the basic value of a company, measured in productivity, market share and profit.

Large Wall Street firms have collapsed or are teetering because they're built on nothing but paper. Millions of people -- investors large and small, home buyers, retirees -- are going to share the pain of the fired Wall Street employees who march forlornly with their boxes of desktop detritus.

When the catharsis has run its course, however, we'll have a stronger, healthier financial marketplace -- if government has the wisdom to impose ironclad restrictions on borrowing, lending and trading.

Jack Bailey

Studio City

Welcome to the corporate capitalism of the new millennium: Privatize the profits and socialize the problems. Whatever happened to risk and accountability in the market?

When it comes to large financial institutions, what we have here, folks, is socialism. It's just you and I who still have to fend for ourselves.

K.F. Lisovsky

Venice

'm operating in a deficit, have way too much debt to manage, my income has dropped steadily and I'm selling off assets on Craigslist.

Why can't I get a bailout? Say, 85 grand?

I'll totally pay it back.

Mike Beatrice

Venice

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