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Business Letters

Lacking a bank account is no big deal

December 06, 2009

Re: "Many shun use of banks, FDIC finds," Dec 3:

The story about the first-ever federal survey of how consumers use financial services proves yet again that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Are the 25.6% who, according to the Web headline, "use conventional banks little or not at all" prevented from opening a bank account? Apparently not, since most of them have accounts but don't use them. Services such as payday loans better meet their needs.

A better headline would have been, "7.7% of households choose not to have a bank account." But that wouldn't be very attention-grabbing. Because it's not a big problem.

Michael Freed


Decline of news is Murdoch's fault

Re: "Murdoch accuses Google of news theft," Dec. 2:

When I heard Rupert Murdoch complain that Google's looting of news articles has contributed to the industry's decline, I had to laugh.

It has been my impression that Murdoch himself has been the No. 1 contributor to the news industry's decline. He made his fortune from tabloids in Australia and Britain, then parlayed that into the establishment of cheap, fast and out-of-control cable news. That biased, talking-head journalism set the low watermark that the lemming news outlets followed.

Dan Chapman

Culver City

Are dead zones a contract breach?

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "350 reasons you can’t ditch your smart phone," Dec. 2:

Excellent column about Verizon's doubling its early-termination fee for high-end handsets to $350. I agree that a penalty is appropriate for customers who breach contracts.

But how about dropped calls and dead zones? Isn't the carrier obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract? My AT&T coverage is terrible.

Marty Laffer

Beverly Hills

Bad portent for healthcare plan

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Insured drivers caught in a jam," Nov. 29:

You recently reported that 18% of California drivers lack insurance as of two years ago. This portends trouble for the insurance mandates in both the House and Senate heathcare proposals.

To assume almost total compliance with a mandate is foolhardy and cynical. Does Congress really think the uninsured will sign up? Health insurance is far more costly than auto insurance. The only way it will work is to refuse treatment, even in emergency rooms, absent proof of coverage. I doubt the country is ready for that.

William Bradshaw

San Diego

Spending makes recessions worse

Re: Michael Hiltzik's business column "Mining for gold in your closet," Nov. 26:

Michael Hiltzik calls the gold standard "a policy that surely contributed to the severity of the Great Depression." Actually, the severity was caused by the Roosevelt administration's raising taxes and promoting welfare programs. What got us out of the depression was World War II. Hiltzik thinks government spending is the way out of a recession. So wrong.

Bob Guarrera

Laguna Niguel

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