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Critics of the Federal Reserve; L.A. County's plastic bag ban; unemployment benefits that are running out

November 25, 2010

Fed up with the Fed

Re "Bernanke bashers," Opinion, Nov. 19

I almost fell out of my chair when I read that Rep. Ron Paul is portraying the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, as socialists.

Wait, what?

Is this the same Bernanke who is an admirer of Alan Greenspan and Milton Friedman, champions of deregulation?

Is this the same Fed that has been shirking its regulatory duties for the past 30 years, and has led us to more economic inequality than this country has seen in almost 100 years?

Is this the same Fed that has helped bail out some of the biggest private banks and insurance firms?

Is that socialism? Because it sounds more like fascism to me.

Quinn Sullivan

Los Angeles

I had to stop when I read that Weekly Standard editor William Kristol advocates a "return to the economic principles of the Founding Fathers."

Really? Back to the policies of a largely agrarian economy based on no-cost slave labor? Has he heard about the Internet, intertwined global trade and finance, nano-technology, biotech, Silicon Valley and China? Shall we send our kids to the little red schoolhouse up the road as well? What are Kristol and his ilk thinking?

Let's use the Founding Fathers — and the Constitution, for that matter — as a framework and inspiration, not as a literal role model for our future.

Liz Fautsch


I am not sure I understand Jacob Heilbrunn's point. Paul and his conservative followers have been proved correct in their criticism of Bernanke and the Fed — that too much money has been printed — and now we are supposed to ignore these critics?

They have been exactly right on the "money," and we aren't supposed to listen to them. If I understand this piece correctly, it just does not make sense to me.

Robert Ligon

La Crescenta

Banned in Los Angeles

Re "Holes in the bag ban," Editorial, Nov. 19

L.A. County's plastic bag ban is a "feel good" policy that will make things worse.

Many years ago the Sierra Club did a study comparing the life cycles of plastic and paper and found that plastic was less damaging to the environment. The only serious downside to the use of plastic was when it gets into bodies of water, where it can be ingested by or entrap aquatic creatures.

If you really want to save the environment, turn the heat down, use recycling containers, trade in gas-guzzling "blimp-mobiles" and move from McMansions to more sustainable housing.

Unfortunately, most are interested in feeling good while expecting others to do good. We need to grow up.

Chris Daly


I voted against the plastic bag ban based on the fact that it is not sound public policy and because it increases costs and regulations for the

1.5 million residents and the businesses who happen to reside in the county's unincorporated areas. The mandated 10-cent charge for paper bags represents a new tax on the consumer.

At a time of economic uncertainty, this is not the appropriate time to impose additional regulations on businesses and an additional tax on consumers, many of whom are unemployed.

We should instead educate consumers about the harm of illegally disposing their plastic bags so that they don't end up on our beaches and in our rivers, parks and landfills.

Telling residents what bags they can and cannot use and how much they must be charged is Big Brother at its worst.

Michael D. Antonovich

Los Angeles

The writer is a Los Angeles County supervisor, 5th District.

No jobless check in the mail

Re "Sticking it to the unemployed," Editorial, Nov. 18

Why does The Times focus on extending unemployment benefits to those who qualify for payments because they once held jobs? It doesn't help recent college graduates if Congress extends unemployment insurance.

Not all of them are blessed with parents who provide food and shelter. Some graduates give up looking for jobs. Those who work as "freelancers" get to pay double into Social Security and Medicare.

Tom Novinson


Suppose that today, many find themselves parceling out food, hoping it will last for tomorrow.

And suppose the rent is due, and suppose Christmas is coming, and suppose they don't even have a chimney, and they read that a group of fat cats in Washington has voted against stretching out a bit of unemployment money.

And suppose they see the same fat cats bravely stand together to fight for the wealthiest.

"What a revolting development this is!"

Jean Thorpe

Marina del Rey

Gold-plated cathedral

Re "Creditors question church's spending," Nov. 18

By quoting someone stating that "church staffs are not always as bottom-line-oriented as a business would be," it appears The Times misses the point about the Crystal Cathedral's bankruptcy.

The essence of the problem is that the church leadership apparently has been unusually bottom-line oriented. Otherwise, it is hard to explain these elaborate and questionable practices in paying proper taxes and compensating the inner circle.

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