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The next economic crisis; Angel Stadium's workers; improving Metrolink

August 10, 2011
  • The plunge: Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange await the closing bell Monday.
The plunge: Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange await the… (Justin Lane, EPA )

The U.S. and its debt

Re "Stocks plunge worldwide," Aug. 9

President Obama may insist that Standard & Poor's was wrong in its credit risk assessment and that the U.S. is still an AAA country.

Yet House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) remarked that that the S&P downgrade is the "the latest consequence of out-of-control spending that has taken place in Washington for decades." Even China has communicated that "the U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone."

What's clear is that our bungling politicians and a broken political system have put the U.S. in a vulnerable position.

Marc Branson


S&P was largely responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, and it is responsible for this one as well. Its hubris and irresponsibility are astonishing. That anyone gives S&P any mind is pitiful. It is a private company whose own financial goals are its only interest.

It ratings are much like the FICO scores that everyone lives and dies by, that everyone has "bought into" without any understanding about what goes into setting an artificial number or what makes it change. It's like the Wizard of Oz — the man behind the curtain.

We've allowed ourselves to be led and manipulated by an invisible man and given ourselves over to his whims and his and self-interest — to our own detriment.

Stephany Yablow

North Hollywood

Every time Republicans blame Obama for this crisis, let's show the tape of Boehner bragging that he got 98% of what he wanted from the debt negotiations.

Robert Profaca

Long Beach

Corporate priorities

Re "Firms invest abroad to grow," Aug. 8

Companies are relocating and investing where the new markets for their products are. This is hardly a temporary trend. It signals that our country's economic future is bleak without some miracle like the dot-com revolution.

Given the realities, we have no choice but to significantly reduce our federal spending and eliminate tax incentives that help fuel the exit of jobs. Other no-brainers include trimming our vast military spending overseas, reducing farm subsidies and closing tax loopholes.

Right now we are being led by a weakened president and a dysfunctional Congress. We are certainly looking at an extremely bumpy ride. Without big changes, the American Dream may be a lost cause.

Thomas Oatway


What a chilling front-page story. It's no secret that American corporations have gone overseas to profit from cheaper labor and lower costs; but now, they have delivered the coup de gras in replacing us as consumers.

The article states that corporations "see consumers in Asia and Latin America as offering brighter prospects for future sales and profits." It sounds like some American corporations have decided that we the people of the United States are no longer needed. I think it's time to rethink our priorities.

Mitch Faris


Setting a fair rate of pay

Re "Paying the little guy in peanuts," Business, Aug. 7

Businesses are not charities. They are entities created to generate returns for the people who risked their own money, perhaps everything they own in the world, to try and create a successful enterprise. For those who manage to succeed, I have no issue with them reaping the rewards of their hard work.

Employees have the ultimate leverage. If they don't like the wages or conditions, they can leave. In the case of the Angel Stadium workers, as Hiltzik points out, most of these people are supplementing retirement incomes and taking on second jobs. And with all due respect, these jobs are not highly specialized positions that would be difficult to fill.

So let the market determine wages rather than a collective that threatens to shut down the stadium if they are not overpaid for their contributions.

Tom Fournier

Rolling Hills Estates

Hiltzik's article highlights the lack of the trickle-down effect when companies do well. The Angels increased their value this year 6%, yet the people who work with the fans see none of that money.

Some corporations have large numbers of employees working less than part time so benefits don't need to be paid. They take a lot from the community and give little back. It's a rising tide that raises only the stockholders' boats.

Susan Soto-Campos

Culver City

Too few trains

Re "Righting a troubled railroad," Aug. 7

I applaud Metrolink Chief Executive John Fenton's desire to "go in and see how you can make things better." I suggest that one way to increase ridership is to make trains frequent enough for people to consider abandoning their cars.

For example, living in Oxnard, we can take Metrolink to L.A., but if we want to go to a concert or any evening activity, we cannot get back to Oxnard that night, as trains stop running at 6:40 p.m. from L.A. There's no service at all on weekends.

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