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The space shuttle Endeavour's final flight; state workers' unused vacation pay; fixing the U.S. trade deficit Letters to the editor

May 18, 2011
  • Taking flight: Spectators react as Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Taking flight: Spectators react as Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy…

Our Endeavour

Re "At last, we have liftoff," May 17

With the shuttle Endeavour in space and its retirement planned to be in L.A., why not land at Edwards Air Force Base at the end of its mission?

Endeavour was built in Palmdale; it should be able to be decommissioned there too. We could save millions in fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions by not transporting Endeavour back from Florida.

Southern California should enjoy its final sonic booms, and landing in Palmdale would make it that much harder for Houston to steal Endeavor from us.

George Saade


Building up vacation time

Re "Unused leave is a drain on state's books," May 15

It is hard for those of us who appreciate that there is no way to balance California's books without both program cuts and tax increases to convince others of this simple truth, when seemingly every day there is a new disclosure showing waste and incompetence — from gross negligence in monitoring our community college building program to allowing state employees to evade the limits on using vacation time and collecting huge payouts when they retire.

We need something like another Little Hoover Commission to focus on these examples of gaming the system, particularly if Sacramento wants taxpayers to agree to tax increases.

Gordon Louttit

Manhattan Beach

The article starts off implying that the state is getting ripped off by its employees. By the end we find out that many of these workers accumulated a lifetime of overtime to earn the payouts, mainly because of budget cuts and layoffs that require overtime work for the remaining employees.

It is true that too many of these payouts are excessive and should be limited. But the implication that its employees are bilking the state adds to the harmful stereotype of state workers. A large majority work hard, earn their pay and then get vilified for it.

Meanwhile, the spotlight is taken away from the huge Wall Street bonuses and tax cuts for billionaires, which pay out thousands of dollars on a daily basis, not just once.

James Wilson


When an employee's leave time is entered in his employment records, the year in which the time is earned and its value in terms of his salary at that time should be recorded. That is what that time is worth — what he would have received had he taken it when it accrued to him — and all he should receive whenever he retires.

Milton Rosen

Rancho Palos Verdes

Let's fix the right deficit

Re "More exports, more jobs," Opinion, May 13

Dimitri B. Papadimitriou is correct that it is the trade deficit, not the federal deficit, that has destroyed jobs. The tax code also provides advantages for corporations to invest outside the U.S.

American businesses must pay income taxes the year they are earned, but those doing business elsewhere can defer paying them until, if ever, they are "repatriated." Businesses in the U.S. get deductions for various fees and taxes, which they pay as a cost of doing business. Foreign investments get tax credits worth much more.

These numerous advantages have been pushed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Thus, together with other groups such as the Business Roundtable,

we have the biggest "job killers."

Emil Lawton

Sherman Oaks

Devaluing the dollar may seem like a painless fix to our economic problems; however, such a move would cause our trading partners to lose a significant amount of the value of our paper and securities they hold. Immediately, prices for oil, imported goods and U.S.-produced goods would increase.

Behind that increase is the very real specter of inflation. Those of us old enough to remember the devastating effects of inflation in the 1970s don't care to go through 19% prime rates again.

The only entity that covets a lower dollar is the federal government, which would be able to pay off maturing debts with dollars cheaper than those loaned out. The problems with our economy and the dollar were created and must be fixed at home. Cheating our trading partners and raising prices for us is, frankly, banana republic conduct.

Stephen E. Olear


Compassion is in short supply

Re "GOP offers an austere budget plan," May 13

I am a registered Republican, but I will not stand behind the state budget plan proposed by the GOP. I will not perpetuate the stigma that we are the party that cares only for the rich.

Where is the compassion for the disabled and the poor? I do not believe in a budget that cuts services to children, the poor and the disabled without examining a way to extend the taxes that are presently in place.

California's largest city is called the City of Angels, but it seems that we have lost them.

Vincent Bui


Re "Gov. may tax first, ask voter OK later," May 16

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