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Letters to the editor

Shady used-car business practices; Israel and the U.S.; Earth's population hits 7 billion

November 06, 2011
  • The fast-growing Buy Here Pay Here used car business is making huge profits off people with damaged credit. At the the J.D. Byrider used car dealership in Visalia, Calif., the inventory is mostly older cars sold at stiff markups with high-interest loans. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
The fast-growing Buy Here Pay Here used car business is making huge profits…

Cash for clunkers

Re "Wheels of fortune," three-part series, Oct 30, Nov. 1 and Nov. 3

Bad times are good for a bad business. Men in suits sit in nice offices in shiny high-rises and make a living off the misfortune of the people at the bottom.

The Buy Here Pay Here used-car business is an outrageous and heartless exploitation of the working poor who are desperate for transportation to work and other necessities. Jacked-up prices, loan-shark interest rates and worn-out cars — all of this screams out for serious state and national regulation.

This is the cold, dark swamp of an insufficiently regulated free-market system. How can anybody argue that making this much money off the poorest and most desperate is fair, decent and American?

Jerry Small

Venice

OK, I understand the used-car business is evil, and measures should be taken to prevent its abusive tactics.

But where is any mention in the Oct. 30 installment of the blame on Tiffany Lee herself? She paid $3,000 down with a $387 monthly payment, and she makes $27,000 a year for herself and her three children. What rational person would enter into such a usurious deal when far better options were available?

Let's not forget the buyer's share of the responsibility. Replace the car with a house, and you have a fine example of the exact components responsible for the real estate catastrophe.

Michael E. White

Burbank

Here we go again. Since the subprime bubble has burst, the scammers have to find something else.

Buy Here Pay Here has been a part of the shady side of the auto sales industry for a long time, charging what I think are usurious interest rates. Unfortunately, there will always be people who really can't afford to buy a car but must have still one in areas with poor public transportation. Now we have the great minds of Wall Street.

If the federal government does not do something, many investors will be hurt once again. Where is good government regulation when you need it?

When will Wall Street learn that it can't squeeze blood from a stone? How many more businesses must fail before steps are taken to prevent this garbage?

Warren Kross

Cathedral City

I wish I could say I don't believe that Wall Street would act like a con artist and take advantage of poor people and those without credit to reap an outrageous profit, but I can't.

Huge profits, repossession, resale and no regulation: the American dream. I think I'm going to be sick.

Joanne Polvy Cohen

Sherman Oaks

Our ally, Israel

Re "A true ally in the Middle East," Opinion, Oct. 31

With allies like Israel, who needs enemies? If it were not for Israel's international law violations, human rights violations and ignoring of United Nations resolutions, none of the "help" Israel gives us, which Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe identify, would be necessary.

Note that not one word is said about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. This singularly powerful, financially strong lobby with a highly organized support system of conservative Jews and neoconservatives can pretty much get its way in Congress.

Our relationship with Israel means that Congress and the White House can only blindly support it no matter what.

Lou Del Pozzo

Pacific Palisades

There is no arguing with Blackwill and Slocombe. Israel is a world leader in science and medicine; its economy is booming. What it lacks is peace and another friendly nation besides the United States.

In my opinion, Israel will only achieve true peace and sharply reduce global anti-Semitism if it separates synagogue and state and allows the establishment of a neighboring Palestinian state.

Martin J. Weisman

Westlake Village

The 7 billionth human being

Re "A lot of people? Yes. Apocalypse? No.," Opinion, Oct. 30

David Lam talks only about a few indicators of human welfare to determine that "the remarkable experience of the last 50 years teaches us … not to be afraid to celebrate the birth of the 7 billionth child." Even with the indicators he highlights — food production and education — he fails to assess the foundational stresses that led to that "success."

Lam fails to address the inability of the soil, water, air and other denizens of the planet to keep absorbing our waste and sating our enormous desire for more of everything. He insists that "we survived the population bomb through hard work and creativity," as if we are capable of creating the fundamental biological underpinnings of life without withdrawing from the bank of life.

His argument is not bolstered by the scientists studying these fundamental underpinnings, and in fact they warn us we are beyond Earth's carrying capacity already.

Susan Rudnicki

Manhattan Beach

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