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OPINION
September 7, 2012
Re "Don't blame the deficit," Opinion, Sept. 5 Michael Kinsley is correct that current deficit spending is necessary to avoid further job losses and economic contraction, but he is wrong that the debt needs to be paid back to avoid massive inflation in the future. Inflation results from excessively loose monetary or fiscal policy (low interest rates or high deficits) in aiming for full employment. Once the economy is rolling, all we need to do is cut the deficit, not pay back any actual debt.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
March 30, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: How can I get a clear and complete picture of the debts that are hurting my credit score? I have my credit report already. I'm a bit lost and I need to get my credit cleared up to buy a home. Answer: You actually have three credit reports, one at each of the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Your mortgage lender is likely to request FICO credit scores from each of the three, so you need to check all three reports. You get your reports for free at one site: http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2013 | By Evan Halper and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed last week that California, which now has enough cash to pay its day-to-day bills, can no longer be described by naysayers as a "failed state. " But even though it appears to be free of the deficit that dogged the Capitol in recent years, the state is no model of financial health. Sacramento is legally obligated to pay many billions of dollars withheld from schools, local governments and healthcare providers as lawmakers struggled repeatedly to balance the books.
BUSINESS
March 24, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - Four out of five people who take out a short-term payday loan either roll it over or take out another one within two weeks, pushing them into a cycle of debt, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nearly a quarter of borrowers - 22% - renewed the loan at least six times, causing them to end up paying more in fees than they originally borrowed, the bureau said in an analysis of 12 million loans made by storefront payday loan companies.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2008 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I think I'm being pursued illegally for a debt I don't owe. I visited a hospital in June 2007. It took my health insurer about six months to process the claim. Shortly after I received my benefits statement from the insurer, I received a call from a collection agency saying I had to call back immediately and give my credit card number to pay this debt. Instead, I called the doctor's office the next day. The receptionist told me my account was still open and had not been turned over to collections.
NEWS
September 12, 2011 | By Robin Abcarian
Young people have been invoked over and over during the debate about Social Security, as in, the system is going to be broke by the time they reach retirement age. A young man from Northern California asked a simple question: "Of every dollar I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep?" Bachmann could be heard off camera, "Oh, I love that question. " Unfortunately, she did not get a chance to answer it. Only one candidate got to address it - Huntsman, who talked about personal tax rates and lowering the corporate tax rate to 25%. "I can tell you that by doing that with our tax code, it will leave you and your generation a whole lot better off," Huntsman said.
NEWS
December 8, 2012 | By Jon Healey
Republicans scoffed when President Obama demanded the power to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally in his first formal "fiscal cliff" offer to the GOP. And at first, I thought he was just staking out an extreme position for negotiating purposes. But Obama said again in the days that followed that he wasn't kidding: He wants the debt ceiling lifted unconditionally . He's right. Washington's finances need fixing, but the debt ceiling is the wrong tool for the job. Worse, it's irresponsible fiscal policy.
NEWS
April 10, 2013 | By Ted Rall
A bill before the California Legislature to address soaring student loan debt would require high school students to take a personal finance class.  ALSO: Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons Stumbling into another Korean war Schwarzenegger: California's silent disaster Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 12, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Despite receiving millions of dollars annually from his song catalogs, Michael Jackson year after year spent more than he earned, including $30 million in annual debt payments, a forensic accountant testified Monday. William R. Ackerman, testifying as a defense witness on behalf of AEG Live in the wrongful-death trial, offered a detailed look at the singer's finances, telling jurors that Jackson spent money on donations to charity, gifts, travel, art and furniture. "He spent a lot of money on jewelry," Ackerman said with a chuckle.
BUSINESS
February 1, 2011 | David Lazarus
Frank Cavestani and his wife fell behind on their Capital One credit card payments about a decade ago. Their accounts were subsequently closed by the lender, which wrote off about $2,000 in debt they couldn't pay. So it was more than a little strange when the Hollywood couple received a pair of bills from Cap One the other day for a combined $5,195.07 in debt and interest. Stranger still, when Cavestani contacted Cap One, he said a service rep told him the resurrecting of old loans is accommodated by recent credit card regulations approved by the Federal Reserve ?
OPINION
March 23, 2014
Re "Death doesn't end car lease obligation," Column, March 21 The widow in David Lazarus' piece on Toyota trying to recover money on a car lease after her husband died is likely not liable. She may have received her husband's assets, but she is not his estate. His estate is made up only of the assets in his name alone. FOR THE RECORD: Car lease: A March 23 letter to the editor on a widow's dealings with Toyota after her husband died misspelled writer Kevin Staker's surname as Staver.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
BUSINESS
March 16, 2014 | By Ronald D. White
Adina Jones has spent years immersed in logistics such as financial tracking, transportation organization, nutritional direction and healthcare supervision. In other words, Jones is a mom. And until shortly before her 14-year marriage ended last year, Jones was a full-time caregiver for her three daughters. "I wanted to give them the best start I could," Jones, 40, said of her career hiatus, which began in 2006. "I wanted to be there for them in all ways. " Now, Jones is trying to reenter the traditional workforce and finding it tough.
BUSINESS
March 14, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Quiznos, the Denver-based sandwich chain, said Friday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, the second quick-service restaurant chain in a week to do so. The filing is expected to be speedy, as Quizno's senior leadership had already secured a "pre-packaged" restructuring plan with its creditors, the company said in a statement. The move will cut the company's debt by more than $400 million. Quizno's bankruptcy filing comes just days after Sbarro, the New York-based pizza chain, filed for court protection in Manhattan on Monday, the second time in three years.
BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | Bloomberg News
McGraw Hill Financial Inc.'s Standard & Poor's unit may be allowed to seek information from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner related to what the company said was a "threatening" call he made to McGraw Hill Chairman Harold W. McGraw III after S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt in 2011. At a hearing Tuesday in Santa Ana, U.S. District Judge David Carter said he's concerned about why Geithner would have made the call to McGraw Hill's chairman three days after the downgrade, other than for it to have a "chilling effect.
BUSINESS
February 23, 2014 | By Ronald D. White
Dashiell and Marya Talbot thought that their most pressing financial problem was the five-figure student loan debt that seemed to make home buying an impossibility. Then they learned that Marya was pregnant. The Los Angeles couple, both in their 30s, suddenly had a lot more doubt about their plans. Should they dip into savings to get rid of their debt? And were there things the Talbots - he's a lawyer, she's a costumer - hadn't considered yet? "It seems like the student loan debt is going to be with you for life," said Dashiell Talbot, who prefers the name Dash.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
You can always identify true ideologues -- their pitch never changes, no matter the weather, political or otherwise. That's the case with Fix the Debt, a lobby group for deficit hawks that's connected umbilically to hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson. As the government shutdown began Tuesday, Fix the Debt issued a call for a renewed focus on " the critical issues of entitlement reform , tax reform, and the nation's unsustainable debt. " See what they did there? At the moment the U.S. government effectively went out of business, they called for cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
OPINION
July 20, 2012
Re "The fiscal cliff," Editorial, July 18 The Times writes of a deal in Congress on the Bush tax cuts that "assures the public that Washington can put its fiscal house in order. " Therein lies the problem. People think of the government as separate from the governed - the people who pay taxes and feed the machine. It is not Washington's fiscal house; it is the people's fiscal house. It is incumbent on "the people" to understand the consequences of their demands for government support and that it is "we the people" who take the money out of our left pocket and put it in our right pocket.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
BUSINESS
February 16, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: Recently I've paid off almost $20,000 in credit card debt and am determined not to go down that path again. Because I haven't used these cards in a while, though, I'm starting to get notifications from the credit card companies that they're closing my accounts because of inactivity. I know having long-standing accounts on your credit report is a good thing, but I don't want to be tempted to use these cards just to keep the account open. Is it a bad thing if almost all of my credit card accounts get closed?
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