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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
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 27, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Any struggling family knows that first you put food on the table, make sure there's a roof overhead and lay in some daily essentials. Only then can you realistically think about paying down the credit card. True, you shouldn't have run wild with the card in the first place. But that's past. Now, you create a repayment plan and muster some discipline. That's where Sacramento sits currently with its daunting credit card debt. The state's annual budget that covers daily expenses is finally balanced after years of recession-plagued deficits.
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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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has both Democrats and Republicans on board with the broad outlines of his plan for stockpiling some cash and paying off debt. But as the special legislative session Brown called on the issue opened Thursday, it was clear that, as lawmakers like to say, the devil could be in the details. Republicans, whose votes the Democratic governor needs to place his measure on the fall ballot, want tighter controls on the reserve fund than the governor has proposed.
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.
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
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
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.
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
April 19, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Sarah Luna wants to buy a home in up-and-coming northeast Los Angeles before it's too late. At 31, she has a master's degree and earns more than $70,000 as a court reporter and freelance editor. She daydreams about trading the Glendale apartment she shares for a little condo, maybe in Echo Park or Highland Park. Just one thing holds her back: The $700 she's paid every month since 2008, after she graduated from the University of Southern California - with $75,000 in student debt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Soon after Jerry Brown was elected governor in 2010, he invited the state's top budget official, Ana Matosantos, to lunch at his office. He had just two months to prepare his first plan for tackling California's $26-billion deficit. He asked his assistant to fetch the budget director a sandwich. Then, Matosantos said, the incoming governor of one of the world's largest economies ate a single hard-boiled egg, sprinkled with salt. Brown's dietary discipline was a hint of the regimented approach he would take to California's staggering financial problems, which he had promised to fix by pushing the state back into the black.
OPINION
April 15, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
With lawmakers showing little enthusiasm for an ambitious proposal by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to overhaul the byzantine U.S. tax code, Congress has to decide what to do about dozens of temporary tax breaks that expired Dec. 31. Among them is an exemption for forgiven mortgage debt that's an essential part of a broader federal effort to solve a nagging problem, namely the spate of defaults caused by the recession....
BUSINESS
April 13, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Thinking this would be cost-effective housing, I bought a condo in the Riverside County area. Since then I've asked the board to repair my unit's balcony railing numerous times to no avail. Six years later, I received a notification that the balconies on all 96 units must be repaired, costing each owner more than $3,000. I have no say in the way things are done around here. This homeowner association has wasted thousands of dollars on repeated cosmetic primping like painting, parking lot slurry seal, landscape and more.
BUSINESS
April 13, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Renewal of important expired federal tax benefits for homeowners took a major step forward recently, but the route to final congressional approval is beginning to look longer - and potentially bumpier - than previously expected. Here's why. The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved a package of tax code goodies that includes a two-year reauthorization of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, plus similar extensions for deductions of mortgage insurance premiums and energy-saving improvements to homes.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Ares Management gained control of Guitar Center Holdings Inc. in a debt-for-equity swap, the Westlake Village retailer said in a statement. Guitar Center reduced its debt by about $500 million under the deal, which gives Ares Management a controlling interest in the nation's largest guitar retailer. The deal reduces Guitar Center's crushing debt by $500 million and slashes its annual interest costs by about $70 million, the company said. Bain Capital, which bought the chain of about 250 stores in 2007, will retain partial ownership of the company after the deal with Ares Management.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 2010 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
The Pasadena Playhouse announced Thursday that it has emerged from bankruptcy, having shed more than $1 million in debt, and will immediately make the intensive, sustained fundraising push needed to re-establish itself as a major theater company. A $1 million pledge from two anonymous donors has given the Playhouse the foothold it needs to mount a comeback production by October, artistic director Sheldon Epps said — the first since it closed in February, canceling the remaining five plays of its 2010 season and laying off a staff of about 30. "The most important thing is that the organization took some drastic necessary steps to get rid of this legacy of debt that has haunted us for many years," executive director Stephen Eich said.
BUSINESS
March 24, 2012
•Federal Trade Commission has advice on debt matters: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters and click on "Dealing with debt. " •National Foundation for Credit Counciling has information about legitimate, low-fee counciling at http://www.nfcc.org. •Department of Justice offers a guide to approved credit counseling agencies: http://www.justice.gov and put "List of Credit Counseling Agencies Approved" in search box to get to guide. •Consumer bankruptcy information is available at the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys at http://nacba.org.
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.
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.
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