Critics of the Federal Reserve; L.A. County's plastic bag ban; unemployment benefits that are running out

Fed up with the Fed

Re "Bernanke bashers," Opinion, Nov. 19

I almost fell out of my chair when I read that Rep. Ron Paul is portraying the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, as socialists.

Wait, what?

Is this the same Bernanke who is an admirer of Alan Greenspan and Milton Friedman, champions of deregulation?

Is this the same Fed that has been shirking its regulatory duties for the past 30 years, and has led us to more economic inequality than this country has seen in almost 100 years?

Is this the same Fed that has helped bail out some of the biggest private banks and insurance firms?

Is that socialism? Because it sounds more like fascism to me.

Quinn Sullivan

Los Angeles

I had to stop when I read that Weekly Standard editor William Kristol advocates a "return to the economic principles of the Founding Fathers."

Really? Back to the policies of a largely agrarian economy based on no-cost slave labor? Has he heard about the Internet, intertwined global trade and finance, nano-technology, biotech, Silicon Valley and China? Shall we send our kids to the little red schoolhouse up the road as well? What are Kristol and his ilk thinking?

Let's use the Founding Fathers — and the Constitution, for that matter — as a framework and inspiration, not as a literal role model for our future.

Liz Fautsch

Encinitas

I am not sure I understand Jacob Heilbrunn's point. Paul and his conservative followers have been proved correct in their criticism of Bernanke and the Fed — that too much money has been printed — and now we are supposed to ignore these critics?

They have been exactly right on the "money," and we aren't supposed to listen to them. If I understand this piece correctly, it just does not make sense to me.

Robert Ligon

La Crescenta

Banned in Los Angeles

Re "Holes in the bag ban," Editorial, Nov. 19

L.A. County's plastic bag ban is a "feel good" policy that will make things worse.

Many years ago the Sierra Club did a study comparing the life cycles of plastic and paper and found that plastic was less damaging to the environment. The only serious downside to the use of plastic was when it gets into bodies of water, where it can be ingested by or entrap aquatic creatures.

If you really want to save the environment, turn the heat down, use recycling containers, trade in gas-guzzling "blimp-mobiles" and move from McMansions to more sustainable housing.

Unfortunately, most are interested in feeling good while expecting others to do good. We need to grow up.

Chris Daly

Yucaipa

I voted against the plastic bag ban based on the fact that it is not sound public policy and because it increases costs and regulations for the

1.5 million residents and the businesses who happen to reside in the county's unincorporated areas. The mandated 10-cent charge for paper bags represents a new tax on the consumer.

At a time of economic uncertainty, this is not the appropriate time to impose additional regulations on businesses and an additional tax on consumers, many of whom are unemployed.

We should instead educate consumers about the harm of illegally disposing their plastic bags so that they don't end up on our beaches and in our rivers, parks and landfills.

Telling residents what bags they can and cannot use and how much they must be charged is Big Brother at its worst.

Michael D. Antonovich

Los Angeles

The writer is a Los Angeles County supervisor, 5th District.

No jobless check in the mail

Re "Sticking it to the unemployed," Editorial, Nov. 18

Why does The Times focus on extending unemployment benefits to those who qualify for payments because they once held jobs? It doesn't help recent college graduates if Congress extends unemployment insurance.

Not all of them are blessed with parents who provide food and shelter. Some graduates give up looking for jobs. Those who work as "freelancers" get to pay double into Social Security and Medicare.

Tom Novinson

Ventura

Suppose that today, many find themselves parceling out food, hoping it will last for tomorrow.

And suppose the rent is due, and suppose Christmas is coming, and suppose they don't even have a chimney, and they read that a group of fat cats in Washington has voted against stretching out a bit of unemployment money.

And suppose they see the same fat cats bravely stand together to fight for the wealthiest.

"What a revolting development this is!"

Jean Thorpe

Marina del Rey

Gold-plated cathedral

Re "Creditors question church's spending," Nov. 18

By quoting someone stating that "church staffs are not always as bottom-line-oriented as a business would be," it appears The Times misses the point about the Crystal Cathedral's bankruptcy.

The essence of the problem is that the church leadership apparently has been unusually bottom-line oriented. Otherwise, it is hard to explain these elaborate and questionable practices in paying proper taxes and compensating the inner circle.

And this problem would have been largely shielded from the public if the Crystal Cathedral had not been forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Pat Tam

Huntington Beach

It is high time that someone is questioning the finances of the Crystal Cathedral, that bastion of hypocrisy that calls itself a church but is nothing more than an ATM for the extended Schuller family.

Do any of the people donating their money to save the Crystal Cathedral realize just how much of their money goes into the pockets of founder Robert H. Schuller's family? The tax-cheating CFO, who claims to be "ordained," lives in a multimillion-dollar home courtesy of the very people who are being implored to tithe even more than the usual 10%.

For years the cathedral has charged admission for almost everything but Sunday services. Someone should remind its leaders that there will be no box office at the pearly gates.

June Moffett

Santa Ana

Line-drawers

Re "State begins new era in redistricting," Nov. 19

The Times twice uses the word "slightly" in a decidedly unmathematical way in referring to the share of representation on the Citizens Redistricting Commission by political party (five Republicans, five Democrats and four members who belong to another party or are decline-to-state).

State public records show that of California's registered voters, Democrats account for 44.1%, Republicans 31%, other parties 4.7% and decline-to-state 20.3%. By any fair measure, a proportionate membership on the redistricting commission would at the least have four Democrats, three Republicans and two or three others.

Hardly off to a fair start!

Russell Doolittle

La Jolla

For Compton

Re "Pride in high heels," Column One, Nov. 19

Shanice McKinley prays with her friends for the opportunity to display pride in her hometown of Compton while participating in the Miss California pageant.

It is unfortunate that too many of her fellow citizens are even busier preying on their neighbors.

Go, girl!

Michael Kersey

Corona

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