Mailbag: Control expenses first before reform

Should Rep. Adam Schiff be defended? For that matter, should President Obama be held liable for the national deficit, the stimulus plan, the bloated budget and the health-care-cost trends?

In his March 10 letter, “Representative trying to kill the economy,” Brian Stauffer expressed his fear of more deficits and demanded fiscal prudence for the sake of the future of our nation. I fully agree with his sentiments. Washington seems to have forsaken our financial future. But he might have his anger partly misplaced.

The stimulus plan and the banking bailout might well be the bitter pill we needed to swallow to avoid a massive economic implosion, or we would be facing 30% unemployment today.

Credit is the lifeblood of an economy, and Washington started the reckless dismantling of banking laws that had put controls on speculation since the Depression.

The dismantling started with Bill Clinton and skyrocketed with George W. Bush. Now, rescuing the banks was like paying the bondsman to take your wayward son out of jail after he crashed your car and went on a buying spree with your credit card. The banks are paying back Uncle Sam by hiking up interest rates and concocting gimmicks to extract more money from their customers.

The health-care solution is an analogous problem. The Democratic plan forces people to buy insurance, but fails to address the true source of the problem with medical care today — uncontrolled expenses.

Republicans are right in one respect. An expanded medical system that lacks cost containment will send the federal budget crashing. But Republicans have not been good stewards of the budget nor prudent in their oversight of the two systems that the Democrats are now attempting to rescue or control.

Schiff should take this message to Washington: Control costs first and restore fiscal prudence. Put the squeeze on hospitals, insurance companies and all abusive practices. Then put the squeeze on credit card companies and establish true bank reform to protect consumers.

The public is fed up, and all incumbents should start taking notice.

HERBERT MOLANO

Tujunga

The other side of the AB 32 debate

Thank you for presenting one point of view about Assembly Bill 32 and the attempts to delay curbing energy use (Political Landscape: “Analyst: Carbon law hurts jobs,” March 11). Your report of Mac Taylor’s analysis was somewhat biased. Here is another point of view that I would appreciate you publishing in the interests of fair journalism.

My work on the Sustainable Burbank Task Force as well as my concern for future generations — my children’s and grandchildren’s — obligates me to support AB 32, and there are some very powerful business people who agree.

Wal-Mart, with a larger economy than California’s, is a business force to be reckoned with. Their recent statements about the importance of taking the very actions that AB 32 addresses provides a vital example. As the company’s president says, America (and not only California) needs “comprehensive legislative policy that addresses energy, energy security, the country’s competitiveness and reducing pollution.”

Last week, Chief Executive Mike Duke announced a goal of eliminating 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from Wal-Mart’s global supply chain by the end of 2015. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, that’s the equivalent of taking more than 3.8 million cars off the road for a year, or saving 2 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

Wal-Mart’s decision to give priority to suppliers who follow their example will surely impact California businesses.

That is another good reason for moving ahead with AB 32.

Businesses and politicians who are not proactive in this area will become the dinosaurs. Hopefully they will not drag the rest of us into semi-extinction with them.

M.F. KELLEN- TAYLOR

Burbank

Burbank deserves a round of applause

The city of Burbank gets its share of criticism from the letters to the editor page and at the City Council meetings. But overall I think most people are glad they live here.

The latest laudatory comment comes from Standard & Poor’s giving Burbank a Triple-A rating, the highest possible, citing a steady tax base and financial position (“Burbank gets highest credit mark possible,” Feb. 24).

“The city is pleased that the strength of Burbank’s finances has been recognized at a time when all cities and businesses are struggling with the consequences of a severe recession,” City Manager Mike Flad said in a statement.

The credit agency also cited Burbank’s strong income levels and very low debt, according to the announcement.

The high rating allows the city to borrow money with cheaper interest rates.

Let’s hear a loud round of applause for the city of Burbank.

WESLEY GREENE

Burbank


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