Standard & Poor's downgrades U.S. debt
Could S&P be responsible?
Standard & Poor's is now doubly responsible for the financial crisis we find ourselves in today.
They allowed Wall Street and the big banks to get away with murder during the subprime crisis, rating all the debt at the highest level when they obviously knew it was not. They did nothing to AIG and even gave Lehman Brothers their highest rating until a month before they went under.
As if that's not treasonous and disgraceful in of itself, they then lowered the credit status of the United States for the first time in our history, knowing full well we are trying to extricate ourselves from the worst recession since the 1930s, and knowing the immense damage that this could cause to the entire global economy.
Bob Lonardo, Seminole
Dow up with Fed news Aug. 10
Dream retirement goes by wayside
The announcement that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for at least two years has turned an American retirement dream into a nightmare. For recent retirees and those about to be retirees, and many are here in Florida, our story and views should be told.
We went to school, we studied hard and learned our lessons. We went to college to secure a better life for ourselves and our families. We worked, we paid our taxes and Social Security and Medicare. What the government did not take, we lived on, within our means, without running up unnecessary debt. We knew the difference between needs and wants. We saved for our retirement, knowing that we would not have a pension, figuring on living off our savings and interest in safe investments and Social Security. We paid off our house; we paid off our debt including credit cards. Our financial house was in order. We did what our parents did but it is not working out well for baby boomers. We only thought we were ready for retirement.
We are told that Social Security may be reduced, delayed or in some cases not available, that it is an entitlement. Our safe investments in certificates of deposit return almost nothing due to the government-influenced low-interest rates. We spread our saving into some stocks that have not returned a profit and have, in many cases, decreased in value. Our home equity has been cut in half. Our private health insurance rates go up every year. Even if we could afford the insurance premiums, the health insurance companies refuse to insure us due to having survived cancer or some other disease.
Our health, car and homeowners insurance premiums go up exponentially every year while our income remains the same or is decreasing. Taxes on our homes, fees for registrations and anything else that the government can raise, it has raised. We see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is a freight train bearing down on us.
Like the horse with the carrot suspended in front of it, our dream retirement remains just out of reach.
I see the government bailing out financial institutions and huge corporations because they are too big to fail.
I do not see them subsidizing CD rates for seniors so that we don't have to go into risky investment schemes. Retirement, like everything else, has and is changing from what we envisioned, what we prepared for and what the government promised to us.
I see the people who did not complete school, the people who did not work hard their entire life, getting government handouts. Free health care, free housing, free food, free cash.
They are living my retirement without having done the work. They are enjoying the sweat of my labors while I worry about daily needs.
The government is giving my money to the slackers. I won't even get into the foreign giveaways and wars. What's wrong with this picture?
It is time for the government to stop giving away our money. It's time for fiscal responsibility. I see and have read many stories about how modern families today do not live within their means. I see the government not living within its means. I see that my living within my means has let others have what I no longer can afford. I see this needs to change.
Brian MacKay, Riverview
Silver lining: Gas on way down | Aug. 8
Gas price conundrum
The Associated Press story out of Denver was totally amazing. Just think: Gasoline prices lag a few weeks behind the drop in oil prices as refiners buy cheaper crude and have to recover the cost of the higher-priced oil. Apparently this lag only occurs when the price of oil goes down.
When the price of oil goes up, the price of gasoline rises quickly (sometimes within 24 hours or less), with refiners citing the need to charge the higher prices to afford the higher-priced oil.
Why is gasoline at $3.60 now, or expected to be $3.35 in a month, when in November 2007 oil was at $86 a barrel, gas was at $3?
I guess the transportation costs of getting the oil to the refiners is making it too expensive, or maybe the way the oil commodities market is run allows speculators to try for profits with very little risk.
John Edwards, Pinellas Park