The troubles a booming economy may bring

Your Aug. 17 article "End of the boom-bust economy?" may be a little too optimistic about the future when it says, "Even Mr. Greenspan wouldn't venture to forecast that far ahead, but if the past decade is prologue, more good times lie ahead."

A number of writers and oil experts have grave doubts about the US and the world economy continuing on their winning ways. What they foresee is that world oil production will peak during this decade and the resulting chaos and rising oil prices that follow will dampen any economic growth here or in the world for some time to come. This is not publicized at all. Books that come to mind are "The Coming Oil Crisis" by C.J. Campbell, and "Geodestinies" by Walter Youngquist. One should never assume that reality is immutable and good times go on and on.

Marvin Gregory Renton, Wash.

Your Aug. 17 article "End of the boom-bust economy?" suggests we may be entering a new era of "rampant prosperity." If "good times lie ahead," consider these consequences: a technological revolution resulting in a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots; more parents having to hold down more than one job each; rampant consumerism; forests lost to condo developments; mega-box stores squeezing out moms and pops; and growing world trade deficits as consumer demand outpaces domestic production.

With more than full employment, the quality of services is ever degrading as our demands increase. In an emergency, it's hard to find a plumber - or an experienced floor clerk in a store, a ready and relaxed server in a restaurant, a well-staffed nursing home. It seems that as economic productivity blossoms, quality of life suffers. Booming economies can also have disturbing consequences. How much consumerism is too much?

Allan Dean Swannanoa, N.C.

Lieberman a centrist?

Your recent editorial (Aug. 8) asserts that "Lieberman will help blunt Republican attempts to tie Gore to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. He was the first Democrat to stand on the floor of the Senate and criticize the president's actions. His words were direct: 'Such behavior is not just inappropriate - it is immoral.' " It is true that Lieberman said this, but he voted against punishment of his fellow Democrat. Actions speak louder than words.

Your same editorial also claims that "Lieberman's politics are solidly centrist." Is this why he has been hailed as having a voting record that scores 85 to 90 percent on liberal scales and 0 percent on a conservative scale? Again, actions speak louder than words. If such a record is centrist, it would be eye-opening to learn the definition of a hard-core liberal. Perhaps Al Gore?

Delia Hanover Gary, Ind.

Taking Firestone to task

The motivation behind Firestone's recall is simple and straightforward.("No time to waste on tires," Aug. 16).The company knew its tires caused life-threatening injuries yet deliberately failed to act until threatened with investigation and future litigation.Moreover, it appears that the company has been settling tire-related lawsuits for some time, conditioning payment on silence so that information about the tires' dangers was kept from the public and government regulators.Only through further litigation will we learn the true extent of this tragic misconduct and coverup.

Emily Gottlieb New York Deputy Director Center for Justice & Democracy

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