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Getting Alarmed Over the 'R Word'

Readers exploded when BusinessWeek slapped the scary word "recession" on the cover ("Waking Up to the Recession," Mar. 24). The main story in the cover package, "Recession Time," looked at how to keep the downturn from gathering momentum. The most common reader reaction was outrage at the idea that foolish borrowers and Wall Street bankers might be bailed out of their mistakes. Some readers criticized BusinessWeek and others for talking the economy into the dumps, while others figured the bottom couldn't be too far away if the mainstream media was turning bearish. And a few questioned whether the economic slump is actually a recession.

The mortgage crisis is the result of people living beyond their means. These people should not be rewarded [with a bailout.

Screen name: Janee

The fundamental problem is that wealth has become so concentrated at the top that the top is forced to lend to the bottom, who are not creditworthy. Until income distribution becomes more balanced, there are no solutions.

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Every time someone in the media cautions about how we might be headed toward recession, all those individuals who [believe it] begin saving and stop spending. This clearly exacerbates the effects of an already slowing economy.

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We need to look at resolving the situation rather than at who gets punished or bailed out. We will need more federal oversight to prevent a recurrence.

Screen name: Holly Garfield

The only solution is to put a floor under real estate prices quickly by accelerating inflation and weakening the dollar so the raw-material cost of a new home is higher than the cost of an existing one. [If inflation raises home prices, homeowners are no longer faced with negative equity, asset-backed paper has value, local governments are protected, and we can whine that it's the Chinese who are to blame for the high price of raw materials, oil, and basic food grains.

Dan Caldwell


Only the institutions that tightened up early should prosper. Any extra stimulus should flow to other parties, including small businesses.

Screen name: William Jacobs

Seems to me the fix is in the works. The Federal Reserve prints bundles of green paper with pictures of dead Presidents and uses them to buy bonds from the banks. Presto! The dollar falls and the price of "stuff" (e.g., houses) rises. Remember 1978? Hyperinflation, here we go again.

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One solution to the mortgage mess might be to let families dip into their 401(k) plans penalty-free to pay down their mortgages and/or to refinance simultaneously. This could be matched by a low-interest government loan. Allowing people to use their own savings would spare taxpayers much of the burden of a government bailout.

Ceasar Mugnatto


The media need to start talking about those companies and industries that will do well and bring us out of the slump. And technically, we're still not in a recession. Hate to break it to you. However, with all of the publications screaming "recession," we will now go into one as everyone is scared to invest in anything.

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Electric Cars Could Help Steer Us from Recession

This country needs to invest heavily in its own infrastructure and alternative power sources to stem recession ("Lenders: Still Not Safe," News, Mar. 24). Electric-car technologies should be at the top of the list. Forget about ethanol, wind, solar, and other marginal energy resources. Investments in electric cars now will generate huge dividends for future generations.

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Being a Patient on Foreign Shores

It is unfortunate that the outsourcing of medical care is moving forward without more public protest ("Outsourcing the Patients," News, Mar. 24). I worry about how follow-up care and complications will be handled once more surgeries are outsourced.

Screen name: Rajesh

Medical tourism also includes dental tourism. More and more Americans cannot afford to go to a dentist in the U.S. and must go abroad. Something needs to change.

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In the end, surgery is a technical procedure. Once you get the knack of it, it's the same everywhere.

Screen name: Toronto

Put Some Bite Back into Financial Oversight

Deregulation and lax regulation of the financial markets have clearly made the current recession far more ominous ("Prognosis: Mild Recession, Slow Recovery," Business Outlook, Mar. 24). Confidence in the economy isn't going to return until the federal regulatory agencies grow new sets of teeth, and that could take years.

Bradley Hitchings


The Global Market for Skilled Workers

Why are we looking at just one side of the coin ("Guess Who's Getting the Most Work Visas?" What's Next, Mar. 17)? If Wipro (WIT) and Infosys (INFY) are bringing foreign nationals to work here it's because some U.S. business hired them to. Why are U.S. businesses hiring them? Because they can make more profits and maybe even gain technically. The economies of the world are increasingly global and interdependent. If the U.S. doesn't want high-skilled workers, other countries like Britain, Japan, and Germany will benefit. Think big, think global!

Screen name: Srini Kondaveeti

A Novel Approach to the Obesity Battle

A Virginia doctor is paying his obese patients to lose weight ("Inside Drugmakers' War On Fat," In Depth, Mar. 17). He pays them a dollar for each pound they lose, and they pay him if they gain. Paying patients or giving incentives is a unique way of trying to get obese people to lose weight. We should spare no weapons in our armamentarium to fight the war on fat.

Joseph Chemplavil


The Benefits of a Battlefield Background

Many companies, such as Home Depot (HD), Procter & Gamble (PG), and General Electric (GE), have successfully filled their ranks with junior military officers for decades ("From the Battlefield to B-School," Personal Business, Mar. 24). These folks bring the basics with them like accountability, responsibility, and management skills. I can tell you that while my Emory University MBA has often provided the foundation for doing business, people give me more credit for my West Point degree and military background.

Gary Starzmann


The real challenge is for business schools to mold ex-military MBAs to adapt to a corporate environment. The command-and-control concept learned in the military is not the best approach in the civilian world.

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