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How Harrah's Upped Its Ante


Readers Report

HOW HARRAH'S UPPED ITS ANTE

Your recent article on Harrah's painted an interesting picture of our company, some of which I agree with, and some of which I don't ("Harrah's goes for broke," The Corporation, Jan. 27). One thing, however, I feel I must address. After a heading "cash poor," the story gives Harrah's cash available as $330 million, down 50% from 1995's yearend figure.

It is true that Harrah's credit availability as of Sept. 20, 1996 (the last reporting period), was $330 million. But in October, we announced a $350 million increase in our bank facility. This increase took our credit availability to $680 million, up by some 80%, not down 50%. Perhaps the heading should have been "cash rich" rather than cash poor.

Philip G. Satre

Chairman, President, and CEO

Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

MemphisReturn to top

WHAT DOES `MADE IN AMERICA' MEAN ANYMORE?

I read with interest the story about Toyota's upcoming entry in the minivan market, the Sienna ("Can this minivan dent Detroit?" News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb. 3). A couple of things struck me: A Toyota executive said he was so impressed with the 1995 Chrysler minivan's second sliding door that he told his people to copy it. Does this show that the innovation Japan is noted for is just a sham?

The second thing was the statement by J. Davis Illingworth: "I think the American public will look at Sienna as an American product that meets their needs." Since I read that, "Made in America" has taken on a new meaning for me. There aren't many things that are totally made in America anymore. But Mr. Illingworth's gall reinforces my belief that I must not send my profit dollars to Japan.

Howard Walker

New YorkReturn to top

THE WEIGHT OF PROTECTIONISM IS CRUSHING JAPAN

Japan's strong industries cannot escape the severe damage inflicted by Tokyo's protection of its weak sectors from import competition ("Two Japans," Cover Story, Jan. 27). Strong exporters pay a double penalty: sharply higher costs at home and long-term upward pressure on the yen.

If Japan ever wants to recover, it has no choice but to open its economy to competing imports. America's trade policies must be geared to anticipate--and reinforce--the internal forces for change that are slowly emerging in Japan.

Richard Katz

New YorkReturn to top

BEGGING TO DIFFER ON SOCIAL SECURITY

In the article "Looking for growth in all the wrong places" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb. 3), Peter Coy tries to debunk the conventional wisdom concerning savings rates, Social Security, and economic growth. He correctly points out that for the U.S. to create a 401(k)-style national pension system to serve as a replacement for today's Social Security would not necessarily raise the national savings rate--and even if it did, it wouldn't necessarily boost economic growth. But as is true with everything in economics, there are no absolutes, which is certainly the case when talking about the privatization of Social Security.

However, the arguments for 401(k)-style privatization outweigh the arguments against it. The risks are nothing compared with the possible reward: a much more robust economy. When you throw in the fact that a transition to a 401(k)-style system will allow the federal government to borrow less and give young people a positive return on the money they put into the system, the case for the current structure crumbles into dust.

Eric Krieg

New YorkReturn to top


Toyota's Hydrogen Man
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