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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 14, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Auto-industry troubles

Financial rehab

The auto companies need our help, but not the kind that they’re asking for.

If a relative showed up with an addiction asking for money, would it be right to give him a handout that enabled his lifestyle to go on; or would it be better to make him abandon his lifestyle and support him as he gets his life on track for the long haul?

A “Car Czar” can’t lend the help that is needed. All he can do is threaten to take back the loan. Asking for immediate repayment of loans from a destitute borrower won’t work and if we don’t say “no” to a handout now, why would anybody believe that a Czar would recall the loans later? Everybody would know that Congress would overrule.

Bankruptcy judges have the power to help as needed. Once in financial “rehab,” the tough part will be over, and we can show “love” that is needed. We can guarantee that warrantees are honored after bankruptcy, make sure that lenders don’t discriminate against particular manufacturers, and help workers through the transition.

We must not squander the opportunity to show the tough love that is needed to the auto companies.

— Scott Flagg, Kirkland

Any takers?

I’ve often wondered why the American auto companies cannot adapt to the changes in their own industry, but I have come to the revelation that maybe it’s because they are located in Detroit.

With its poverty and crime, the city’s reputation has been maligned for quite some time, and this has to be a huge deterrent in attracting new ideas. It’s no coincidence that the best companies are centered in beautiful areas. So what brilliant innovator would want to move to Detroit when they have so many other options?

The Big Three can’t move their factories out of the area, but you’d think they’d headquarter their idea and tech guys somewhere on the West Coast. Maybe they’ve already done this. If not, maybe Seattle should make the case to become the new brain of American automotive.

— Russ Lauron Everett

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