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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Saving the auto industry

Obama misleads on investment managers

A native Detroiter, I admire President Obama’s enthusiasm in bridging many economic interests to help the auto industry. However, as an investment professional I was irked by a misleading assessment of investment managers in his April 30 address about Chrysler [“Obama plan could drive Chrysler to innovate or into ditch,” page one, May 1].

In his assertion that investment managers “were hoping that everyone else would make sacrifices and they would have to make none,” the president did not recognize their fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of their clients. As holders of secured debt, these investors had a plausible reason to expect a better return on their Chrysler bonds than was offered through the Treasury’s plan. Therefore, these investors very likely had an ethical obligation to refuse the offer.

There have been plenty of reasons to discredit the investment management community in the recent past, including unprecedented fraud. However, the industry is also largely composed of diligent, honest individuals who act in the economic interests of the public pension plans, union retirement accounts and 401(k) plans of their clients.

President Obama should not discredit investors acting ethically to place client interests first. It was inappropriate for the president to vilify these investment managers to support his policy agenda.

— Tom Warburton, Seattle

Tax credits could jump-start sales

Instead of the government pouring money into the GM and Chrysler hole (with sales dropping), why don’t we offer tax credits, with no income limits, to people who buy American-made cars?

We use tax credits to jump-start the housing market– why not in our auto industry, which has been said is “too big to fail”? American workers do not want handouts; they want the opportunity to make great products for the citizens of the greatest country in the world.

— Todd Welch, Everett

Comments | More in Automobile industry, Federal bailouts

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