September 27, 2013 at 6:28 AM
City needs mass-transit system
The recent article on cars apparently deals with only Seattle proper, ignoring the huge amount of daily auto traffic to and from the surrounding cities. [“Cars losing grip on Seattle,” page one, Sept. 25.]
The terrible traffic conditions in Seattle are not caused by people who live and work here.
Of note, also, were the four cities in the U.S. with a higher percentage than Seattle of people who do not drive solo to work. Each of these cities has a subway system that facilitates transportation within their boundaries and from their suburban communities.
One doesn’t see many bicycle riders in New York or Boston.
Glen Kaner, Seattle
August 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Convert clunker program to make natural gas cars
Instead of giving car buyers $4,500 to buy a gasoline-powered, fuel-efficient car, spend the money on converting existing new cars to natural gas.
That way we put more cars on the road that burn a fuel — natural gas — made in the U.S.A. instead of oil from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Iraq, or someplace where there is an oil war.
– Martin Nix, Seattle
A call for compassion in ‘cash for clunkers’
While the “cash for clunkers” has been a huge success for the automobile industry, I think it’s important to point out not everyone got an opportunity to trade in their old car for a nice new one. Specifically, someone who is recently widowed.
My best friend died in April, and his wife dutifully had the registration on his 1999 Cadillac transferred to her name. She recently made the trek to a dealership in Kirkland to trade it in on a new Chevy Aveo only to find out she hadn’t “owned the car for a year.”
She pointed out that while the car’s title had been in her husband’s name, the insurance was in both of their names, and she had his death certificate and all of the other supporting documentation showing the car belonged to the family for more than four years.
She called the government’s hotline, which confirmed she indeed did not qualify because she had not owned the car for the required 12 months.
It seems a shame that in the rush to put money into the car companies’ bank accounts, those who drafted this bit of pork couldn’t have found it in their hearts to include those who have recently been dealt a tough blow in life and who could probably use a break now more than most.
– Randy Carl, Kent
Clunkers rebates too high for small mileage improvement
The “cash for clunkers” program is obviously popular and an unequivocal boon to automobile dealers and Americans who want to unload their low-value gas guzzlers.
But the program is not nearly as effective as it could be — as it should be — in producing environmental gains with this generous subsidy.
Before we pour billions of more tax dollars into this program, the U.S. Senate should seize the opportunity to elevate the fuel-efficiency standards for clunker trades to qualify for a subsidy. Buyers have been getting $3,500 rebates for buying new vehicles that get as few as four miles per gallon more than their clunkers. And buyers have been getting a maximum $4,500 rebate for new cars and trucks that get an extra 10 miles per gallon.
This program needs to be recalibrated to provide a better return on benefits to energy security and the environment.
– Andrew Prieditis, Seattle
August 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Nothing but idiocy in ‘cash for clunkers’
It is astounding that the Obama administration would join Congress in lauding and rescuing one of the most poorly planned and thought-out programs ever.
I voted for President Obama on the hope that yes, maybe “we can.” He seemed so authentic, and I was especially heartened by his oft-stated concern for environmental issues.
This “cash for clunkers” gimmick, however, is irresponsible and totally contrary to the goal of developing a future energy policy that is not based solely on fossil fuels.
It rewards greedy car owners who can turn in their oldest car, get a brand new one that makes just a couple more miles per gallon and pocket $4,500 from the National Treasury. Now they can add a high-end hybrid to their shiny new Lexus and claim to be green.
Did it not occur to Congress and the president that the neighborhood meth addict can now turn in his pile of junk for a nice new ride and plenty of money to feed his addiction?
This is nothing more than a free gift to the greedy and the car dealerships under the guise of doing something to combat global warming.
Just brilliant. Brilliant idiocy.
– Richard P. Champlin. Seattle
Government can’t handle ‘cash for clunkers’ — or health care
President Obama’s “cash for clunkers” program is well named.
Under the program, you can buy a new car and receive credit up to $4,500 of taxpayer money if your new car gets at least four gallons per mile more than the trade-in. Once the trade is made, the trade-in car is crushed, even though there are thousands of hard-working citizens who would love to have it.
The government estimated that the $1 billion funding would cover the program for four months, but it went broke after four days. The government is in total confusion as to how to administer it.
After changing its position three times, Obama’s administration proposed an additional $2 billion.
And this is the same government that wants to administer its proposed massive health-care program.
Good luck, America. You will need it!
– Richard King, Seattle
No faith in government health care after clunkers debacle
Congress gives us “cash for clunkers” and four days later suspends it, leaving buyers and dealers in limbo over the weekend. These same Congressmen promise we can keep our health insurance and doctor with their government option. Incredible.
– Phillip A. Scott, Maple Valley
June 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Big business, not government, has been demise of economy
With the “temporary nationalization” of GM, we can expect outcries of “Socialism!” or “Big government!” ["Government rides along with GM on trailblazing route," page one, June 2] But before denouncing the interventions of the federal government, why not consider the role that big business — not big government — has played in bringing our economy down?
Like unruly weeds, the salaries of wealthy Americans have grown much more than the wages of the common man over the past 50 years. Those salaries, bad business decisions and low taxes paid by big business have slowly strangled our economic well-being. We need our government to be big, to be smart and to do what works in order to bring our capitalist economy back into balance.
And what is socialism? Socialism is a health system that encourages the health of all citizens. Socialism is an education system subsidized by the government so that students — our future professionals and workers — do not graduate with huge debt.
It is exciting to imagine what America would do with this kind of socialism. How our inveterate resourcefulness would thrive on a re-energized educational system instead of the struggling one we’ve got under our big-business-dominated system. How our health would improve under a government-supported health system based on healthy food, good medicine and a revitalized economy. How our big businesses themselves would thrive by a new ethical standard.
It takes “big government” to bring “big business” back into balance. I’m for it.
– Mary Cheadle Babl, Seattle
June 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Obama flushed bailout money down the drain
I seem to be the only one with concerns about how the present administration is handling our money. I have seen nothing in The Seattle Times questioning the Obama administration about the $60 billion flushed down the drain by GM and Chrysler ["GM: How an American giant rolled off course," page one, June 1].
Many respected economists warned that bailing out the two automakers would do no good and that it would be best to let them go into bankruptcy, reorganize and come out on their own. President Obama declared the companies were too large and too important to the country to allow them to fail. Perhaps someone should tell him that they both did fail and are now are doing what the administration should have allowed them to do in the first place.
It would be nice if the media would report on this administration as they did with the previous one. It has been estimated that with the national debt as it is now, each family in the U.S. owes more than half a million dollars, yet Congress and the president continue to spend recklessly.
It’s time for all media to get backbones and start reporting accurately on what our new administration is doing to our country.
– Ed Anderson, Kirkland
Where’s the justice in billion-dollar bailouts?
I just wish someone could explain why a personal bankruptcy for a few thousand dollars is generally considered such a horrible crime against humanity, this country’s economic well-being and worthy of social and financial ostracism, but a corporate bankruptcy for a few million or billion dollars is not, and is generally brushed aside as merely “the cost of doing business.”
It is apparent — to me, anyway — that corporate failings, misdeeds, etc. have crippled this country’s economy far worse than any personal shortcomings ever could, yet the CEOs, CFOs and chairmen of the boards of these bankrupt entities continue to live country-club, Lear-jet lifestyles funded by million-dollar golden parachutes and lavish retirement programs.
Meanwhile, we God-fearing taxpayers continue to make our house payments on time every month to our lender — the reckless, out-of-business, bailed-out WaMu (err, JPMorgan/Chase) — and unfailingly send our car payments to now-bankrupt General Motors. At the same time, we had our home equity line of credit slashed by 50 percent and credit cards canceled –for nonuse, I might add — both of which affect our credit scores and our ability to refinance our mortgages.
So I ask hypothetically: If corporations like WaMu and GM can have billions of dollars washed off the books with the stroke of a pen, then why doesn’t my piddling $20,000 GM car note and measly $100,000 WaMu mortgage get included in the whitewash?
Where’s the justice?
– Kieran Sullivan, Seattle
May 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Stockholders deserve more for investments
If George Will’s column in the May 8 Times ["Auto companies should be left to the rigors of bankruptcy," Opinion] is correct, the government’s plans for saving the auto companies will create great injustices.
He says the government will end up owning 50 percent of GM. The United Auto Workers will own 39 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler. Government ownership of Chrysler was not specified.
The injustice lies in the treatment of the current shareholders of the companies. The bailout funds from the government justly earn a sizable government share of the companies.
But the huge shares — 39 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler — going to the union are outrageous. The union contributed considerably to the plight of the companies, yet it gains control of them while the innocent shareholders end up with only 11 percent of GM and probably less of Chrysler.
The article speaks of greedy “speculators” contributing to the company failures, and surely some investors deserve that comment. But many investors in the auto companies were innocent stockholders saving for their futures in the face of the approaching Social Security breakdown.
Certainly they deserve more for their investments than just 11 percent of GM or a comparable share of Chrysler.
– Spencer M. Higley, Edmonds
May 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM
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
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