POSTED ON FEBRUARY 4, 2009:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
As we all painfully know, the media was filled with stories about whether the government should spend billions of dollars to bail the big three automakers out of their financial problems.
The problem for GM, Chrysler and Ford, is that they are running out of money and may be forced into bankruptcy. The problem for the U.S. economy and our government is that if we don't spend billions to bailout the automakers, millions of autoworkers, not to mention car dealers and auto parts suppliers, will lose their jobs. This will cause more unemployment, less tax revenue to our troubled states, more foreclosures, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, the bailout does not address the real problem!
This billion-dollar bailout solution does not solve the real problem! The real problem is people are not buying cars. If people were buying cars, the automakers would have the money they need to continue operating. Giving billions of dollars to the automakers will not dramatically increase car sales. They will still have to close plants and layoff millions of workers because their cars are not selling.
Why have car sales for the big three declined so dramatically? After all, other manufacturers (such as Toyota) have not asked for a bailout; they have been hiring and planning to open new plants.
For 2007 and the majority of 2008, the answer to poor automobile sales was high fuel costs and a lack of fuel-efficient vehicles to choose from. As the credit crisis hit and the word recession entered the news, declining fuel costs were not enough to bring buyers back to the big three. And for people who want a new car, getting a loan is now a major barrier for all automakers. Giving the big three money will not solve the credit crisis, it won't make loans easier to get, it won't give them economical, fuel-efficient cars to sell for quite some time, and it will not make people feel the economy has improved.
If the government does feel it is important to save the millions of jobs the auto industry represents, we should ask ourselves: What would it take to increase car sales?
One answer is for the government to provide a $5,000 to $10,000 subsidy, depending on the price of the car, to anyone wanting to buy a new car. This would cost less than the rescue plan, stimulate car sales, keep autoworkers in their jobs, stop plants from closing, provide needed revenue to the manufacturers, increase confidence in lending money to the manufacturers, and keep the car dealers and parts suppliers employed. In addition, this would make car loans smaller and easier to obtain.
Another answer is to require banks receiving Federal bail out money to use a portion of that money to make loans for qualified buyers. We already know giving banks billions of dollars with no requirements will not ease the credit crisis.
These are just a few ideas. The key is to make sure we solve the real problem.
Thank you, Michael (Bates, UTW contributing writer), for pointing out the utterly hypocritical behavior of the city leaders and their wealthy patrons, etc., who have been openly stating for some time now that they do not want the blight of homelessness interfering with their precious downtown district, even though that is exactly where the homeless choose to live and it is where they have easy access to public transportation and other resources they need to be able to reintegrate into society.
The city leaders who are pushing this forced relocation of the homeless are the ones who deserve to be slapped with a Fair Housing Act violation. Other cities have found progressive, award-winning and effective ways to integrate homeless shelters into vibrant, safe downtown communities; for instance, there's the Common Ground effort in New York City's revitalized Times Square, where the homeless problem was vastly more significant than it is here.
Is Downtown Tulsa just too dense or are we just too lacking in compassion to figure out how to do that?
Down with Free Speech!
I moved to Tulsa almost five years ago. As I entered and left various businesses and restaurants, I noticed and picked up the Urban Tulsa Weekly. While I was almost overwhelmed by the space devoted to advertisements, I found enough commentary, news and humor to plod my way through. Sometimes disappointed, I continued to pick the paper up, take it home, and read it. I reserved judgment on it - was it a newspaper or some "rag."
Well, I have finally made up my mind. It's a rag not fit to wrap my garbage in. What did it? Ted Rall's column in the January 1-7 edition settled it for me. If this column his sole source of employment, and he is making a living at it, you are overpaying him. His articles show no insight, probity, research, or rational reasoning. To go after the President elect with the thought of impeachment is stupid.
Could he not have waited? Could he not have given Obama the chance to fail or succeed? He is not even in office (at the time of this letter being sent). What could he have done to deserve such treatment? I will not mention this article to others - you will see no increase in readership as a result of anything I might do. I will no longer pick your "paper" up at distribution points. Mr. Rall should be terminated.
Wayne G. Kelpin
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