- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 10, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The basic problem for the Big Three auto companies is to reorganize their companies and products to be competitive.

Following are suggestions for solving that problem: Management compensation should be reasonable and competitive; employee wages and fringe benefits should be reasonable and comparable to those of other autoworkers; retirement should be a 401K plan; health insurance should be 80 percent company-paid and 20 percent employee-paid and only cover major medical expenses; products should be downsized to three models; bond holders should trade for common stock at 30 percent value; government should provide a total of $40 billion on a five-year loan at 4 percent interest; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should be appointed the “car czar.” He has the experience, integrity, “tough love” common sense and wisdom to get the job done.

Buy American policy: To provide an incentive for U.S. citizens to “buy American,” a 10 percent government rebate on all manufactured products made in America by American-owned companies with U.S.-citizenship workers would be a much better job creator than a tax reduction that is being considered. It would be an immediate stimulus to promote consumer spending, whereas a tax cut would only occur next year.

If American-made products are purchased and a 10 percent cash rebate is given, the individuals’ increased income tax on the rebate plus a higher profit generated by American manufacturers due to increased production would allow much of the 10 percent rebate to be recouped.

We’ve debated free-trade policies such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - import tariffs and tax incentives for businesses. A government-sponsored 10 percent cash rebate on American-made products by American-owned companies with headquarters located in America would accomplish what America needs to stimulate American jobs and increase profits, which are badly needed to cure our recession.

We’ve lost our textile industries, appliance industry, technological products and many, many more American-invented and American-developed products. We cannot afford to lose the Big Three auto producers, with 10 percent of the U.S. jobs related to this industry. Now is the time to “buy American.”

If our politicians will pass this suggested “buy American policy,” it will be an easily applied, immediate and long-range solution to the loss of American productivity, jobs and wealth.

JOHN N. DODGEN

President/chairman

Born Free Motorcoach Inc./Dodgen Industries Inc.

Humboldt, Iowa

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Carl Henn evidently has never heard of the current Toyota Prius (“Leave oil before it leaves us,” Letters, Thursday). The Prius generates its own electric power by using a small gasoline engine only at times when necessary to charge its own battery. The result: It does not use the power-company “electric grid,” and it gets somewhere around 45 to 50 miles per gallon of gasoline. Other automakers are busy preparing these “hybrids” to be ready for the market.

If more people owned these hybrids, our consumption of oil would go down by 60 percent without tapping into the power-company “electric grid.” Our family owns three Toyota Prius hybrids.

JAMES E. DAVENPORT

McLean

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