Saturday, February 17, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: GM payment plan a step to right wrongs

No amount of money can replace a life or lessen the impact of serious injury. But General Motors' recent announcement that it will move swiftly to compensate victims of crashes in cars with faulty ignition switches is exactly what the company should do to take responsibility for its mistakes. GM has finally admitted its decadelong error and should hasten to make right its contract with consumers who have suffered because of the company's deceit.

Kenneth Feinberg, an independent claims administrator hired by GM to craft the company's victim compensation plans, said the company has not set a limit for the amount of money it will spend on victim payments. Eligible recipients will be limited to victims and the families of those killed or injured in one of the 2.6 million small cars GM recalled earlier this year because of faulty ignition switches. When bumped, the switches caused the engine to shut off and rendered air bags inoperable. The company, which has acknowledged at least 13 deaths and 54 injuries because of the faulty ignition switches, knew about the problem for at least 10 years before issuing a recall in February.

Crash victims or their relatives, including people who have reached settlements with GM, will be eligible to receive $1 million for each death and $300,000 for a spouse and each dependent. A victim's lifetime earning potential also will factor into compensation offers. GM will not consider driver negligence, such as driving under the influence, texting or speeding when it evaluates claims. And the company will allow claimants with incidents that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy agreement to seek compensation. The announcement came just hours before GM issued yet another massive recall. This time, the company recalled 8.4 million automobiles with ignition switch problems. So far this year, GM has recalled 29 million automobiles in North America. GM expects safety repairs to cost the company $2.5 billion this year, a figure that does not include potential victim payouts.

As GM continues to march through this devastating period in its history, it should not haggle with the relatives of the dead or the injured. The company, which says many claims will be processed in as little as 90 days, should pay up and move on. If claimants are unhappy with Feinberg's offer, they should take their cases to court, where they should find a contrite GM ready to work out a deal. GM should not enter into protracted battles with victims who have already suffered enough.

It should not have taken a total meltdown for GM to be accountable for the quality of its products and recall them at the first sign of systemic failure. The company appears headed toward addressing its considerable wrongs. But even with seemingly endless recalls, criminal investigations, congressional scrutiny, a $35 million fine and the firing of 15 GM employees in June, government regulators cannot trust GM to police itself. It will take a concerted effort by the government, the company and the public to ensure GM remains accountable.

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Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18