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UAW deserves blame
for Detroit's collapse

Senate auto talks fail | Dec. 12, story

Pin the blame on stubborn UAW

It seems to me that the reason the auto bailout died on Thursday night is that the United Auto Workers were unwilling to restructure their ridiculously handsome pay and pension deals to something that was similar to what non-UAW workers make. By the way, those companies that use non-UAW workers aren't standing in line begging for money!

So these workers would rather have their employer crumble than make a deal that makes their pay and pension plans less ridiculous? I'm sorry, but I have zero compassion for them then!

This ain't the good ol' days when the Big Three were making money hand over fist. Things have changed and it is unreasonable to think that the UAW workers shouldn't need to change as well. If they fail, I put it squarely in the lap of unreasonable UAW workers!

Todd Christofferson, Palm Harbor

GOP is out of touch

Let's see: AIG asks for $150-billion and gets it — no problem. Then they go out and party like fools at exclusive resorts and try to hand out millions in bonuses to already overpaid executives.

The U.S. automakers ask for a $14-billion loan to keep 3-million Americans working, to be paid out from previously legislated funds, endorsed by the president and president-elect — and the Republicans in the Senate vote it down and blame the autoworkers union.

The bone of contention is labor costs, and the Republican stance is that American workers make too much and should drop to foreign pay rates.

In fact the real problem is the legacy costs that continue to be necessary because these same Republicans have fought for years to leave the burden of health care and retirement on employers. It is not acceptable to expect employers to fund these programs and still compete with manufacturers in countries that provide them as an entitlement of citizenship.

The Republican Party no longer represents the American public. Its base, as George Bush so aptly stated, is made up of the elite.

Alan Fathauer, Tierra Verde

Senate auto talks fail | Dec. 12, story

Republican opposition looks bitter and partisan

In one form or another, we are all going to pay for this, whether it is in the form of a loan, or worse, as unemployment compensation and welfare. This fallout is not only going to be from the autoworkers, but from trickle-down devastation to all documented and undocumented jobs that will be lost.

A word to the Republicans: Your track record is at an all-time low. You are holding on by a hair. All Americans are watching your voting record. At any other time I would agree with your stand, but at this point your negative vote concerning this matter only looks partisan and bitter.

Matthew Mahoney, Seminole

Senate auto talks fail | Dec. 12, story

Union greed is on display

Is anybody surprised that the greed of the leaders of the United Auto Workers has now been demonstrated beyond doubt?

While the rest of the country, or even the world, is stepping back for the common good, only this group is claiming its demands are paramount. They are willing to cut back a little — in three years. Wow.

In our family, we have had several union members, dating to the time when workers truly were exploited and needed protection and organization, but this is ridiculous. They'll let the companies fail, knowing that their own salaries and pensions are intact. This is a pendulum that has swung a bit too far. Thanks for making it obvious.

Max R. Loick, St. Petersburg

Build an American car

Whenever I criticize someone who drives an imported car, their complaint is almost always "quality." Who knows who is really responsible for poor quality: workers, engineers, cost-cutting CEOs?

My suggestion for the floundering auto industry is not to build a copycat Japanese car, but build a state-of-the-art American car. Call it a "Renaissance." Use American workers, American parts, equip it to burn American gasohol, natural gas, or electricity, or all three. Encourage those who made millions off our free enterprise system to buy one, also politicians, news workers, autoworkers and retirees, or anyone who wants to put America back on its feet again.

Remember who makes war vehicles! With no American auto industry, who would build the jeeps, tanks, Humvees? Let's get the American auto industry rolling again!

Douglas Winther, Dunedin

The game is rigged

There were several articles in last Sunday's Perspective on the economy and consumer confidence. The overriding question is: Why aren't people buying or investing?

It's simple really: The economic meltdown has forced the public to take a hard look at what passes for democracy in this country, and the only logical conclusion is that we have been sold out by politicians in both parties. People who have had their 401(k)s decimated are (or should be) furious because they now have to postpone or give up on their plans for retirement, not because of a normal downturn in the economy, but because of outright and massive fraud by the financial industry, enabled by their handmaidens in Congress (who betray their oath of office for what amounts to a pittance).

Why have we not seen any action on the part of Congress to hold these highly paid CEOs accountable and frog-march them off to jail? Obviously, they're all in it together.

Listen up, Washington! Until you convince people that the game is no longer rigged, this rancid heap will continue to fester no matter how much money you create out of thin air and pump into the system.

Dan Robl, Palmetto

Daniel Ruth

An asset for the newspaper

I have to admit that when I opened the St. Petersburg Times to the Opinion page Friday, I did a double take because I immediately recognized Daniel Ruth's familiar face. I had to turn to the front page to make sure I had the right paper.

While I don't always agree with what Dan writes, I do enjoy his columns and I think it was a sad day when the Tampa Tribune had to let him go. I think the Trib's loss is the Times' gain. Since the Trib adopted a new format, it is just not the same paper as before, and I most likely won't renew my subscription there when it expires.

Humberto A. Calderon, Tampa

Brilliant move

Congratulations to the St. Petersburg Times for adding Dan Ruth to its capable staff of opinion writers.

The area just wasn't the same without his column in the Tampa Tribune, and now that he's writing for the Times my little corner of the world is a much brighter place again!

Steven Solomon, Tampa

Worthwhile wit

Even though we knew the St. Petersburg Times was the superior newspaper, my husband and I continued to subscribe to the Tampa Tribune for one reason only: Daniel Ruth.

Finally, though, we knew we had to make the change and reluctantly gave up the hilarious Mr. Ruth. Imagine our surprise and great joy Friday morning when we opened our paper and saw Daniel Ruth's smiling face. Congratulations to the Times for acquiring this great humorist and congratulations to Mr. Ruth. May we have many more years of your insightful, witty commentary.

Sharyn Tams, Tampa

UF president donates bonus to scholarships Dec. 9, news brief

A refreshing gift

Kudos to the president of the University of Florida. Immediately after receiving his $285,000 bonus, Bernie Machen donated the entire amount to Opportunity Scholarships.

I applaud his actions. The current trend in business of greed is poisonous. It is refreshing to see the actions of someone who has kindness in his heart.

Gail Randle, Clearwater

UAW deserves blame
for Detroit's collapse
12/13/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 21, 2008 3:23am]
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