What might happen if US carmakers get a jump-start

Regarding your Jan. 18 editorial, "Do US carmakers need a jump-start?": Yes, the Big Three need help. I don't say this just because the livelihood of my family for the past 100 years has been connected to these carmakers. I say it because in Japan the companies get support from their government for research, etc., which gives them an annoying advantage over domestic US companies.

Federal aid might give the Big Three a chance to reclaim their place and to jump-start the industry. In Detroit, we have a lot of automotive know-how, but all that is useless without the resources to put it to work. We have the jumper cables ready.
Gabe Engler

Regarding your Jan. 18 editorial about US carmakers needing a jump-start: Giving $500 million taxpayer dollars to companies whose recent accomplishments include SUVs, the Hummer, and the destruction of the EV1 electric car, just to play catch-up with Japan, would be a waste.

The future lies in developing clean energy sources to power vehicles, homes, and industry. Let General Motors and others resurrect and improve all-electric, zero- emission cars such as the EV1 and develop strategies for generating clean electricity to charge them. Then let US carmakers work on fuel-cell cars that can also be charged with clean electricity. Let's also revive public transportation. The burning of emission-causing fuels, even in hybrids, is putting the very life of the planet in jeopardy through global warming and environmental pollution and destruction.

The age of oil, coal, and gas must end now before these fuels run out, if the planet is to survive ultimate degradation.
John D. Wyndham
Peterborough, N.H.

Should bad credit bar job applicants?

Regarding the Jan. 18 article, "The spread of the credit check as civil rights issue": Wouldn't it be a better idea for Harvard to hire Lisa Bailey, whose case was highlighted in the story? Ms. Bailey can do the job and has been doing the job as a temp (with a low credit score) – so what has changed since the position became fulltime and salaried? I think this is a case in which someone is being assumed guilty without having the opportunity to prove innocence.

I handle a small amount of money at times in my job, and this will not change because, when I was hired, my credit was good. I know people who owe unbelievable amounts on credit cards and may never pay off their debt, but they aren't hampered yet because, so far, their credit rating is not poor.

To Lisa Bailey: You go, girl. This situation needs to be changed. If credit checks are going to be run on any job applicants, they should be run on all job applicants – including presidential candidates and important businesspeople.
Donna Ladnier
Mobile, Ala.

Regarding the Jan. 18 article about credit checks as a civil rights issue: The idea that credit checks are racially discriminatory is absurd, as is the concept that such information is not relevant for employers making hiring decisions. Certainly consumer debt and economic inequality are problems in our economy that should be addressed, primarily through a return to a truly progressive tax system. But those who are adversely affected in our current economy are challenged to manage their affairs prudently. A bad credit history indicates a lack of such prudence – a matter that is race-neutral and certainly of interest to an employer.
Patrick Coony
Escondido, Calif.

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