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Kai Ryssdal: The letters in our inbox came in several different flavors this week. Just as the news was full of Cash for Clunkers, so too did that topic generate a lot of mail. We had a couple of stories dissecting the now $3 billion program. Old gas guzzlers are broken down into scrap, so they can't be resold.

But Ron Walker from Torrance, Calif., cares less about getting the junk off the road and more about the jobs that'll be saved. Like his at Toyota.

RON Walker: Dealerships employ a ton of people here in the U.S. So if Cash for Clunkers keeps those dealers from laying off their employees for a couple more months, it's probably worth it.

Brian Ort in San Francisco heard our story on couples with Dual Incomes and No Kids, or DINKS as they're called, and how they're still spending despite the bad economy. He says just because a couple doesn't have children doesn't mean they're living the easy life. Y'know, like drinking margaritas in Mexico.

BRIAN ORT: Right, right! And it doesn't mean that all we think about is where are we going to spend our next $100 or our next $10. Mostly I think what we're just trying to hold on to our money like everybody else.

Juliet Jones in Orlando, Fla., wrote to comment on an interview we did. Last week I spoke with behavioral economist Dan Ariely about a government proposal to create mandatory 401(k) plans. Jones says she's fine with another government program to stimulate savings. She just wishes she could change a different program. One that's been around for a while.

JULIET JONES: I know for a fact that I do not contribute enough to my 401(k), and I would love to double my deposit every pay period. And you know I actually could if I weren't paying as much into social security. In fact, even a little bit more than I'm paying into my 401(k).

On now to subjects less financial and more fashionable. Clothing makers are mad about plaid this back-to-school season. And that annoyed Doug Philips in Portland, Ore.

DOUG PHILIPS: I've got nothing against plaid. In fact, I'm wearing some plaid today as a matter of fact.

So, clearly, Mr. Philips is down with plaid. But when some marketer tells him to wear it?

Philips: Companies essentially they try to come up with some kind of thing that will be the "in" thing for the year. And I understand these businesses need to make money and everything, but it seems to me like fashion should be more driven by what people really want, rather than what designers or retailers decide what's going to be the "in thing" for the season.

If you think the things we're saying are in, or are totally out of bounds, be sure to tell us.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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