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Letters: Cars, health care and Santa

Kai Ryssdal Dec 9, 2008

Letters: Cars, health care and Santa

Kai Ryssdal Dec 9, 2008


Kai Ryssdal:
Seems like it’s been all cars all the time in the news lately.
And the same has been true in our inbox.
Two weeks ago commentator David Frum said it’s time to stop micro-managing the auto industry. Just let things work themselves out.
A lot of you agreed with David.
And told us you were surprised you did.
Joe Lewis from Las Vegas, Nevada was one of them.

Joe Lewis: The best two step plan for Detroit: One, help the big three retool to build greener cars, and two, use a gas tax to ensure those cars are marketable. A gas tax is also the right thing to do for our kids and grandkids and their planet.

Kim Bruno from Washington D.C. said amen to that — with a caveat.

Kim Bruno: Without a directive to spend the money on transportation it will be wasted.

Turning from autos now to another heated topic — healthcare.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with healthcare economist Victor Fuchs as part of our series Taking Stock.
Professor Fuchs said that for him, a good society would encourage individual as well as societal responsibility.
Eric Saldinger is a radiologist from Walnut Creek, California.
And he felt Fuchs didn’t go far enough.

Eric Saldinger: I listened to your interview with Victor Fuchs and had high expectations when he mentioned individual responsibility. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when he failed to use the term in its most significant context: the responsibility of individuals to maintain their own health. One of the main factors driving up health care costs is the failure of individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Economic historian Niall Ferguson’s out with a new book — this one about money.
We talked a bit about how competition between banks helped lead to this little financial crisis we’re having.
And he said at one point that in some ways we are all responsible for the crisis.
That didn’t go over too well with Steve Prestemon of Venice, California and he made this comparison.

Steve Prestemon: If I bring my child to a doctor who then kills my child out of negligence am I equally responsible for the death because I believe the doctor would do his or her job?

Finally, an apology of sorts and a warning.
This next letter’s not really suitable for kids.
Our report on retail sales a couple of weeks ago made parents of young children cringe. Here’s the relevant part.

Tape of Marketplace: And the NRF predicts a modest gain of about 2 percent in holiday sales this year. But for most retail analysts that forecast is about as realistic as…

Yeah, she said it, the guy with the presents.
Lesly Beck from Salt Lake City, Utah, and apparently a whole lot of others listen in their cars, with the kids in the back seat.

Lesly Beck: Maybe next time we could be warned with a spoiler alert, that would be nice.

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