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Published: Saturday, 12/20/2008

Big 3 must be efficient, productive

Detroit's car companies are failing for two simple reasons.

First, for about 40 years, the American car-buying public has been steadily increasing its purchase of Japanese, Korean, and German vehicles because they have been more reliable and economical than the products of the Big Three. Now that many of these cars are manufactured in Ohio and other states, the distinction between foreign and domestic nameplates has become blurred and the trend toward quality and economy has accelerated.

Second, management and the unions at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have never fully understood and acknowledged these facts. They're stuck in 1953, when they had no foreign competition and Japan and Germany were still crawling out of the rubble of World War II. Their failure to properly respond to changing market forces has brought them to their sorry state today.

The end result is that we now have two American car industries: Detroit's and the international transplants. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the internationals manufacture 54 percent of the cars we buy, while employing 113,000 Americans. The Big Three produce 46 percent with 239,000 employees.

If Chrysler, Ford, and GM can't become as efficient and productive as the internationals while producing cars of comparable quality, then they don't deserve to survive.

Robert A. Kelso

Sylvania

With regard to Jack Lessenberry's Dec. 5 column, "Medical marijuana mess confronts Michiganders," he is either incredibly naive or just plain ridiculous.

Getting an "initial supply" of marijuana or marijuana seeds is about as difficult as going to the local market for food. Marijuana and the seeds to grow it are readily available in any city, town, or rural area in America. In fact, you can get seeds for just about any variety of this God-given herb with very little effort. Those who don't believe it are clueless or prefer to keep their heads stuck in the sand for fear of the truth.

Ohio shouldn't follow Michigan's lead but, rather, it should just legalize marijuana and stop wasting tax dollars trying to stop something that's both in demand and in plentiful supply.

Marijuana: It's growing in a neighborhood near you.

David Light

Saginaw, Mich.

A Dec. 10 letter in The Blade was an excellent example of how the free market system provides the best service. If a business does not do what is best for the customer, it will be replaced by a competitor.

However, thanks to Ohio's legislature, that does not work for nursing homes. Even the very worst nursing homes in Ohio are protected against competition by the Certificate of Need law. The Ohio General Assembly refuses to allow competition, the most effective tool for better service, to work in Ohio's nursing homes. Anyone concerned about poor nursing home conditions should ask their state senator or representative why the law protects such operations.

Larry Manley

Findlay

When regular workers read that corporate CEOs, board members, and others are taking home hundreds of millions of dollars a year, it makes them think that they deserve a raise.

WALTER HENRY

Oregon



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