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Area residents divided on proposed auto industry bailout

November 13, 2008|By MIKKEL WALLECH

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Area residents weighed in Wednesday on Democratic congressional leaders' plan to support a financial bailout for the troubled U.S. auto industry.

Tim Williams, 46, of Hagerstown, said he does not favor a bailout, saying the government partially is responsible for the state of the industry, but he feels Congress has its hands tied after the banking bailout.

"I didn't agree with them bailing out the banks, but since they have done that, they almost have to bail out the auto industry as well," Williams said.

"There is a substantial amount of people that depend on the auto industry for jobs, and now the industry is in jeopardy because of deregulation from the government," he said. "We, as citizens, are under increased scrutiny and laws, and I feel corporations should have to live by the same standards."

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Tim White, 46, of Hagerstown, said he believes there is a need for more fiscal responsibility across the board.

"This started out as a mortgage bailout," White said. "We are seeing it now with the auto industry, but it's becoming a bailout for whomever may need it."

Michelle Gill, 35, of New Market, Md., said she favored a bailout from Congress.

"With a recession upon us, I think it is imperative the auto industry is bailed out," Gill said. "Congress has already bailed out the baking industry, so the auto industry would be a logical next step, given the immense interaction the banking and auto industry have with each other on a daily basis."

Randy Knodle, 38, of New Market, said he did not necessarily oppose a bailout for the auto industry, but said he did not believe the funds should be taken from the $700 billion in the bailout measure that Congress approved in October.

"If Congress wants to bail out the auto industry, the establishment of another fund needs to be set up and voted on," Knodle said. "It's simple math -- tapping into the previous bailout will leave a shortage of funds for the banks."

Tom Kozlowski, 62, of Dunkirk, Md., who said he worked in the auto industry for more than 25 years, said a fair trade agreement is needed.

"The U.S. markets have an overabundance of foreign vehicles," he said. "Other countries are pushing their vehicles on our market, but they aren't buying their fair share of vehicles from us. ... The bailout would be a temporary fix, but not a long-term solution."

Lawmakers are expected to take up the issue when they return to the Capitol for a post-election session beginning next week.

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