People have a right to know what's wrong with their cars

People have a right to know what's wrong with their cars
I was both horrified and angry to read the headline, "U.S. blocks release of data on automobile defects" in the business section of the Aug. 18 Vindicator.
It seems automakers and their Washington, D.C., lobbyists have been able to persuade the federal agency that oversees auto safety that reams of data on defective auto parts will not be available to the public. These days I breath a sign of relief when I get home from a trip on 224, but now I have to worry that under my hood may be lurking unsafe parts that GM feels no obligation to advise me of.
The inane reasoning for this secrecy is that the info would give competition too much information and consumers might be overwhelmed by all the data. Automakers feel it would be unfair if other automakers were able to learn from the mistakes of their competition. A life may be at stake but when it comes to greed its every man or company for himself. How have we come to this?
We auto buyers are entitled to receive a letter telling us of a potential problem and the decision is then ours to make -- fix it now or wait and see. Most of us are more savvy than the industry gives us credit for and would want it fixed now.
A case in point: Years ago my car was years out of warranty but with very, very low mileage when the transmission went. I went to a transmission shop and the repairman knew immediately that it was a defective pin, as he had seen it before. It cost $425 to have the job done. Two others shops said this pin had been a problem for years. Seems a lot of people knew except the owners who were out on the road every day.
I submitted a claim to GM, which they denied due to the age of car but suggested I try through the Better Business Bureau with my claim. Lots of paper work but several weeks later I received check for $374. GM knew they were wrong, but seems the mighty dollar comes first and you have to fight for your rights. That I can do!
Columnists should know there's no free lunch
The right wing columnists in The Vindicator must think their readers are pretty dumb. The latest con is Jay Ambrose's trashing of John Kerry for his opposition to privatizing Social Security. He says private accounts will protect Social Security. Get real. If you put less into a fund and keep taking the same or more out, something has to give -- probably benefits.
The pension guarantee board is an example. Because of company bankruptcies, it is way in the hole with less going in and more going out. It is a shame the Democratic Party doesn't have better spokes people. On the ABC program, "This Week," Mary Matlin, a Bush cheerleader, said people will be responsible for their own health care and retirement and that's the way it is. The Democratic spokesman, Donna Brazile, just sat there with a blank face. Bush is trying to take us back to the days of Charles Dickens.
He also talks about controlling drug prices as a mistake. Most of the other modern countries do it. Congress should hang its head in shame that many U.S. citizens have to go to Canada to get their prescriptions. He also talks about Kerry flip-flops on Bush's war. Bush has gone from the threat of WMDs to Hussein being an evil dictator. Donald Rumsfield, one of Bush's top guns, said he knew exactly where the WMDs were. I wondered at the time why he didn't tell the U.N. inspectors, who were roaming Iraq. It's too bad that there isn't a rule that the person who starts a war has to be on the front lines the first couple of months. There might be a lot less wars.
Thomas Sowell is another one who likes to mislead. He praises outsourcing, saying there would be no Honda plant if not for outsourcing. Honda is selling millions of cars in this country. If American companies want to build plants in other countries and sell their products there, I have no problem with it. But in many cases they can't afford to buy the products they are making. What is going on is nothing more than glorified slavery, especially in China.