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ATTACK ON GM IS NAUSEATING

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"Nauseating" describes the recent media attack against General Motors because its pickups 15 years and older have unsafe gas tanks. Of course there is some risk, but the gas tank must be located somewhere, and the issue has been blown way out of reason.

Experience shows this has not been a problem. Our family has been dealers in Utah County for GM products since 1939. Our shops work on all brands. We have never seen nor heard of a ruptured tank such as the one depicted in the government photos. Other aspects of this have been ignored. First, the force of a wreck necessary to rupture such a tank would be sufficient to kill the people who drive the lightweight passenger cars of today. Data are plentiful that these are far more dangerous than pickups. Second, cans of gasoline carried in cars, trailers and boats pose a far greater hazard than a GM pickup gas tank.This same type of harassment by government with its network of attorneys who seem to have nothing better to do is precisely what has killed the light-aircraft industry. There are hardly any manufacturers of light aircraft left. GM struggles like a fine thoroughbred race horse trying to compete and carry a huge fat jockey. In addition to an enormous tax burden, it struggles to provide an expensive employee retirement plan which most small firms could not begin to provide. This plus government harassment on ridiculous safety claims would sink this wonderful American firm.

One day we may wake up with several hundred thousand jobs gone and say, "Why did GM go broke?" Someone in a barbershop will answer: "It made unsafe trucks and had lousy management." Baloney. It has excellent management and its trucks are safe. If it fails it will be because you and I support a government that relentlessly attacks such silly items.

Paul L. Harmon

Salt Lake City