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This month, I have a very important topic to address. I want more people to understand and appreciate the car hobbyist as well as the committed, hardcore automotive fabricator. there are some people out there who don't appreciate our art. You could say these individuals are trying to control the automotive hobbyist and squash him or her out of existence.

Many of you may or may not know who Nancy Pelosi is and her recent antics. She is the Speaker of the House, and she has an idea to start a national "Cash for Clunkers" program. Speaker Pelosi thinks that destroying old cars would help stimulate the economy by increasing new car sales. The only thing crushing old cars does is create more debt, not to mention the affect it will have on small business trying to sell parts to maintain older cars.

The reason I say more dect is simple: If we don't have a selection of older vehicles to choose from, we are compelled to get a new or newer car, which means constantly making loan payments! Consider that you, the consumer, just bought a new car with a $700 a month payment, plus $300 per month for insurance, not to mention annual taxes. In this economy you never know if you're going to lose your job, which adds considerable stress to the deal.

Alternatively, if you had the option to buy an older, more affordable used car that perhaps requires some love and care, you could pay for it in full. Of course, the accompanying insurance and taxes would be far more reasonable as well.

Parts suppliers will be affected by the proposed measure as well. Some will go out of business, and those hard to find replacement parts will be so expensive, they will be nearly impossible for the average person to afford.

Ms. Pelosi's idea is elitist because it asserts that she believes she has the solution to how the common folk should manage their everyday transportation needs. Ms. Pelosi is totally disconnected from what real working people want and need in this dismal economy. Not only does she want to destroy our ability to buy older used cars, but she will also eliminate our ability to maintain beloved hobby, and further, she'll impair the ability of fabricators to make a living.

This plan is definitely not the solution to repairing our damaged economy. Now, I don't have a degree in economics, but I do know that if I ran my shop the way the goverment is spending my tax dollars, I would be in jail. Since I totally disagree with Speaker Pelosi, here is my idea to fix the budget. Some of you might have heard that some banks and some unnamed American insurance groups have, under severe scrutiny, given back some of their bonuses. To go along with that theory, I feel Congress should take a 40 percent pay cut. After all, in 2009 members of Congress will earn an annual salary of $174,000 with party leaders making more. Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) will earn $223500 this year. Amazingly, that is what legislators get paid of their public service. which doesn't include payments on the side for speaking engagements, etc. so, Let's do the math for a second using just the average Congressional member's earnings of $174,000. forty percent of $174,000 is $69,600. Now, let's take that figureand multiply it by 535 Congress members; that's $37,236,000 per year. Wow, now that's a big chunk of the deficit. In addition to that savings, we should make it known that we want them to reduce the costs associated with their "pet projects," cut back their staff numbers and reduce all of their traveling expenses on the tax payers' dime.

Those clowns in Washington work for us, we put them in office. These games that they are playing with our future are unacceptable. Stand up and use your voices Start contacting your local representatives and let them know we support a cap on Congressional salaries in addition to opposing the Cash for Clunkers bill. People are losing their jobs on a grand scale, while CEOs screw us over and take away our retirement benefits. We must stop complacently watching them do these things. and quit accepting the fallacy that we don't have any control. Our children and their children will be paying this money back. We need to make a difference now!

- Lou Santiago