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Americans Burdened by Anti-Saving Policies

August 07, 1994

James Flanigan's "Behind Spendthrift Statistics, U.S. Has Saving Graces" (July 24) touches a critical matter impacting the American economy; it has been a problem since the 1960s when the world market and the decline in our savings rate threw us out of the catbird seat. Your choice of words makes an unstated statement: that Americans do not save because they do not choose to save.

I argue with that position.

Americans do not save because they are burdened (for several reason) with policies which make it damned difficult to save. The most important of these policies are those which make Americans automobile-dependent. The cost of automobiles, parking, municipal services, freeways and other roadways absorbs 25% of our gross product.

How can even the most dedicated saver save money when he is saddled with car payments, the cost of a home inflated with the costs of highways, parking, police and fire protection for motorists, the costs of parking added to the price of groceries, hardware, medical care, et. al--when, because of automobile-dependency, new homes are invariably built in places like Lancaster and Moreno Valley a zillion miles from anywhere, particularly jobs?

STANLEY HART, Altadena

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