Re "New cars that are fully loaded -- with debt," Dec. 30
A family trades vehicles five times in three years and now owes far more than the vehicles are worth. They say, "Not one dealer ever said this was a problem. Ever. I never had a dealership say no." What kind of nanny state are we turning into? Do we really need the government to monitor our debt? Do we really need someone to tell us when we owe too much? Is the subject really too complicated for the average person? School should be the place where we teach kids what debt is and how to manage it, just like we teach them how to count money and make change.
This situation of debt on automobiles is a problem for the economy and the country. However, it points to a more fundamental problem of how we look at life as a society and how we educate our children to live in society. If you really think about it in any depth, it is downright scary.
The auto industry's job is to sell cars however it can. The consumers' job is to pay back the money they borrow. What is confusing about that? The people in your article weren't duped; they simply want something (a new car every year) for nothing. The solution is simple: Pony up, pay your debt and stop buying new cars.
The best way to avoid car debt is by leasing. Purchasing a car is an exercise in futility. The moment you drive out of the dealership, the car loses value with depreciation. Once you lease on a regular basis, there isn't even a down payment when you get your next car. You always have a new car and a service warranty. More people have discovered that leasing makes sense.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
This article is a perfect example of why higher-level math courses should be a requirement to graduate from high school. Passing algebra and geometry makes the basic arithmetic of evaluating a loan or lease second nature. These courses also help develop analytical skills such as determining affordability and a twentysomething's need for an extended-cab truck or a new car every four years.