Cash for Clunkers – It’s working!

08.01.2009

As you may have heard in the news, the Cash for Clunkers program ran out of money after four days of operation.  Yes, four days.  It was supposed to run for four months. To ensure that clunker-owners don’t fret about not getting free money after trading in their old car, the House of Representatives approved a $2 billion infusion into the program to keep it financed.

First of all, if I were the one responsible for coming up with the funding estimates for such an initiative I would be absolutely embarrassed right now. Financing ran out in 1/30th the time it needed to last. Really? 1/30th? Really.

Second, isn’t it convenient that the House could rush through 2 BILLION dollars in spending because they’ve got vacation to get to? Oh, and who decided they would get five weeks of vacation in August and September alone in the first place anyway? Maybe they were doing such a great job that we, their boss, thought they should have some time off. Not so much. They gave themselves vacation.  Here are their votes on giving themselves vacation:

House Vote for Vacation

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe time off is just what they need.  Less time working = less time to screw things up.  Heck, they could even go part-time and then we’d really be saving money!  I’m not the first to think up such an idea however; Citizens for California Reform is already petitioning the Californian government to do just that!

Third, and what makes me want to rip my hair out the most, is the typical politician response to so many people jumping at the free cash the program offers.  Representative Sander Levin (D) of Michigan explains, “The rush to use this program shows its need.”

Ah-hah!  I get it!  Offer people free money.  Lots of people take the free money.  We’ve found a runaway success!  May I have another?  Oh, it gets better.  Rep. Levin continues, “What else do we need to see [, idiot]?  This program is working.”

I see.  “Working” is no longer of measurement of effectiveness, but popularity.   Well why don’t we just make a bunch of programs that give people “free” money then?  Then we’ll feel important and useful!  Welcome to socialism.

Sources:

http://www.freep.com/article/20090731/BUSINESS01/90731028/House-approves–2B-more-cash-for-clunkers

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll537.xml

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Comments

08.06.2009 / MikeyLikesIt said:

No kidding. I watched a news clip on you tube the other day in which I heard the same kind of praise for the Cash for Clunkers – one of the representatives saying that his family friend who owns a car dealership couldn’t stop talking about how effective the program was at getting gas guzzling vehicles off the road and replaced with fuel efficient modern cars. No one even pointed out that this was not an analysis of how well the program was working. This kind of journalism which is in effect more like propaganda makes me ill.

If you want to read an interesting article about some of the less obvious effects of the Cash For Clunkers program, I really enjoyed this article: http://www.sbabg.org/2009/08/03/cash-for-clunkers-is-a-modern-day-version-of-the-broken-window-fallacy/

08.06.2009 / Aaron Hardy said:

Thanks Mike. That article you linked to is really interesting and logical. I also liked this article which it linked to:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204313604574326531645819464.html

If Cash for Clunkers is such a success in boosting sales, why not a Cash for Everything program? Why can’t people see through this!?!?

05.15.2012 / Jamison said:

The New Deal showed that success is measured popularity not effectiveness. Such a good point to make!


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