Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cash for Clunkers II

There has been some great commentary on this issue, largely because the program is so straightforward, so simple, and so obviously a bad idea.

Matt Welch:
It gets worse, from that whole social-justice angle. What about the estimated 12 percent of Americans aged 15 years and above who don't drive, period? What about all the adults who live in the 8 percent of households that don't have a vehicle? What about half the residents of Manhattan, who took transit planners' decades-old dream to heart and "got out of their cars"? What about those who are too poor to drive? The answer: All of these people are subsidizing whoever turns in an SUV or crappy old $800 K-Car like the one I used to drive. Not only that, but what do you think happens to the $800 car market when the guvmint is handing out $4,500 checks to have the things destroyed? I'll go ahead and state the obvious: It shrinks, making it more expensive for the truly poor people, the ones who want to make that daring leap from the bus system to an awful old bucket of rust.


Cash-for-clunkers amounts to a rounding error in Tim Geithner's nose-hair at this point, which is probably why at least some liberals seem so genuinely baffled by the disproportionate criticism it has drawn. But for some of us it's also a nearly perfect symbol of economic statism run amok. The federal government is taking from the many, giving it to the less-than-many, destroying functional cars, funneling money to an auto industry that it already largely owns (at a hefty taxpayer price tag), then taking multiple (and multiply premature) bows for rescuing the economy and the auto industry in the process.

Radley Balko:
You mean the government is offering people free money ... and they’re taking it? And they’re measuring the program’s success by how many people ... are willing to take free money? Shocker that it’s been so successful, huh?

There’s also the laughable idea that the government is ordering the destruction of tens of thousands of used automobiles it paid people thousands of dollars to exchange ... for new cars that may get no more than an added four miles per gallon. And all in the name of saving energy.

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