1. My 1985 Toyota doesn’t qualify for the Cash for Clunkers program because it was rated at 19 mpg. It might have got 19 mpg in 1985, but today it barely gets 12. Plus, it burns about 2 quarts of oil per week. So much for the environment; I was going to buy one that got 48 mpg. Now I have to keep my gas guzzling, oil spewing environmental scourge.
2. People who already own environment-friendly cars won’t qualify either. The program rewards people who bought gas-guzzlers in the same way the bank bailouts rewarded people who walked out on their mortgages. Owners of fuel-efficient cars are getting screwed just like those of us who bought homes we could afford and made our mortgage payments.
3. If you have a clunker and want to buy a G.M or Chrysler car, G.M or Chrysler should have to come up with the cash. Maybe they could pry it from the $83 billion (and counting) we’ve already given them.
4. President Obama has hailed the program as a huge success. Only the government could brag about giving away money. Did they think that car buyers would turn it down? In reality, people who would have purchased cars months ago simply postponed their purchases in anticipation of the give-away. In any case, the true measure of success can only be calculated this fall when new car sales will be reduced by a number exactly equal to the number of Cash for Clunker buyers. Aside from the transfer of money from one group of taxpayers (the ones who didn’t qualify) to another (the ones who did), the net economic effect is zero.
5. Since the clunkers must be destroyed, our used car options will be reduced and used car prices will go up. For some of us, clunkers are all we can afford. A friend of mine just traded in his 1995 Toyota 4Runner (17 mpg) for a 2009 Honda Civic (27 mpg). I would have been happy to give him the $3,000 it was worth. But he got the full $4500 clunker bribe and didn’t even buy an American car.
6. The $1 billion allocated for the program was in addition to all previous bailout and stimulus money.
7. The $1 billion allocated for the program was not enough. After months of planning by the crack auto industry task force, the Obama administration grossly underestimated the demand. It was supposed to last until November, but didn’t last one week. Now we are being asked to come up with another $2 billion.
8. CITI was contracted to administer the program. I’d hate to see the companies the government rejected before they picked CITI – which had lost $34 billion last year and had to be bailed out with $45 billion of our tax money. How better to reward incompetence, than with a fat contract?
9. The Cash for Clunkers program started July 24, almost a month late. Two days later, the computers crashed. Shortly after that, and out-of-the-blue, the EPA decided to change the cars that qualified. The guidelines for the program was 150 pages; the application was 100 pages; CITI received $50 million for administering the program - all this to process a simple discount on a figurative handful of automobile purchases that took place during one week.
10. The principal value of the Cash for Clunkers program is its loud, stark warning that these arrogant, brash clowns should have little, if anything, to do with designing or running our health care system. After months of trying, Obama himself can’t show how his $1 trillion health care monstrosity can be controlled by the government or financed by taxes and “savings” squeezed from the health care system. He is basically asking us to trust him, and government. Will you trust him later, when he says we need another $2 trillion?