Cash For Unintended Consequences Program ? (2009 Revisited)

The Cash For Clunkers Program Has Some Questioning Whether The Program Actually Created Some Problems For Car Buyers, Particularly Buyers Of Used Cars (Often Lower Income Folks) And Charities, By Making The Natural Pool Of Used Cars Smaller.

The Detroit News Ran An Editorial In Today’s Paper On This Topic.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

What do you think ?
Anything to that old saying “I’m from the government and I’m here to help ?”

Do you think demolishing 700,000 clunkers actually had a negative impact on used car buyers and charities ?
What about used engines that were taken out of the market ?

Were all these stimulus programs worth doing ? Did It Work Well ?

Do government entities and elected (or appointed) officials often react quickly without considering unintended consequences ?
Can you think of any examples today where government is engaging in rules of regulations that could have unitended consequences that aren’t being thoroughly thought through ?


IMO It was primarily intended:

Help the big three

Drum up car sales

“Stimulate” the economy

Clearly whoever thought of cash for clunkers DIDN’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS about low income folks that could have used (some) of these cars.

The term cash for clunker in and of itself is somewhat misleading. A fair percentage of these “clunkers” were in fact good condition cars with acceptable mileage.

A lot of people got rid of cars that had many years of reliable service ahead of them, just because the program enabled them to get a good deal on a new car.

I think that a lot of the clunkers were destined for foreign buyers in Mexico, the Carribean, and Central America. Should we facilitate exporting these cars or crush them? Either way they are no longer on US roads. If exported, they will continue to foul the atmosphere, even if at a distnce to us. The places they go probably won’t be as bad as Beijing, but the pollution they still create might be worth considering, too.

@db4690 I agree; car users are a widely varying lot, and seniors, students and low income types need access to cheap, good cars.

Some years ago a left wing environmental zealot proposed scrapping all cars over 15 years old to “help the environment”. He was very short sighted and created a storm of protest from retirees, classic car owners, and lower income folks who were the EXACT people whose votes he was trying to attact.

Many seniors bought larger cars in good faith when they retired, and 15 years later those cars are still in great shape with less than 100,00 miles on them. The zealot forgot that older cars belonging to seniors get driven LESS; that’s how they qualify for lower insraunce rates as well. Classic cars are in the same category.

Years ago Mexico City banned all taxis over 10 years old; that made sense.

Japan virtually makes any car over 10 years old worthless, since it nearly has to be rebuilt to “make it safe”. This stimulates the local car industry, but provides cheap imports for all countries where they drive on the left side. The Irish Used Car Dealers Association, for instance, was up in arms because all these 10 year old, low mileage cars were coming in from Japan for $300 plus freight and duty.

" Clearly whoever thought of cash for clunkers DIDN’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS about low income folks that could have used (some) of these cars. "

The article gives some credit to Nancy Pelosi. Isn’t she a champion of the lower income group ?


@csa Nancy Pelosi’s environmental initiatives often directly conflict with the needs of her voters. Phasing out coal fired power will defintely raise the price of electricity, and solar and wind are both subsidized by taxes. Left wing Hollywood Democrats really don’t care about the effects of their ideas on Joe the worker, whose wife has to carefully spend the weekly paycheck.

Revolts against these subsidies are already brewing in Europe; electric power in Denamark is 55 cents per kilowatt-hour!! Germans are g etting tired of the bottomless financial pit that green energy has created.

It’s an environmental disaster. It was probably the worst program for the environment that ever came out of Washington. It took 700,000 cars out of the used car pool, meaning older more polluting cars are being kept on the road longer, partly because the price of used cars has gone way up. So the cash for clunkers is keeping real clunkers on the road longer.I watched on the news were a SUV was destroyed, at the time I was driving a 1975 dodge w100 that got 9 mpg on the highway. That SUV got double my fuel mileage, was much, much nicer, at the time all I could afford was the dodge. It was free, I had to sell my other truck to pay medical bill and the guy I sold my truck too knew I was in medical debt and said I could have it for free if I could get it running, (thank your Roy) drove it for a year before I could afford a newer car that got 3x the fuel mileage. I would have gladly traded for the SUV and a real clunker would have been taken off the road. Now understand I made the truck safe to drive, but I’m betting just sitting in my driveway it polluted more than the SUV did driving down the highway.

Right now the truck is being stripped down and being rebuilt as a father son project, partly because the price of used trucks is so high that I can strip and rebuild this one and be money ahead, and partly because my son is really into engines and cars, to be 16 again.

“Hollywood Democrats”

Well, Sen. Pelosi grew up in Baltimore and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. While I think of her as a Liberal, I do not think she is at all the Hollywood type.

Disney Land Democrat !

Often, grandstand plays are necessary to assuage a constituency that has pent up frustrations and offers a formidable block of votes. Didn’t the President see an opportunity to throw some pearls out to several bi-partisan constituencies while simultaneously giving the overall economy a kick in the posterior as he paid off debts to unions with only a minor grumbling from inconsequential groups… Like us.

But a lot of Granadas and Crown Vics and Malibus and work trucks were trashed and many of them would have outlasted the new cars that they were traded for. And that’s a real shame.

It has been debunked that Nancy Pelosi flew 200 seat jets routinely from DC to San Francisco, but she DID fly in a private jet many times. If she were really concerned about the environment she should have flown in the same commercial jets we peons fly in. The same with
Fat Albert. He carries on about the environment but won’t go anywhere except in a private jet.

Still too far south, CSA. I think of her more as an Eastern liberal that moved west many years ago. Apparently, she even found a constituency. A big one, too.

There are extremists at both ends. Too many for my liking. I’d appreciate it if both extremes could get together long enough to actually get something done. This would require that everyting is negotiable, including their favorite projects. The far left wants full funding of social programs, and the far right wants full funding of miliary programs. Both will have to bend, and bend a lot if we really want meaningful cuts in federal outlays. Oh, and every dollar saved is a dollar out of someone’s pocket. While that is often a businessman’s pocket, it ends up being his employees pockets, too. He does, after all, employ people to do the work the government paid him for. One of the quickest ways to see unemplyment skyrocket is to cut government spending. We can hope that if it occurs, it will be short term.

I wonder how much pollution Al Gore actually makes, despite being an environmentalist. Or how much pollution some celebs created when they had their Toyota Prius flown in on a private jet

The GOP front runners for the White House spelled out exactly what the priorities of their party were; 1) eliminate capital gains tax 2) eliminate corporate income tax 3) eliminate inheritance tax 5) cut all entitlements to the poor. Such a misguided approach to improving the economy of this country is insane. It is so insane that Barack Obama was re-elected. The GOP candidates were as outrageously bizarre as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and voters are turned off by such arrogant buffoons. Cash for Clunkers was a much better deal than a 5% reduction in capital gains tax so I won’t complain too much.

@ Rod Knox, " The GOP front runners for the White House spelled out exactly what the priorities of their party were; . . .
5) cut all entitlements to the poor. "

Rod, if you would be so kind, please reference the GOP front runners (one or all of them) who spelled that out (cut all entitlements to the poor) and cite the exact location (or provide a link) of the quotation, so I can read it.

Thanks, otherwise the comment negates the whole of your remarks as I see it.


Didn’t you watch the debates, @CSA?

In the next few days I will look through the available videos and link enough to substantiate my remarks.

I don’t think cash for clunkers did anything negative to the used car market. A lot of reasonably fuel efficient vehicles were not eligible. What has skewed the low-end, used car market is the price of junk cars. If you can get $400 to junk a car- and more for a truck- there’s a floor that pretty much means the days of a decent $1000 used car are disappearing.

" Didn’t you watch the debates, @CSA? "

Rod, I caught some of the debates.

I can’t download videos with my computer technology (dial-up, too slow, no good), but thanks, anyhow. Steer me to the exact comments and the exact front runners who made them and I’ll be able to read where they aim to " cut all entitlements to the poor. "

I know we have to trim entitlements, but I had no idea that a front runner was going to cut All entitlements to the poor, but that sounds awful and is difficult to grasp. Please let me read it.


This link has a great deal of compiled information with footnotes and links regarding the entirety of my remarks on cutting taxes to the truly wealthy, CSA

Newt Gingrich slammed the pipelines with his message and other candidate’s messages became footnotes to Gingrich and the “Pledge.”