The clunker for cash program is one of the most insanely insincere and asinine government incentives I have ever heard of, and is quite indicative of the logic subscribed to by the Obama administration, and an example of the willingness of the left to have the wool pulled over their eyes.
Under the program, people who trade in their old “clunkers” get a $3500 to $4500 cash incentive to purchase a brand new car. The catch is the new car must get four miles per gallon more than the “clunker”; saving the planet one trade-in at a time. The only problem is, in order to qualify for the program the dealers who accept the trade-ins must render the engines permanently disabled, utterly destroying the value of the scrapped car.
What this does is make the car’s value so low that most scrap yards have little incentive to take in the disabled autos. See, most wreckers make their money by refurbishing the engines and selling them on the used market, you know the “reuse” part of that whole recycling motto. Since the amount of energy it takes to reclaim the metal from a working engine, melt it down only to turn it back into another working engine, is significantly greater than say just keeping the engine working in the first place, this program does little to reduce net energy usage (it would seem quite obvious to me that the most efficient way to recycle a car would be to just keep it a working car in the first place). What it also fails to do is make it affordable for low income people to purchase working used automobiles. With a sudden decrease in the supply of used cars and used car parts it makes it incrementally more expensive for poor people (you know Obama’s voters) to repair or replace their existing automobiles. What it also does is spike the output of nasty polluting factories that must now create, from scratch, cars to replace the demand for the cars that if not for the interference of the government were in perfect working order to begin with.
This program also directly competes with charities who accept used working cars to either sell to the used market or donate to needy families. So here we have a plan that does little if nothing to reduce net energy usage, takes money directly out of the pockets of charity organizations, makes it harder for low income people to maintain or replace their current cars, and renders thousands of otherwise working cars completely useless. Oh wait! What it does help to do is to re-inflate that car buying bubble (you know the kind of bubble that when it bursts causes the federal government to make billions of dollars in loans that will never be repaid) by encouraging people with “clunkers” (hmm who most likely owns clunkers?) to go into debt to finance a brand spanking new shiny car. Seems to me this program was primarily designed to increase output for the car companies while conveniently destroying their competition (the surplus they unwisely created themselves), all bankrolled by the people whom it eventually screws over, under the guise of saving the planet. With legislation like this, if the government was smart they would get into the car manufacturing business themselves. Oh wait second!