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"Cash For Clunkers" Program Runs Out of Gas

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the spend-all-you-want-they'll-print-more dept.

The Almighty Buck 594

Ponca City, We love you writes "The Washington Post reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called members of Congress to inform them that the 'cash for clunkers' program will be suspended because the program has run out of money, and congressmen say they intend to ask the Obama administration to divert some funding from the existing economic stimulus package to maintain a scheme that they see as genuinely stimulative. 'Clearly, this has been a very stimulative program that's got consumers back into the car market. It's our hope that possibly more funds can be made available,' says Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association." If there is more funding, though, a report on CNET says it may come out of money to have been set aside for renewable energy loans by the US government.

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Did I miss something (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915769)

Is anybody going to buy a new car just because of this handout? Seems like it's juust giving a bonus to anybody who was going to buy one anyway.

Re:Did I miss something (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915819)

Since $4500 just about covers what a typical new car loses by being driven off of the lot, I'd say it makes someone buying a used car at least consider buying new this time around. If I had a $600 clunker sitting around, I might go for it even though I usually buy used.

Re:Did I miss something (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915919)

Yes. I would trade-in my old 1987 Plymouth to upgrade to a Volkswagen 50mpg Diesel (Jetta/Passat), but unfortunately my car doesn't meet the strict qualifications. Which I find funny. If I had an old 17mpg pickup I would be allowed to get a 19mpg SUV and get the free congressional money, but an upgrade from an old 80s pollutemobile to a new technology car that gets twice the MPG and is about one hundred times cleaner* is verboten.

Yet more government illogic and inefficiency.....

That's the same kind of illogic that allowed businesses to buy SUVs and then write them off their taxes (during the Bush years). I expected such things from the SUV-loving Republicans, but not from the Green Democrats. I expected the Democratic Congress to pass a bill that encouraged more high-MPG carss, not just an excuse to trade one gas-guzzling truck for another gas-guzzling truck.

Oh well.

*
* Jetta Diesel == ULEV (ultralow emission vehicle)
* 1987 Plymouth == so dirty it's banned from sale within the U.S. (except as an older used car)

Re:Did I miss something (2, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916009)

Just as an FYI, 17 to 19 mpg improvement is actually pretty good - almost 12%. And at 17 mpg, that's a lot of gas compared to a 12% improvement between, say, a 25 mpg sedan and a 28 mpg replacement.

But yeah, the program has a lot of flaws. I'm not a big fan of it anyway.

Re:Did I miss something (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916229)

>>>12%

We have very different definitions of good. When I shop I follow a policy of never buying anything unless it's at least 50% off, and often I get 60-70% off the price. That's why if I trade-in my ancient 80s pollutemobile, I would get a fifty mpg car. That's over 90% improvement, but I'm not eligible due to a stupid law.

The improvement I would make, in addition to the maximum of 17mpg tradein, I would mandate a minimum of 27mpg on the new vehicle - nearly 60% improvement. You could still buy an SUV at that level, if that's what you needed.

- So anyway at the end of the day, I'll still be driving my 1987 pollutemobile.
- And other persons will be trading a dirty 17mpg SUV for another dirty 19mpg SUV.
- The net effect on making air more breathable will be unmeasurable.

Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915847)

If you think that the only one who benefits when someone buys a car, you're sadly mistaken.

Everyone who buys a car in the United States puts money in the hands of the car dealership, the salesperson who sold the car, the manager of the dealership, the automobile company's American division, the autoworkers who built the car, the companies who make parts for the car, the employees of *those* companies, and so on ad infinitum.

Buying a car is one of the most patriotic things you can do outside of buying a home. It puts money in so many pockets that there really ought to be incentives to buy automobiles. This program should continue to be supported and funded because it is exactly the kind of fiscally conservative action that puts the money the government takes in taxes back in the pockets of the American public.

So yeah, buy a used car if you want to save money, but please realize that you aren't helping anyone except the oil companies in that case.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915949)

Fuck yeah, man, America! Fuck libraries, fuck GameSpot, fuck buying used things, let's all do the patriotic thing and buy new, new, new! CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME!

"Fiscally conservative" is basically "colluding with big car companies to make more profits?" Guess what? When you buy old cars, you're also putting money back in another American's hands, and you're keeping a useful resource (a working vehicle) from just rotting away.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916233)

A friend once said to me, that the motto is "A non-consumer is non-existing." (Sounds better in German.)
Which should be the new "Arbeit macht frei.". (Ok, that back then was way worse. But the mindset is just as fucked up.)

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915963)

"the autoworkers who built the car,"

Not to be an ass, but do you know how many Fords and GM's aren't made in the US? A good number of Fords are built in Mexico, while it's either Isuzu or Suzuki and GM have a combined plant in Canada to produce many small cars.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915991)

Don't worry about being an ass. That's a legitimate claim.

I don't see why the American government couldn't prevent this type of skirting of our laws. Ross Perot mentioned the "giant sucking sound", and while that might be applicable to Detroit, he really meant the migration of American jobs to lower-wage Mexican factories.

If we care about Americans, it behooves us to think about exactly the kind of anti-American job migration that you mention. If you're an ass, then, brother, we're both motherfucking asses.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916031)

Buying a car is one of the most patriotic things you can do outside of buying a home

And if you can't afford either of those, the third-most patriotic thing you can do is smash some windows, because that puts money in the hands of the insurance claims processor, the workman who fixes the window, the glass manufacturers, and everyone that they buy from...

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916061)

You go for the laughs, but you aren't really making any serious point.
For the uninitiated [wikipedia.org]

Who is losing in this case? What is the waste? The old car that is destroying the environment, tearing up the roads, sucking up valuable oil resources? Good riddance, I say.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916151)

And making a new car and scrapping the old one consumes no energy at all? How long do you have to run the new car before the amount of fuel you've saved is more than the amount used to build the new car? Before the pollution you've saved is greater than that of putting the old one in landfill?

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916223)

I'm not talking about saving gas over the long term. I'm much more interested in the immediate savings gained by changing automobiles right now.

If you're down to your last gulp of water while lost in the American northwest [wikipedia.org], it makes much more sense to swallow it and give your body what it craves [brawndo.com] so you can continue before ultimately meeting your doom. It isn't the average consumption that matters.

Re:Fuck you, this is about EVERYBODY (5, Insightful)

tukang (1209392) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916195)

Your argument is a form of the broken window theory. If someone can fulfill their transportation needs by buying a used car vs a new car then the economy will be better off if they buy the used car. Why? Because in such a situation buying a new car is wasteful - some of those people you mentioned - salespeople, managers, workers, etc - could be allocated to generating other resources that actually are in demand and ultimately that will generate more wealth and utility for society.

So yeah, buy a used car if you want to save money

Again, that saved money can be spent on other goods and services which benefit also benefits the American public.

Re:Did I miss something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915873)

There is also the fact that it does seem to be impacting used car sales somewhat, hence how green is it to have thousands of used cars rotting away in car lots?

Re:Did I miss something (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915923)

I was.

My wife's 94 Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 11 MPG tops. Anymore I doubt it's even that seeing it's in 4x4 all the time (dumb idea Chrysler! Maybe that's why they have issues with the drive train? *smack*)

Anyhow, it sucks for us the way the program is setup. She got the Jeep about 6 years ago. It's been her daily driver since then.
 
There was a period about a year and a half when the rear end went out, because of Chrysler making it all time 4-Wheel drive. We were newly married and cash strapped from college and the real world, so the Jeep sat until I could get it fixed. I replaced the rear end with a replacement from the front yard only to find out the gearing in the diff was different, so I had to replace the front end too. The front end ended up needing a new U-Joint (after a bit of troubleshooting) so I pounded the old one out and a new one in.

As you can see, this took some time to do and afford, so we let it sit uninsured and unregistered to save money since it wasn't road going until it was fixed. After it was good to go, we re-upped the insurance and registration. Now, we re-newed the insurance and stuff well before we ever heard of this CARS program or had any idea it was going to be coming into existence. We called the insurance company to see exactly when we had renewed the insurance and such so we could finally trade the damn gas hog in and get a Honda, Toyota, or Saturn (she likes the Vue which has a Honda motor anyhow) car or smaller, more gas friendly SUV. December 2008. So even though the car has been owned for 6 years, and driven the whole time it was possible (so minus about 8 months), we are ineligible because we haven't had it insured and registered for a full year (short by 4 months and a few days).

So yeah, besides feeling left out by a program that should have had some exceptions to the 1 year of insurance and registeration above, I was going to use it. Even for the people who weren't going to get a new car until the CARS program came out, the $3500 and $4500 combined with the fact a lot of dealerships would double it put a less problematic and fuel hogging car into the price range of people like us who still have no extra money because of student loans, school and house, and were forced to drive whatever left over gas hogging car we could afford, which are typically the worst of their make/model for running efficiently.

Re:Did I miss something (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915981)

Is anybody going to buy a new car just because of this handout?

Since the program has run out of money because the government under-estimated how popular it would be, I'd say yes, people will buy cars because of this handout, yes.

Re:Did I miss something (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916169)

Since the program has run out of money because the government under-estimated how popular it would be, I'd say yes, people will buy cars because of this handout, yes.

I guess I shouldn't use complicated phrases like "just because". Further, referring to people who were "going to buy one anyway" is just so confusing. I had a beer last night and this morning the sun came up. So I'd say yes, the sun will rise because of me drinking a beer, yes.

Re:Did I miss something (2, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916173)

Or, more likely, people who were already considering a purchase are just moving it up a bit to grab the government handouts. If you don't need or want a new car, $3500-4500 won't change that. If you do need or want a new car $3500-$4500 will not hold you back.

I'll admit there may be a very small percentage who will swing from the first group to the second because of the extra money, but mostly this is a bald give away to people who don't really need it. Is it popular with those people? Of course. But it is bad news and more debt for everyone else.

The government should stop this nonsense now.

Destruction of the second-hand car market ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915999)

Thereby preventing the poor from having any meaningful mobility in our public transport deprived cities.

Since larger cheap stores are nearly uniformly located on the most important roads into the cities, this puts those stores more out of reach of poor people, forcing them to acquire food, and anything else really, in more expensive inner city stores.

After all, what would democrats do if the poor become rich enough to actually feel they have a good life in America ?

Yeah. I think you did... (3, Interesting)

blitzcat (69699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916067)

I wasn't planning to get a car for several more years, but CFC made buying a car early worth it. I had an 05 Scion tC and a (clunker) 94 Dodge Dakota. Cash for clunkers put a new Mini Cooper S in my reach with almost no car payment. So I spent a month selling the Scion, and was due to turn in my clunker Friday morning when the money ran out and the dealer got shy of doing the deal. It left me in a bad spot because I didn't want to buy a car without CFC's at all, but I was now driving a mostly unmaintained unreliable car for a daily driver, since my perfectly good car was already sold. There was no warning things were about to go to crap with the program.

I was lucky things worked out by the end of Friday, but I spent a harrowing 9 hours camped at the dealer making sure I was first in line for any remaining funds in the program, and (slowly) submitting the paperwork to the cars.gov site. Cars.gov was so spotty that I participated in the document submission part (and had better luck than the dealer) to make things go faster.

I never would have gotten involved in the program if I'd known it could have run out at any minute and endangered my finances.

Re:Did I miss something (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916165)

Reportedly the program is causing used-car dealerships to suffer, so the handout is apparently modifying consumer behaviour. (For the worse, I'd argue.)

To boost auto sales... (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915771)

"The $1 billion program was set up by the U.S. government in June. The idea was to entice consumers to trade in their gas-guzzling cars for more fuel-efficient models, both to boost auto sales and improve the nation's fuel efficiency."

Bicycle, bicycle, why don't you ride a bicycle?
Cars are like, heavy, man.

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915823)

Ever try to fit two small kids on your mountain bike? :)

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

iJusten (1198359) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915917)

You are apparently not aware of child trailers [babystrollers-guide.com]? Some models have space for two kids and even for one or two shopping bags.

They're surprisingly light, and if you own a mountain bike, you should be able to handle one of these.

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916057)

Well, my comment was meant in jest... after all, I live in New York City and don't have a car.

That said, even though I like to bike, I would not commute to work for safety reasons. Not just in New York, but even when I worked in the burbs. Same reason I won't ride a motorcycle.

Those child bike strollers are great for Sunday rides with the kids in a safe setting, but I would never subject them to the daily dangers of the average road. They are also completely unsuitable to people who live in apartments, unless you are lucky enough to have some sort of storage area.

Re:To boost auto sales... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916177)

And what are you supposed to do when the kids are six or seven years old and have to get to soccer, baseball, softball, or school on a rainy or snowy day?

Really well thought out response.

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

Aroma 7herapy (814263) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915925)

Well. If they are small they can fit on a bike. Just add one seat on the steering wheel and one on the bagagedrager.

When your kids are 4/5 they can ride their own cycles, which has the advantage of them getting some exercise as well.

For the ages 3/4 you can buy a trailer for your bike to put the kids in.

Anyway, plenty of options there...

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916145)

When your kids are 4/5 they can ride their own cycles

On the bike trail, yes. But they won't be allowed to take their bikes on the road until they're old enough to have a driver's license, says the kids' grandmother.

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916147)

As I said to another poster, my comment was meant in jest... but bikes won't work in our current car-heavy culture.

Re: bike? :) (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915941)

True, but most (90%?) of the cars i see have one (1) person in them.
A 75 kilo/150 pound person using a 750 kilo/1500 pound contraption to transport him or herself
just doesn't seem logical to me. I think an internal combustion engine is beautifull, but do we need one per person? And i think boosting car sales and being more energy efficient are difficelt to combine, even with the more efficient and cleaner engines, but the net effect might be positve, i'm certainly no expert.
Two kids on a bike is easy, just not on a mountain bike, or indeed, on a mountain ; ).

Re: bike? :) (1, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916133)

Yeah, I think we really need to make gas more expensive. It's taxed to cover the roads, but I think it should also be taxed to cover much of our military spending as well... especially since it seems that our military is primarily used to protect our petroleum supplies these days.

We have to do something to reverse the trend of so-called "urban planners" to put such emphasis on automobiles. We are looking to move, and by far the easiest way for my wife and I to get an apartment between our two jobs and drive in. For my wife, public transit might be an option except the neighborhood is so shitty - but for me, public transit would be a nightmare involving two trains and a bus... all to save a 15-minute drive.

Re:To boost auto sales... (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915937)

a 60 mile commute it also very hard to do on a bicycle! and before you naysayers go on about how you should live closer to work, etc. its rather hard to do that when realestate prices there make even renting a very small apartment cost upwards of 40,000 a year, and buying a reasonable sized place cost >300,000 (where reasonable here is somewhere around 750 to 900 sqft. [thats 83.6 m^2 to 69.6 m^2 to you metric types])

Re:To boost auto sales... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916149)

as a commute, yeah, it's a bit rough, but it's something like a four hour ride. 60m ~ 100k, which is the short "century".

for round trips, that's kinda like a double century, which people also do.

Really seems to be working! (4, Interesting)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915779)

Seems like a lot of folks are using the program to purchase more efficient cars. Funny how the initial billion in funding jump started new car sales, and stimulated the economy in such a large way. If the initial 4 billion was supplied that was initially asked for we wouldn't be having this discussion. I think both sides of the political aisle see that this program is giving tremendous stimulus bang for the buck. I hate to see a lot of tired, old, and rusty cars going to the crusher but the fuel savings nationally should be measurable. Something like 250,000 new, more efficient cars have already moved, and hopefully this will get factory workers back on the line, working, and paying taxes, while preserving some semblance of U.S industrial capability.

Cheers

Re:Really seems to be working! (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915915)

To me, this program seems like a bad deal in general.

To begin with, many clunkers still run well and are paid off. My car is 10 years old (1998 Ford Contour) and I have no intention of getting a new one unless something happens to it. It's not the best looking car around (it has its share of dents) or the most powerful, but it works, is well-maintained, and gets me where I need to go. To me, it's not worth it to give up a car that is paid-off, runs well just to go into debt to buy a new car in a time where I should be working to get out of debt. You can argue about fuel efficiency, but new car payments would cost me much more. (I telecommute almost exclusively and don't do much back-and-forth driving) It just doesn't make much sense.

Re:Really seems to be working! (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916071)

You can argue about fuel efficiency

And you need to. How much fuel is required to build a new car, and to scrap an old one? What milage improvement do you need to get out of your new car for this to be a net improvement? It's not immediately clear to me that this program is factoring this into account. Unless you know how many miles a person drives per year, it's difficult to make this calculation. You also have to factor in future fuel efficiency improvements. If a car bought next year is more fuel efficient, but takes the same amount of fuel to manufacture, as one bought this year then waiting until next year to upgrade may result in less fuel being consumed in total.

Re:Really seems to be working! (2, Insightful)

Lando242 (1322757) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916029)

If you were going to buy a new, fuel efficient car why in the hell would you buy American? If 90% of the people go out and buy an import how is that going to help GM, Chrysler and Ford? I went here (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byMPG.htm) when I first heard about the program and went looking for a vehicle that would net me the 4.5k stimulus package. Since my old shit bucket gets 23 mpg average (by their rating system) I would need a car that gets at least 33 average to score the $4,500. How many US made cars came up? 2. Both Fords. Really only one car, because the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid and 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid are basically the same car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_CD3_platform). The problem is that US car companies have basically done nothing to improve fuel economy in the last 10 years. Why now, 11 years after my Oldsmobile Alero was made, is it still considered to have good fuel economy? Have we made so little progress? Why is my newer Toyota Tacoma, which is much less aerodynamic and heavier, getting almost the same mpg rating (22 mpg average)? Why does Ford, the only major car company in America on that government list, need a hybrid engine to top 35 when half the Japanese and European cars on the list are standard gasoline types? As you can see I'm not a big fan of US made cars, not only because of their notoriously poor quality (which has gotten much better as of late) but poor mpg ratings and much shorter lifespans. While I can't really think of a future without Ford, GM, etc, I have very mixed feelings about the botched Bush Bailout, and little better Obama follow up. Even so I know that THIS program, which may stimulate the economy and car sector as a whole, wont help domestic car makes as much as it will imports.

Re:Really seems to be working! (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916185)

The funny thing? I got curious and hit up www.toyota.co.uk and www.honda.co.uk... they both have diesel versions of most of their cars (Civic, some car models not offered here, Corolla, etc) that, as written on the site, get over 50 MPG (Yes, it said MPG, not KMPG so I'm not sure exactly how it's rated... but figuring VW diesels here get 50+ mpg it's about on par with one of those). The issue, we don't have them here and I'm willing to be one reason is the American view that diesel is a dirty nasty fuel...

If 4 billion was supplied (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916033)

If the initial 4 billion was supplied that was initially asked for we wouldn't be having this discussion.

So, you really don't know how government works. ALL programs are designed to 'run out' and be extended. This one just has got more public notice then most.

Re:Really seems to be working! (5, Insightful)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916073)

the fuel savings nationally should be measurable

That's only true if the cars being turned in were being driven a lot. If retired people are trading in old cars that were only being driven once a week to go to the grocery store, this isn't helping the environment at all. In fact, it is hurting the environment because of the resources that went into manufacturing a new car that was unnecessary. That is why I have always advocated a substantial gas tax -- it creates an incentive to get a fuel-efficient car where the incentive is proportional to the environmental damage (and national security threat of relying on oil from the Middle East) that is actually being done. Further, the people doing damage are the ones that pay a penalty for it. The Cash for Clunkers program is not well aligned with improving the environment, and it rewards people for damaging the environment (i.e. those that bought inefficient cars) at the expense of those that were more responsible, since they will be paying more in taxes in order to pay for the clunkers being traded in.

Re:Really seems to be working! (5, Interesting)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916077)

Yeah, and the big issue is the dealerships/new owners may get screwed. There are a ton of cars yet the dealerships have to process via the CARS system. I guess it can take up to 3 hours per car to actually file the thing. The government ran out of money, and the dealerships still have many, many cars sold under the CARS program they are going to need to get CARS money for.

Problem is, the government is working at it's finest again. I'm not really for either party, so don't read this as me blaming one side or the other, it's just how it's been reported. The House has passed the extra $2 million, but it still has to hit the Senate. From reports, there's a few Republican Senators who are going to block the bill, or at least try to stall it long enough.

Why are they going to do this?? I don't have a clue. I understand they may not like the CARS issue, and maybe think it's a waste of money. But that raises a few points. One, it's helped save a lot of small car dealerships, at least for a time now. Two, the money that's been flowing around surely hasn't hurt the economy. Three, if the Senate shoots down the extra money, what's going to happen to the dealerships and new car owners who find out that even though their trade in + new purchase met the requirement of the program, the program ran out of money faster than anyone could believe so now the $3500 or $4500 per car is a no go? The dealership is basically stuck fronting the $3500 or $4500 until the government can get them the money as is. Without the extra influx of money to the CARS program, a *LOT* of dealerships may find themselves holding a *LOT* of $3500 or $4500 "discounts" that will take a struggling business market already and completely trash it.

Even if the dealerships went after the customer for the extra $3500 or $4500, a lot of them may not be able to afford the extra costs, or may have to sell the car off right away. While this may help the "new" used market segment, the customer is back to purchasing a cheaper, possibly less fuel efficient car to get around.

All in all, a confusing and maybe not completely thought out program, but with an even more poorly thought out Government Party "I'm not going to support it because it's another parties idea" possible blocking of money.

Yeah, a great way to revive the economy (4, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916089)

What a great way to fix a recession caused by people who got into too much debt buying houses they could not afford! Let's make them get rid of their cars and buy new ones for more debt! Credit is the fuel on which the economy runs, you know. If these people stop spending, then by golly, we need to give them more money so that they can KEEP spending DAMMIT!

Backend sucks (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915781)

I work for many car dealerships and know there's an IT admin somewhere in the fed govt that's having a really bad month.
The backend sites (fueleconomy.gov and esc.gov) are damn near useless - they mandate dealers scan in all the paperwork and upload as pdf, but it's basically been one big DDoS - all the dealers in the country trying to submit the deals right here at the end of the month. Been this way for days.

Wow (4, Insightful)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915787)

When you give people their own money back, they spend it.

Who'da thunk it?

Why, I think they could learn from this and practice some more evidence based policy by giving everyone their own money back, and then they could stimulate more than just Government Motors.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915853)

I think the concern in this recession is that rich folks would simply buy "safe" investments like treasuries with any tax cuts, which wouldn't stimulate anything.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915985)

I think the concern in this recession is that rich folks would simply buy "safe" investments like treasuries with any tax cuts, which wouldn't stimulate anything.

Top bracket taxpayers are overwhelmingly small business owners paying their business taxes on their personal tax returns. Cutting taxes means more money to reinvest in small businesses that produce most new jobs in America and providing less discouragement for workaholic small business owners to keep working when they really don't have to. Yes, it's unfortunate that limousine liberals get the tax cuts too but they still help on balance (the cuts, not the liberals).

Since small business owners are overwhelmingly Republican and the UAW bankrolls the Democratic Party the "Cash for Clunkers" program made more political sense than tax cuts. Tax cuts also mean less government control over the economy and that would be double plus ungood.

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916083)

I think the concern in this recession is that rich folks would simply buy "safe" investments like treasuries with any tax cuts, which wouldn't stimulate anything.

Top bracket taxpayers are overwhelmingly small business owners paying their business taxes on their personal tax returns. Cutting taxes means more money to reinvest in small businesses that produce most new jobs in America and providing less discouragement for workaholic small business owners to keep working when they really don't have to. Yes, it's unfortunate that limousine liberals get the tax cuts too but they still help on balance (the cuts, not the liberals).

Since small business owners are overwhelmingly Republican and the UAW bankrolls the Democratic Party the "Cash for Clunkers" program made more political sense than tax cuts. Tax cuts also mean less government control over the economy and that would be double plus ungood.

This is the same, tired, republico-libertarian snow-job.

my entire family owns small businesses and this is NOT how it works.

Properly managed businesses are incorporated, meaning they are protected by the same tax law as the giants everyone loves to vilify.

As such, whenever taxes threaten their personal income, they just keep the money in their business and claim less income, even though they earn the same in their net worth through re-investment in their business.

In other words, RAISING taxes, not lowering them, encourages small business owners to re-invest in their business rather than claim more income and hoard money in personal investments.

Re:Wow (1)

Desipis (775282) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916109)

Top bracket taxpayers are overwhelmingly small business owners paying their business taxes on their personal tax returns. Cutting taxes means more money to reinvest in small businesses that produce most new jobs in America and providing less discouragement for workaholic small business owners to keep working when they really don't have to.

Giving money (tax cuts or whatever) to top bracket tax payers, means that some worker somewhere has to provide goods/services/labour to the rich person to get that money flowing back into the economy. Giving money (tax cuts or whatever) to the poor/disadvantaged, means that some worker somewhere has to provide goods/services/labour to the poor people to get that money flowing back into the economy. The difference isn't the stimulatory affect but rather who benefits from the economic redirection.

Of course I don't see America as a country that is lacking in cars, so I don't see the point of focusing funding in that direction.

Re:Wow (1)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916115)

Utter nonsense. Small business, the ones whose owners file on their personal tax returns, may bring in bring in revenue that, by itself, would be taxed at the highest bracket. But this tired reasoning always seems to ignore that small businesses have substantial expenditures. The net income of small businesses is rarely enough to trigger the top tax bracket.

Drop the GOP propaganda. We have 50 years economic theory and real-life proof that cutting taxes is not the best way to stimulate the economy. If you're serious about wanting the best bang-for-the-buck stimulus investment, rally for increased food stamp benefits.

Re:Wow (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915911)

I'd be willing to wager that you aren't giving people money back. I pay taxes, and am not eligible for the program. Since we are closing in on less than half the population paying taxes, I bet at least some of the people taking advantage of the program don't pay taxes, or at least pay less than $4,500. It is redistribution.

Not sure if it is stimulating the US car market (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915797)

Perhaps this is just an anecdote, but the few people I know that took advantage of this program bought a Honda or Toyota as they have pretty good gas mileage comparatively. I do find it comical that this is being floated as a stimulus plan when it seems to be going to foreign car companies. But I suppose as long as more people end up driving efficient cars, this is a worthy goal. I'm just unsure if it is do-it-right-in-the-middle-of-a-recession worthy.

Re:Not sure if it is stimulating the US car market (4, Informative)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916163)

I hate how in this whole auto debate everyone seems to ignore the Toyota plants in Kentucky and Michigan and the Honda plants in Ohio and Alabama. The Honda plant in my hometown directly or indirectly employs probably a third of my neighbors.

Moreover, both car companies are publicly traded in the US. I have some friends who have made a killing on Toyota stock in recent years.

Yes, GM is owned by America, and its American operations are bigger, but the car companies that actually make good cars are making a fair number of them here, too.

Clunkers is a clunker (4, Insightful)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915799)

I'm still not in favor of this "stimulus". Not only is it for a group of people that have older cars. But it rewards those who were too irresponsible to buy "fuel efficient" cars to begin with. Honestly, 5 years ago you could have gone out and bought a Hummer, and now you can trade it in, and get a discount on your next purchase.

Then what I don't understand is that all of the car that are traded in, go straight to the car crusher. What about all of the families that are in need of a decent affordable car, but cannot afford to buy a brand new one? Why not give a tax credit to everyone who buys/owns a new vehicle that meets a certain MPG?

It just seems like this bill rewards those who are rich and were environmentally irresponsible over the last 10 years.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915905)

Why not give a tax credit to everyone who buys/owns a new vehicle that meets a certain MPG?

Because that only helps the urban young, poor, trendoid and childless, who are already in the democrats' pocket. This plan reaches out to those with families, middle class, and the sportsmen in rural and semi-rural America.

Wait... you didn't think this was about helping the environment, did you?

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (1)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915993)

Thats the thing, I live in semi-rural/rural America. I can definitely say that it only a small percentage of people qualify. Don't make the assumption that rural people all drive these massive gas guzzling tankers. Most families around here drive everyday sedans, such as an Accord, Corrola, yes even the Prius. Those that do drive some larger pick-up truck typically have a reason they need it for their work to carry their tools to/from the job site. Or produce the food you eat at the dinner table.
Plus crushing every car does nothing except create piles of metal in some landfill somewhere. Why not put them up for sale in used car lots, create more jobs, and help the families that are really driving some old beater of a car that get even less MPG.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915945)

It's welfare. If you were poor, lazy, dumb, or didn't care, and had a piece of crap, you benefited from the program. All the people who cared, had the means, and upgraded their cars for fuel efficiency got screwed.

It was so simple to make this program fair. Simply drop the new car and year requirements (I believe any car made after 2001 is ineligible, so the Hummer may not fit), and made it strictly any percentage mileage improvement from the average. And then allow the dealers to decide what to do with the vehicles.

So person who hates their 2003 Dodge Neon would upgrade to a Prius, but the used Dodge Neon may go to someone with a 1988 Civic or something.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (1)

Aroma 7herapy (814263) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915973)

It just seems like this bill rewards those who are rich and were environmentally irresponsible over the last 10 years.

I'm not sure about the rich part, but wasn't every american who bought an american car over the last 100 years environmentally irresponsible?

Although this programs borders on protectionism, it is can be a good way to give an incentive to US mfgrs to build cars the way the japanese have the past 25 years.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916001)

Then what I don't understand is that all of the car that are traded in, go straight to the car crusher.

To stimulate the streetsweeping and glassmaking markets, you have to go around breaking a lot of glass... [wikipedia.org]
We're destroying perfectly usable vehicles (usually trucks or SUVs). This is destruction of wealth, not stimulus.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916123)

Note that the broken windows fallacy isn't always clear-cut. If you go around breaking all of the single-glazed windows in a region, for example, and they are all replaced with double glazing, then the amount of energy required for heating drops. As I recall, it takes 5-10 years for double glazing to save more money in heating bills than it costs to make and install, so after this period your window-breaking spree has had a net gain. The energy used to replace the windows is wasted, but the energy lost through poor insulation is also wasted, so your net wastage is reduced. This would qualify as stimulus. That said, this program appears to not be doing the required calculations particularly accurately, so if it is a net gain then it's more through luck than judgement.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916021)

Why yes, anyone who bought a $100K Hummer could indeed cash in and get $4500 for it now...

irresponsible? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916047)

But it rewards those who were too irresponsible to buy "fuel efficient" cars to begin with..

If that isn't an elitist and offensive attitude, i don't know what is. You sir, can take your prius and shove it.

Re:Clunkers is a clunker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916105)

Of all the clunkers out there how many do you honestly think are Hummers? I would guess very little. This program is targeted at the middle- to lower-class people who bought a clunker not because they were "irresponsible", but because they couldn't afford a higher-end, more fuel efficient vehicle. I suppose the owner of a $50,000 Hummer could trade it in to save $4,500 on an Insight or Prius (I doubt it), but those people are going to be in the minority.

Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915809)

They estimated that $1 billion would be enough. They figured that would last for six months time.

It barely lasted 2 weeks.

This is why central economic planning doesn't work, and why shortages ran rampant throughout the Soviet Union and eastern communist countries. Simply put - Government politicians are no good at running an economy. They don't have the necessary skills.

Re:Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915841)

P.S.

And their mistake didn't just affect the government and a few carbuyers, but it's also affected the trillion-dollar car industry from Toyota to GM to Honda to Ford..... all of whom have developed and scheduled television advertising to run through November..... and suddenly all those spots are worthless.

That's called government inefficiency.

I just can't wait until that level of incompetence affects the health industry. Oh that's right - it already has via Medicare, Medicaid, and the govt-supplied health systems in Canada and Europe, where rationing based upon age ("sorry you're too old") is now common.

Re:Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916107)

where rationing based upon age ("sorry you're too old") is now common.

Let's ignore how ridiculous your final statement is (you should try being old someplace with universal healthcare before you spout gibberish).

Pick your preference:

1) Getting 4 fingers chopped off in an accident as a 20 year old, and being told your insurance covers reattaching one of them, or if you don't have insurance that you will be in debt for the rest of your life for the care you received while you were unconscious.

2) Being told "no" to an operation that would've extended your life by a few months as a 90 year old, after a lifetime of never having to think twice about whether the health care system would treat you without asking "so, how are you going to pay?"

For that matter, you can bet your ass your insurance company would say "hell no!" in the latter case as well.

Sorry (0, Troll)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916141)

Well, in the US right now it's more often than not "sorry, you're too poor." A national health system that encourages people to pick up preventative care is win-win for everyone (except the richest of the rich). Emergency rooms aren't a solution.

Re:Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (0)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915927)

This is why central economic planning doesn't work, and why shortages ran rampant throughout the Soviet Union and eastern communist countries. Simply put - Government politicians are no good at running an economy. They don't have the necessary skills. I agree. We should have a small cadre of men and women who all know how to run the country. They will be the experts at running things, but there needs to be some oversight like a supreme leader who is the ultimate defacto answer. Granted, people should still be able to vote for their president, but the president should really be more of a figurehead role whereby the experts rule. Is this what you had in mind?

Corporate executives are SOO much better right?! (1, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916005)

They estimated that $1 billion would be enough. They figured that would last for six months time.

It barely lasted 2 weeks.

This is why central economic planning doesn't work, and why shortages ran rampant throughout the Soviet Union and eastern communist countries. Simply put - Government politicians are no good at running an economy. They don't have the necessary skills.

I suppose all those executives at lehman brothers and AIG were so much better right?
and I suppose robber barrons, cartels, MAFIAA, and health insurance firms are providing so very well for the populace at large!

There is only one real difference between public and private management of the economy: The government is, at least mildly,ACCOUNTABLE.

Re:Corporate executives are SOO much better right? (5, Insightful)

folstaff (853243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916125)

There is only one real difference between public and private management of the economy: The government is, at least mildly,ACCOUNTABLE.

Really? We should not forget where the current economic meltdown began. Congress, particularly one committee in the House, regulated and looked out for the interests of the nation monitoring the financial health of Fannie and Freddie Mac. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, both high ranking members of that committeereceived the most political money from Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac over the past 10 years (Obama was in the top 3 as well [quite the coup for someone who has not been in politics that long]). Their failed oversight may have gotten Dodd a sweetheart deal on his home loan, but the rest of us? We get the to pay for the bailout. Those two knuckleheads are still on Congress.

When a company fails, it fails a percentage of the people. When government fails, it fails all of the people.

Accountability in government is a shell game.

Do you only watch fox news or something? (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916213)

More lies from the echo chamber, it began when, under the montra of "government regulation is bad 'mmkay" they repealed the very laws which were put in place after black tuesday specifically to prevent the great depression from happening again.

I suppose next you'll blame the CRA, which only made red-lining illegal, not denial of loans based on credit history.

Re:Corporate executives are SOO much better right? (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916171)

There is only one real difference between public and private management of the economy: The government is, at least mildly,ACCOUNTABLE.

Uhhh... are you living in the same country as the rest of us? Corporate executives are accountable... to their respective boards of directors and/or stockholders. If they do things to far out of line, they can certainly expect to loose their jobs. You don't generally see companies spending double their income year after year, as a certain Government who shall remain nameless has been doing for the last year or so.

Re:Corporate executives are SOO much better right? (4, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916237)

If they do things to far out of line, they can certainly expect to loose their jobs.

Uhhh... are you living in the same country as the rest of us? When corporate heads screw up, they leave the company with tremendous "golden parachute" severance deals, then go on to be hired by some other company at even higher compensation. They most certainly do not end up suffering the way free-market zealots say they should.

Re:Corporate executives are SOO much better right? (4, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916203)

The reality is quite the opposite.

Without government bailouts, the worst a private company can do is to piss away their own money (and that of their clients who have hopefully done their risk-management homework) and go out of business.

When the government screws up, you pay them a trillion dollars at gunpoint so they can try it again.

Re:Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916079)

Yes, it's a desaster the program worked better than hoped for. I'm sure the car industry hates it that they sold these cars so fast, they didn't even have to advertise.

Re:Proof Congresscritters are Economically Dense (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916137)

No, this is part of a stimulus plan trying to jump start an economy that has been practically destroyed by laissez-faire capitalist fundamentalists.

Comparison of the Soviet Union to the U.S. is silly. The U.S. has many successful parts of a planned economy, like the highway system, the military. Many other countries have far more success central planned elements, like health care. Some things work better when centrally planned, some things do not. In the U.S., certain political elements exist to make sure that government fails.

And about the whole Soviet Union thing, during a period when the country went through immense turmoil, it raised the standard of living of the average person dramatically, so much so that until seventies, the west was paranoid that the system might actually be better economically. Then it went into stagnation. After the stagnation, the free market fundamentalists put a very large part of their population into poverty. They suffered severe stagnation under central planning fundamentalism and now they suffer under massive poverty under free market fundamentalism.

late breaking news (1)

hammarlund (568027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915827)

I believe that the program has already received an additional two billion dollars of funding by Congress last Friday before they recessed for the summer.

What about the traded in cars? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915867)

Don't the traded-in cars just get sold as used cars? So this program put not only the newer, efficient cars on the road but also leaves the older inefficient ones rolling around. Your tax dollars at work benefitting people who bought big SUVs a few years ago who want to trade them in already.

Re:What about the traded in cars? (3, Informative)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915901)

Actually no, they pour some chemical into the engine of any car traded in on this program. This chemical ruins the engine and makes it impossible to use. They then crush the car for scrap.

There will not be one used car from this program on the road after it is traded in.

Re:What about the traded in cars? (2, Insightful)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915907)

No, the traded in cars go to the car crusher. A really horrendous way of getting rid of the vehicle. Why not just put certain types up for sale to used car salesmen and stimulate that industry as well? The way the US government is right now...it seems to be a good trend. Pass a bill with only a slight idea of what it does, and not reading into the fine print.

Re:What about the traded in cars? (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916219)

The point is not only to stimulate the auto industry, but to remove less fuel efficient vehicles from the road. You defeat that purpose if you keep the traded-in vehicles in circulation.

The CARS program is essentially the government buying a host of fuel-inefficient vehicles for $3,500 to $4,500.

Best of a bad idea (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915893)

Subsidizing new cars isn't a great idea. The government is still moving money around, which is inefficient. Its like moving energy-there is some loss for administration at the least. When the government does it, they have to raise taxes, which creates disincentives on the margin. This ends up being another bailout for the auto industry as well. If the industry really needs all of the money we are giving them, we should have let them collapse and move all of that capital to places where it would actually do some good. But, if we are going to do the whole stimulus thing, and we aren't going to cut taxes like we should, then this seems like a marginally acceptable way to do it.

Re:Best of a bad idea (2, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916209)

The government is still moving money around, which is inefficient. Its like moving energy-there is some loss for administration at the least.

Right. That's why the best thing for the economy is for all the money to be stuffed into mattresses, so it doesn't circulate at all.
Oh, wait, no, that's not right. It's the other thing, you know, dead wrong economically. Velocity of money is important and when you're in a credit crunch (which we still are), one key thing is to keep the money moving. It's a lot like oil in an engine. If you "save" all the oil in the pan, the engine locks up and destroys itself.

New Cash for Clunkers Program? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915895)

Trade my old Pentium I and II systems in for a Quad-Core system with 8GB RAM?

ummm. congress already approved another $2B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28915939)

Friday afternoon congress approved another $2B for this program. So it hasn't run out of cash yet. Cash for clunkers rolls on, but thanks for the inflammatory headline.

Old news, Funds already tripled! (5, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915953)

This was on NPR national coverage earlier this week.

Within 24 hours of the news getting out that the program was out of money congress rushed a pre-recess bill to the floor to make sure 2 billion they had in reserve for this program was authorized for disbursement.

Hate to put a damper on all the anti-government diatribes, but congress realized this form of stimulus has worked, and have been swift to see it continues.

Re:Old news, Funds already tripled! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916025)

Hate to put a damper on all the anti-government diatribes, but congress realized this form of vote buying has worked, and have been swift to see it continues.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Old news, Funds already tripled! (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916045)

No kidding. I'm a bit of a news hound, watching all forms of Internet coverage as well as the occasional national newscast. This news is fully THREE DAYS OLD, and the very day they said it was out of money, they pumped more into it, just like you said.

It's too bad the editors aren't a little more news-savvy, too. But I suppose you can wish in one hand...

Re:Old news, Funds already tripled! (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916225)

yes, but has it passed the Senate and the (as reported few) republicans who said they will block or stall the extra money? (Which has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.. leave the new car owners and dealerships hanging with a debt of $3500-$4500 per car sold.. that's helping the economy!)

Re:Old news, Funds already tripled! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916155)

Hate to put a damper on all the anti-government diatribes, but congress realized this form of stimulus has worked, and have been swift to see it continues.

Wow! What if every program they proposed had to have its funding tripled? That would be awful.

Re:Old news, Funds already tripled! (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916181)

Two billion is a drop in the bucket and may have already been spent by the time government realized the program was out of money. My view is that they'd need to fund it at somewhere around 20-100 billion to keep the program funded through it's final date. Depends how much gaming of the system goes on.

Hate to put a damper on all the anti-government diatribes, but congress realized this form of stimulus has worked, and have been swift to see it continues.

By saying "worked", what do you mean? It certainly has generated business for government owned businesses, GM and Chrysler. It has generated economic activity which might satisfy the less discerning Keynesians who don't care about the broken window fallacy. But I doubt it'll lower carbon emissions for the US.

another BAD choice (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915983)

Another BAD choice by the Americans.
Why do away with functional vehicles that serve a purpose and get the americans indebted even more?
Why increase the US deficit even more and give the money to the people which will get loans to finance a new(er) car.
Peter Schiff had a recent videoblog about this.

So this bank holiday is true?

Re:another BAD choice (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916095)

Well, it isn't the best idea to give people incentives to spend money and take advantage of taxpayer dollars, I agree. I think these folks are desperate to give the car companies a boost, not help the environment like they say. At least they're not declaring war, which was the last attempt to stimulate the economy :( I see that Peter Schiff is an "investment guru". You have to ask yourself though, if this guy was so good at investing, why is he whoring himself out to do interviews? Never trust gurus on tv... unless they're tv gurus.

Interest Free Loans to the Federal Government (3, Insightful)

Fezzick (913356) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916023)

If the economy and the fall of the major auto makers haven't put dealerships out of business, this program surely will. Many dealerships have already delivered multiple $4500 rebates to their customers, and have yet to be reimbursed. It looks doubtful that they ever will. Many of the deals have yet to be accounted for by the NHTSA system due to glitches and server load. So... not only is this idea horrible from a national fiscal policy point of view, but now the very businesses that this is intended to help out, which are already struggling, are being forced to give large interest free loans to the federal government that very well may never be repaid.

Too involved in business (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916063)

While a lot of people have discussed the idiocy of this program (rewarding people who made bad decisions, destroying working cars, and vastly underfunding the program), another point we should consider is that this program is probably a direct result of the US government's continuing involvement in the US auto companies. I doubt there would be as much support for a cash for clunkers program, if it wasn't for the fact that US government directly or through the UAW owns two of the three car companies. So in addition to the direct bailouts, somewhere above 50 billion dollars, we have at least a billion (and perhaps as much as 3 billion, if Congress continues to fund the program) thrown away in an attempt to generate business for the car companies. This is a classic case of throwing good money after bad.

Go further into debt (4, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916081)

So this "stimulus" money:

  1. Drives the government further into debt, at a time when the "value" of a government bond is approaching junk bond status.
  2. Causes people to go further into debt, at a time when consumer debt is at an insanely high level, and there is still the possibility of more people losing their jobs.
  3. Gives (borrowed) money to the car manufacturers, many of whom are NOT US entities (follow the money).
  4. Removes money from programs (like renewable energy) that WILL create wealth in the US.

Yes, this sounds like a brilliant idea to me.

And on the subject of "improving efficiency of the fleet" - look at the relatively low mileage targets the program has: they consider 26MPG highway to be an improvement? If they REALLY wanted to improve the fleet mileage, they would have insisted upon any car being purchase having at least 40MPG highway.

Sorry, this is just the "bread" part (with the ongoing MJ crap being the "circuses" part).

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28916131)

Most fail to take into account .. the money can go to any car .. so plan on seeing the money used for more non US cars.

Sorry but nothing was written into the law to prevent that .. again another half ass law..

Wrong category (4, Informative)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916201)

I see absolutely nothing in this story that in any way relates to Technology. This belongs in the Politics section, editors. Please stop cluttering my Slashdot frontpage with anti-government flamebait.
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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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