Cash for Clunkers Proves Government Can Do Good Things

The cash for clunkers program has been such a success (over 245,000 new car sales in just a couple days) that the government is going to triple its original allotment to a total of 3 billion dollars. This will enable hundreds of thousands of additional citizens to recycle their old, worn out and heavily polluting vehicles for new ones that are $3,500 to $4,500 cheaper due to the government largess.

Why is the program so great? It’s simple:

1. The program gets older, bad mileage, heavily polluting and often dangerous cars off the roads forever. They must be crushed and shredded as a requirement of the program, so they will never drive anywhere ever again. Anyone looking for a cheap ride will have to look somewhere else. An added benefit is that fewer people pressed for cash will be able to afford a vehicle, thus reducing congestion on our already busy highways.

2. The top cars being traded in were Jeep Grand Cherokees, Ford Explorers and pickups, Chevrolet Blazers, and Dodge Caravans. I think all will agree these vehicles were mistakes they day they were made and to shred them is the only way to treat such automotive travesties.

3. The top cars being purchased were Toyotas, Hondas, Hyundais, and the Ford Focus, so foreign companies benefit most from this program. Their economies are in worse shape than ours, so this program has the added benefit of assisting other nations while helping our citizens get better made vehicles for less money. Why not help others needier than we are if at all possible?

4. With newer vehicles on the road, ones that use significantly less fuel, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It might be argued those countries need our money, too, but they don’t.

5. Car crusher facilities will benefit the most as they stand to get almost ¾ of a million new customers. These are relatively high-paying jobs, too, and more of these crusher operators will have to be hired. These new jobs will help offset the high unemployment plaguing our nation.

6. Poorer people, who might otherwise not have been able to purchase a new car, now can with help from the taxpayer. Who doesn’t want to help a fellow citizen with his or her new car purchase? It is only fair. Just like food stamps. When someone needs a hand we must all give a little to help. It is the American way.

It’s easy to see, then, that this is a win-win-win-win-win-win all around. Way to go Washington. Finally, you got something right.

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Posted by at 01:10 | Posted in Measure 37 | 28 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • David Appell

    I don’t think this program is a success — my calculations show that we’re paying about $3K/mtC, a huge, huge amount.

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2009/08/cash-for-clunkers-program_08.html

    If reducing GHGs is the goal, this money could have been much better spent.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      From your blog – “burning through a gallon of gas releases about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

      Except burring a gallon of gasoline does not release 20 pounds of CO2.

      If it did, then we would have some pretty wacky physical consequences of that.

      First of all the law of conservation of energy would have to be repealed. We would be burning something that weighs less than 20 pounds getting something that weighs more than twenty pounds plus a lot of produced heat. This would pretty much constitute perpetual motion as we would be getting more out of a system than we had put in.

      Burning a gallon of gasoline might result in the formation of 20 pounds of CO2 through the gasoline combining with the atmosphere in the process. However it does not release 20 pounds of CO2.

      • David Appell

        Rupert, perhaps you did not take Chemistry 101?

        See “How can a gallon of gasoline produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide?” http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/co2.shtml

        • David Appell

          PS: Your error is in assuming that the reaction takes place in a vacuum. Of course, it does not. See also: http://www.slate.com/id/2152685/

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Rupert, perhaps you did not take Chemistry 101?

            I did, however I caught your error based on violation of thermo dynamic laws and the fact that your claim results in the creation of matter.

            Your citation backs me up definitively. No where does it claim what you do, burning gasoline release 20 pounds of CO2.

            This is an astonishingly rudimentary mistake for someone who claims to have a PhD in physics.

            I caught this blunder on the first read through, although I have a very strong science background.

            >PS: Your error is in assuming that the reaction takes place in a vacuum.

            Ok, this is a second mistake. Combustion cannot take place in a vacuum.

            In addition I also clearly stated that I did not assume the reaction was taking place in a vacuum.

            Here is the quote

            “Burning a gallon of gasoline might result in the formation of 20 pounds of CO2 through the gasoline combining with the atmosphere in the process.”

            Your source citation backs me up definitively and refutes your claim absolutely.

            It clearly states the increase in weight is due to combining with the atmosphere, not the release of CO2 from gasoline as you claim..

            I have a very hard time believing someone with a bona fide PhD in physics, and a science writer to boot would make these fundamental errors.

            I would now like to go on record as officially doubting the validity of your PhD.

          • David Appell

            Release, production…. call it what you want. It’s not an important point here. The important point is that using 1 gallon of gasoline results in 20 additional lbs of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere & oceans.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Release, production…. call it what you want.

            No! you cannot call it what you want. Science writing especially is not about calling things whatever you want.

            >It’s not an important point here.

            Its a really important point as it speaks to basic competency. Maybe not on this issue, anyone can run a calculator, but on a myriad of others.

            You claim a physics degree and thus authority on the subject yet could not see your error when it was pointed out twice.

            It is astonishing that person is trying to be a science writer, where clarity of language is extremely important, misses their error twice in a row.

            I would think it would make you understand a little bit more why so many seem to doubt you actually have a physics PhD. I was not among them as it did seem you had a thesis on record with SUNY for a PhD. Seemed good enough to me so I gave you the benifit of the doubt.

            However after making this mistake twice in a row I cannot see how this sort of error is consistent with a science writer of any competency with a PhD in physics.

          • David Appell

            Rupert, I am sorry to have to tell you, but these are mere blog post comments and hardly rise to the level of science journalism. It’s something tossed off in a minute and does not undergo the scrutiny and revisions of journalism. A lot of Americans seem to be making the same mistake — that they can get their news from blog comments. You can’t, no matter who writes them.

            Note that even the Slate article uses the word “releases.”

            I know this point is perhaps your only way of expressing disagreement with the overall concept, which is that a gallon of gasoline produces a heck of a lot of CO2. And that your personal attacks on my degree are merely your way of trying to dismiss me without actually being able to counter the facts. Such personal attacks have no place in real discourse and are quite impolite.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >It’s something tossed off in a minute and does not undergo the scrutiny and revisions of journalism.

            Hogwash.

            You got out a calculator to run the numbers.

            You checked and cited other websites to get the initial figures.

            An on top of all that you missed the error when it was pointed out to you twice. That is hardly dashed out in a monent.

            Making a simple word error is just poor writing. Not comprhending it when it is pointed out to you twice brings into serious question the validity of the clam that your PhD is questionable.

            >Note that even the Slate article uses the word “releases.”

            Does the writer for Slate claim to have a PhD in physics and is trying to make a career out of science writing?

            >I know this point is perhaps your only way of expressing disagreement with the overall concept

            Not at all, as I totally agree with your overall concept.

            I am just astonished that a science writer on his own blog makes such elementary mistakes and then misses them again when pointed out to him.

            >And that your personal attacks on my degree are merely your way of trying to dismiss me without actually being able to counter the facts.

            Not at all, I countered the fact with a very solid example, namely that you were violating basic laws of thermodynamics with your assertion.

            >Such personal attacks have no place in real discourse and are quite impolite.

            They have quite a real place in real discourse when they are in answer to a personal attack.

            You asserted that I did not pass chemistry 101 at the outset.

            Now you are trying you pull this personal attack BS when I am answering you in kind? What nonsense.

          • David Appell

            > Hogwash.
            > You got out a calculator to run the numbers.

            Rupert, please.

            I did the calculations on the back of a piece of paper. I did not agonize about the small difference of meanings between “release” and “produce.”

            Again, it’s clear that all this is trivial, and it’s just your way of disagreeing when you have clearly been defeated on the salient, technical point: 1 gal gasoline -> 20 lbs CO2.

            Making a big deal over a small word choice is just silly and stupid, and I’m not going to waste any more time over it.

          • David Appell

            > and is trying to make a career out of science writing?

            Trying?

            I’ve been doing science & technology writing since 1995. I’m a bit beyond the “trying” stage.

            Any other personal insults you want to try and throw, Rupert? Let’s get them all out of the way now, so we can concentrate on the important points.

  • Hinton

    Easy easy to do “good things” when you’re using taxpayer billions for private business and union pay offs to get it done.

    Sorry… this is a scam that will benefit the few at the expense of the many.

  • Rob DeHarpport

    I’m not so sure it’s beneficial to Borrow this 3 Billion for a very short term gain. And is it really a net gain? When you consider every thing involved, I would like to see a real honest cost/benefit analystic study done. You can bet your last buck that Congress didn’t do it before enacting. Furthermore most folks still have to finance to purchase, will they all be able to stay above water?

    • David Appell

      > You can bet your last buck that Congress didn’t do it before enacting.

      I do not inherently believe that. I suspect the CBO did an analysis of this bill, as it does most others.

      Rob, why don’t you spend a few hours searching for such an analysis, and then report back to us?

      Thanks.

  • snkbyt

    Another ludicrous Gov’t bail out…supposed to help the failing US auto manufactures out of debt and to get people back to work ‘in the USA’.. It’s our tax dollars paying for this ‘cash for clunkers’ so why wasn’t there a stipulation to buy American cars? Sending all our dollars overseas…OHH that’s right it’s their (Asian) money we’re borrowing but US citizens have to pay it back. I can’t wait for the tax increases…won’t affect the middle income or poor, BS, it trickles through on price increases on goods. You will pay a lot more than cash for clunkers saves you in the long run.

  • John

    I have to wonder how many of these people, now in debt with huge car payments, will find themselves out of work soon and unable to pay for those new cars? Guess who get stuck with the check? You and I do.

    I’ll gladly drive my 1993 ford explorer, that I owe nothing on, rather then have a new vehicle with huge payments. I don’t care if my vehicle gets bad gas mileage and I don’t give a rip about “saving the planet” either.

    • Scottiebill

      And how many of these people who cashed in on this ridiculous plan are going to have these new cars repossessed by the end of the year because they have lost their jobs, as John suggested, or for other reasons for being unable to make the high payments. Then they will have nothing to drive and will have a big hit on their credit report.

      And that the government has mandated that these trade-in “clunkers”, perfectly good cars in most cases, be destroyed is bordering on criminal.

      And you can bet that the Congressional authors of this abomination do not drive those little motorized roller skates that they are all but forcing on the people to buy.

      Like John, I’m keeping my gas guzzler.

  • John

    I read that 4 out of 5 cars purchased with this program are foreign cars not made in America. Nice going Obama.

  • Provo

    Those foreign cars employ American workers and have factories in the heartland. That is good.

    • Marvin

      Some do, some don’t. However, those are non-union jobs with very low wages and bad working conditions and the profits end up in another country.

      Don’t get too excited thinking this is good.

      Say, by the way, I am thinking of a new Mercedes. Could you send me $4,500 to help out??

  • Anonymous

    Why not cash for clunker appliances?

    Cash for clunker roofs?

    Cash for clunker windows and doors?

    Cash for clunker furniture?

    Think of all those jobs from increased consumption of all these things?

  • Conscience of a Moonbat

    See, on its own, an act of destroying stuff stimulates the economics of production. Oops. I forgot that eventually folks will simply stop producing and buying stuff that they know is just going to be destroyed by the authorities. What we really need is a cash-for-clunkers legislative bailout where we pay our representatives $3,500 – $4,500 to repeal the idiotic anti-market laws they have enacted. Oops again. I almost forgot – buying off our representatives really costs far more than we can afford.

  • Dan S

    In any other part of the world what we call a “clunker” in the US would be considered good, serviceable transportation. But here we are, our own government chopping up perfectly operational machines; reinforcing the concept of a “throwaway society” that already consumes way more than it’s share of the world’s resources. Or am I just being a party pooper?

    • Jim

      Why don’t we ship these things to North Korea? That would teach them a lesson.

    • v person

      “In any other part of the world what we call a “clunker” in the US would be considered good, serviceable transportation…”

      Me thinks you don’t get out much. Our clunkers would be jokes in all of western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and many other countries, considered unaffordable to drive due to high gas costs let alone maintenance. In Cuba, yes, they would be kept on the road because that is all they would have available.

  • Rob DeHarpport

    This program is a boondogle. Surely it does not actually pencil out to make either dollars and sense, nor enviromental sense. Tempory gain at best, similar to a “meth addict” stealing scrap iron for a fix. Sad fact is it’s our economy that needs the quick fix.

    • David Appell

      > Tempory gain at best, similar to a “meth addict” stealing scrap iron for a fix.

      You say this, but yet it’s the relatively off middle-class who is flocking to cash in on the benefit, not the dastardly drug abusers.

      This is telling — you quickly denigrate the lower class of drug users, but let the middle class off the hook — and yet it’s the middle class here who is getting $3B+ from the government.

      Also, did you complain when the Wall Street class got, what was it, $150B? $450B? Does anyone even know.

      Who is robbing this country blind — the upper and middle classes, or the street people?

  • Conscience of a Moonbat

    I am so bored with David “One Bad” Appell. Maybe he should start his own blog. Oh I almost forgot – he has one but nobody reads it. Quark Soup!

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