Cash for Clunkers Revisited: More Damage Done

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cash-for-clunkers

For those of you that have been here since almost the beginning, you know that we pegged “Cash for Clunkers” as the huge failure that it was.  Here is what we wrote while the program was ongoing…

The cars traded in on the program are to be destroyed.  Now, in normal situations, a trade in will either go on the dealer lot, go to auction, or go to the junkyard.  In any of those situations, others will have the opportunity to benefit from this car, either by driving it, or by purchasing the usable parts from it.  When the car is destroyed, there is little benefit.  Or is there?  I wrote here about how the new Secretary of Transportation wants to “coerce” people out of their cars and onto public transportation.  Here are some quotes…

The moderator of the press club event asked LaHood: “Some in the highway-supporters motorist groups have been concerned by your livability initiative. Is this an effort to make driving more torturous and to coerce people out of their cars?”

LaHood answered: “It is a way to coerce people out of their cars.

 

And some more…

Lahood then made a joke about the fact that some conservatives believe that the way he wants to use the Department of Transportation represents an increased government intrusion in people’s lives.

“Some conservative groups are wary of the livable communities program, saying it’s an example of government intrusion into people’s lives,” said the moderator. “How do you respond?”

“About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,” said LaHood. “So have at it.”

“So have at it.”  Pretty cavalier attitude regarding manipulating the public into a pre-arranged goal, isn’t it?

In the “Cash for Clunkers” plan, how many cars will be taken out of the market?  How many fewer Americans will be able to own a used car due to this?  New cars that are to be made to the messiah’s specifications will be more and more expensive.  To reach the mileage and emissions goals, more, newer technology will have to go in, increasing the cost.  With so many used cars sent to the crusher, where will people go for a car when they cannot afford the newer ones?  Funded with $1,000,000,000, the initial plan was to scrap 250,000 cars.  The congress wants to add another $2,000,000,000 to the plan, does that mean a total of 750,000 cars?   How many people will that “coerce” onto public transportation?

That was in August of 2009.

Here is what we said a little more than a year later…

 

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I think we have the answer to my last question, courtesy of Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

In other words, there was real and rational demand for the cars that the Obama administration sent to the grinders.  That demand hasn’t stopped, even if tainted with political incorrectness.  The top four vehicles for price increases in Edmunds’ used-car tracking are all high-end, larger cars or SUV:

Cadillac Escalade – 35.6% increase
Chevy Suburban – +34.2%
Dodge Grand Caravan – +34%
BMW X5 – +33%

As predicted last year, the people most hurt by the price increases are those who can least afford them.  The used-car market usually attracts people who need transportation on a budget, who cannot afford to buy new.   By destroying a quarter’s worth of trade-ins in three weeks and permanently taking them off the market, the Obama administration has forced an artificial inflation by supply restriction.  Moreover, they did so by subsidizing new-car sales that would have occurred anyway, eating up three billion dollars in taxpayer money.

In other words, the White House spent $3 billion to make used cars more expensive for working-class families.  Nice work.

I’m not claiming to have a gigantic brain with super -predictive powers.  Anyone with half a brain could see this coming.  However, the folks in DC are lacking that half brain, or any other, for that matter.  There is even more for the post mortem on “cash for clunkers.”  Freedomworks has more…

“Cash for Clunkers” allowed drivers to trade their old gas-guzzler for up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a sparkly new green machine. Progressive pundits hailed it as a foolproof win/win/win: The anemic auto industry would sell cars, broke customers would get a sweet deal, and Gaia herself would breathe easier at America’s crystal-clear skies.

Alas, reality begged to differ:

[Cash for Clunkers] created a dearth of used cars, artificially driving up prices. For those who needed an affordable car, but didn’t qualify for the program, this increase in price meant affordable transportation was well out of reach. It also meant used-car dealers, most of whom are independently owned, small-business owners, had little to no stock. According to Smith, 122 Virginia dealers chose not to renew their licenses after that year.

If 122 dealers were put out of business in one state alone, just imagine the damage nationally. And help to the consumer was illusory. The artificial trade-in bonus helped people who couldn’t qualify for a new car loan get saddled with debt they had no hope of repaying. Once financial reality — and higher insurance rates — kicked in, many saw their cars repossessed and their credit ruined. Ultimately, they traded in their affordable ride for a daily bus ticket.

And, there is even worse new from the greenie front…

E – The Environmental Magazine gravely notes that Cash for Clunkers produced tons of unnecessary waste while doing almost nothing to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Shredding vehicles results in its own environmental nightmare. For each ton of metal produced by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of “shredding residue” is also produced, which includes polyurethane foams, metal oxides, glass and dirt. All totaled, about 4.5 million tons of that residue is already produced on average every year. Where does it go? Right into a landfill.

E Magazine states recycling just the plastic and metal alone from the CARS scraps would have saved 24 million barrels of oil. While some of the “Clunkers” were truly old, many of the almost 700,000 cars were still in perfectly good condition. In fact, many that qualified for the program were relatively “young,” with fuel efficiencies that rivalled newer cars.

So, it cost jobs, and was even worse for the environment.  And everyone saw that, but they did it anyway.  It looked good, and it “felt” good, so it really didn’t matter if it actually made things worse.

Once again, Quinn’s First Law is proven…

 

Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of it’s stated intent. 

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Paging Comrade Stalin: Democrats Propose “Windfall Profits Board”

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When we discuss the left as Marxists, critics go into a spasm of Alinsky, and attempt to ridicule any accusers.  Then, however, Democrats, or their allies, say and do some rather Marxist things.  For the latest, we go to The Hill, and see about the newly proposed Windfall Profit Board…

The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a “windfall profit tax” as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit. 

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784, would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

Er, what is exactly a “reasonable profit,” and where in the Constitution does it say that the government get’s to arbitrarily confiscate someone else’s property?  Yeah, I know, they aren’t going to let something as simple as the Constitution to stand in their way.

Moonbattery also has some analysis...

Meanwhile, Obama just killed the Keystone XL pipeline, sending Canadian oil to our communist Chinese adversaries. As a result of his policies, gas already coststwice as much as when he took office; it would cost still more if not for the sluggish economy.

Consequently, shrill lies regarding oil company profits will keep getting louder — as will calls by Democrats for straightforward nationalization of the oil industry. By controlling gasoline, they will be able to control our mobility — which is also the point of “alternative transportation” programs. (emphasis added)

I have mentioned that it would seem that, when taken in it’s totality, that Democratic energy and transportation policy has the intent of restricting human movement.  We have to remember that Ray LaHood, the Sec of Transportation, and what he had said…

They have dropped some of the pretenses and have started “sharing” more and more of their true intentions.  Let’s take a look at what the current Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, has been up to, as reported by CNS News.

In Newsweek magazine last week, nationally syndicated columnist George Will published a piece critical of Lahood, entitled, “Ray LaHood, Transformed–Secretary of Behavior Modification.”

“He says he has joined a ‘transformational’ administration: ‘I think we can change people’s behavior,’” Will reports that LaHood said over lunch.

The moderator of the press club event asked LaHood: “Some in the highway-supporters motorist groups have been concerned by your livability initiative. Is this an effort to make driving more torturous and to coerce people out of their cars?”

LaHood answered: “It is a way to coerce people out of their cars.”

Lahood then made a joke about the fact that some conservatives believe that the way he wants to use the Department of Transportation represents an increased government intrusion in people’s lives.

“Some conservative groups are wary of the livable communities program, saying it’s an example of government intrusion into people’s lives,” said the moderator. “How do you respond?”

“About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,” said LaHood. “So have at it.” (emphasis added)

Well, that’s one piece of the puzzle.  Our “friends” in government have the stated intent of getting us out of cars.  But that’s not all.  Remember Cash for Clunkers?  I wrote this when that program started…

In the “Cash for Clunkers” plan, how many cars will be taken out of the market?  How many fewer Americans will be able to own a used car due to this?  New cars that are to be made to the messiah’s specifications will be more and more expensive.  To reach the mileage and emissions goals, more, newer technology will have to go in, increasing the cost.  With so many used cars sent to the crusher, where will people go for a car when they cannot afford the newer ones?  Funded with $1,000,000,000, the initial plan was to scrap 250,000 cars.  The congress wants to add another $2,000,000,000 to the plan, does that mean a total of 750,000 cars?   How many people will that “coerce” onto public transportation?

Then, we got the answer about a year later…

I think we have the answer to my last question, courtesy of Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

In other words, there was real and rational demand for the cars that the Obama administration sent to the grinders.  That demand hasn’t stopped, even if tainted with political incorrectness.  The top four vehicles for price increases in Edmunds’ used-car tracking are all high-end, larger cars or SUV:

Cadillac Escalade – 35.6% increase
Chevy Suburban – +34.2%
Dodge Grand Caravan – +34%
BMW X5 – +33%

As predicted last year, the people most hurt by the price increases are those who can least afford them.  The used-car market usually attracts people who need transportation on a budget, who cannot afford to buy new.   By destroying a quarter’s worth of trade-ins in three weeks and permanently taking them off the market, the Obama administration has forced an artificial inflation by supply restriction.  Moreover, they did so by subsidizing new-car sales that would have occurred anyway, eating up three billion dollars in taxpayer money.

In other words, the White House spent $3 billion to make used cars more expensive for working-class families.  Nice work.

So, we have the fact that the Cash for Clunkers program increased the cost of used cars, as they took at least 250,000 used cars off the market.  But, there is still more, as that shiny car on the dealer’s lot will be more and more expensive to take home…

I’ve often said that the “progressives” won’t directly ban or outlaw most things.  You’ll still be technically able to own a car, but your actual ability to do so will be increasingly limited.  Here’s the latest from Detroit News.

The new regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and theEnvironmental Protection Agency establish emissions and fuel standards for model years 2012-16. The changes will boost overall fleet fuel efficiency to 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016, and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. But it will also cost automakers about $60 billion and add an average $1,300 to the purchase price of a new vehicle.

Now, if this is like most other government estimations of costs, it will be much higher.  But how many people will not be able to afford cars if the cost keeps increasing?  Also, it is being said that people will save money with more efficient cars- more than the increased initial cost of the car.  However, do those alleged savings account for the increase cost of fuel over the life of the car?  How many people will, as a result,  have to depend on some government entity to get to work or to shop?

So, when you take a number of factors into consideration, a pattern emerges.  Government simultaneously wants to “coerce” people out of  their cars.  Then, they seek to make that car more and more expensive to own and operate.  Of course, one can say that this is coincidental, or just yet another example of government triggering the law of unintended consequences, but since they are talking openly about it, we might as well connect the dots.

I remember reading about, and seeing documentaries on the automobile.  Many of them have suggested that the invention of the automobile was the most freedom-enhancing development of the 20th century.  Their reasoning was that cars gave people mobility in a way that the trains did not.  They could choose where to go.  Farmers could leave the farm for town easily.  City residents could get out to the “country.”  People could get out of the cities and live away from the messes that liberal politicians made in urban centers.  The car made it far easier to communicate, socialize, exchange ideas, and generally get around.  Basically, it is hard to control people, where they live, where they go, and where they work, when they can move about freely.  It’s far too much disorder and chaos for our would-be regressive masters.  So, by working at the fuel supply, increasing prices, and otherwise making it increasingly impossible to own a car, the government can gain more control over us. And that seems to be exactly what they are doing.

But none of that is the slightest bit tinged with Marxism, is it?

 

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