Andrew Sullivan: Opposition to Cash-for-Clunkers Shows GOP Not Serious About Limited Government

Ideological shape-shifter and presidential benefit-of-the-doubt-giver Andrew Sullivan types the following words consecutively:

[C]ash-for-clunkers is one example of the government actually doing something right, helpful and popular. It's the kind of pragmatic experimentation that FDR tried repeatedly. So you have a practical, targeted measure that seems to have helped abate a deeper recession in the auto industry, and the right is obsessed with the ideological abstraction of "government."

What conservatives have to do, in my view, is not demonize government, but to champion limited government. If government can do tangible practical things that help everyone, while balancing its budget, it's doing what conservatives think it should. Smart, practical initiatives that address problems that the private sector has failed at: what else is government for? The rest is ideology - and it seems to be all the Republicans have left.

I'm nobody's conservative, but I'm pretty sure if I was telling conservatives how to think I wouldn't admonish them for failing to champion limited government within two sentences of praising FDR's pragmatism. It's like, I dunno, lecturing the Labour Party about demonstrating their pro-union bonafides while praising Margaret Thatcher's centrism. Sounds a bit off.

As for the factual claims, did cash-for-clunkers indeed "help everyone"? Well, no. Let's take my favorite example: me. The Welch household owns one car, a 1994 Acura Integra. While clunky, this 15-year-old car does not qualify for the program, because it gets too many miles per gallon–around 28, allegedly. So our tax dollars are being redistributed to people who have made less eco-friendly purchases than we have.

One could counter-argue that monocle-wearing magazine editors such as moi are not the intended audience for this bit of alleged FDRism, and while that actually doesn't make any sense (since no one's checking your pay stubs on the showroom floor), let's roll with it anyway. Here's the problem even then: We bought that pup (for the C-4-Cish price of $4,000, about six years ago), back when we were poor. Hell, I'd bet that the majority of households whose lone car is a 1994 anything ain't exactly swimming in the do-rey-mi. What this program does is take money from the stickshift-driving non-rich, and gives it to anyone with an SUV and/or old beater. Who (again, unlike us) is ready to shell out five figures for a shiny new car.

And wait! It gets worse, from that whole social-justice angle. What about the estimated 12 percent of Americans aged 15 years and above who don't drive, period? What about all the adults who live in the 8 percent of households that don't have a vehicle? What about half the residents of Manhattan, who took transit planners' decades-old dream to heart and "got out of their cars"? What about those who are too poor to drive? The answer: All of these people are subsidizing whoever turns in an SUV or crappy old $800 K-Car like the one I used to drive. Not only that, but what do you think happens to the $800 car market when the guvmint is handing out $4,500 checks to have the things destroyed? I'll go ahead and state the obvious: It shrinks, making it more expensive for the truly poor people, the ones who want to make that daring leap from the bus system to an awful old bucket of rust.

So no, not "everyone" was helped by cash-for-clunkers. Ah, but what about how it's better for the environment, and therefore "everyone"? Tell it to those smokestack apologists at, uh, The New York Times, The New Republic, and The Guardian.

Sullivan is dead right about one thing: Cash-for-clunkers is indeed very "popular." So is the home mortgage interest deduction, the prescription drug benefit, and any number of federal programs that siphon from the diffuse pool of tax revenue+debt and blast out concentrated benefits to the broad middle class. The standard for judging these things shouldn't be popularity–Richard Nixon's wage-and-price control spasm of 1971, to name one of many historical measures now widely and rightly considered asinine, was hugely popular at the time–but whether they make sense in both the short and long term.

Cash-for-clunkers amounts to a rounding error in Tim Geithner's nose-hair at this point, which is probably why at least some liberals seem so genuinely baffled by the disproportionate criticism it has drawn. But for some of us it's also a nearly perfect symbol of economic statism run amok. The federal government is taking from the many, giving it to the less-than-many, destroying functional cars, funneling money to an auto industry that it already largely owns (at a hefty taxpayer price tag), then taking multiple (and multiply premature) bows for rescuing the economy and the auto industry in the process.

I understand, and even appreciate, that not everyone interprets things this way. But what I don't understand, and ultimately don't respect, is the weird urge to react to yet another Obama administration brainfart by rounding up its opponents and putting them in a metaphorical holding pen marked "ideologically obsessed." Particularly after eight years in which the only detectable ideology was taxcut-and-spend, and otherwise do what parties in power always do: look for creative new ways to bribe the middle class.

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  • jk||

    You bought a home that was too expensive finance - here's your check. You bought a car that was too expensive to fuel - here's your check. There should be a cabinet level government department that is dedicated to taking money from people didn't fuck up and giving it to those who did. The Department of Fuck Ups.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Man, it has to be tough being Andrew Sullivan, what with the daily cognitive dissonance and all. Somebody should tap Sully on the shoulder and say "Psst. You're a liberal. LI-BER-AL. And it's not spelled c-o-n-s-e-r-v-a-t-i-v-e".

  • ||

    andrew sullivan and anyone who got their nice little car rebate can suck a fart out of my ass. neither my shitbox nor my wife's are elligible for this ponzi scheme - and i'm kind of happy that is so. i can brag to all of you government largesse receiving motherfuckers at the end of my sorry day that i recieved no such hand out. ha.

  • Jeffrey McManus||

    So you're saying that because government resources can't be distributed in a totally fair and equitable manner, government shouldn't bother? Neat! In that case, I'm looking forward to my fair share of the defense budget.

  • ||

    "Ideological shape-shifter" is a nice way to put it. How about "unprincipled, incoherent, shallow, attention-whoring gasbag"?

  • Jack||

    STDs are really turning Sullivan's brain into Swiss cheese.

  • ||

    K-cars, crap that they are, don't qualify for the program.

    They have too high a mileage rating.

  • Mike in PA||

    Well, one good thing happened today. They're starting to quit putting everyone who disagrees with what the administration is doing in the same "conservative, neo-con, republican" box. Damn, I was getting tired of that.

    They are now saying that it's just a bunch of Astro-turf Republicans and Libertarians.

    That's so refreshing.

  • ||

    The c4c is a great example of not only mission creep, but how tweaking one thing in the economy (government helping produce cars people don't want) leads to further intervention. It's like whack-a-mole.

    Politicians (especially dems) love to keep themselves busy so they can feel important. "Honey, I worked so hard this week, so many hours, trying to fix all these problems" (that I created in the first place).

  • ||

    God damn it, everyone is getting money except me. I guess I need some cocksucking lessons.

  • ||

    Here's another look at how this program is a clunker. I had an old SUV on which I put about 1000 miles a year. It ran fine, but it was 15 years old and would just die of old age and rust within a few years. I took the Feds $4500 and bought a new SUV. Does it get better gas mileage? Absolutely! However, since I only put on about 1,000 miles a year, the 'advantage' to the environment on the 20 gallons less a year in gas I'm using is more than outweighed by the energy expended in building my new SUV by perhaps 100 fold! I hurt the environment and added to the budget deficit at the same time. But who turns down free money?? The program is nuts.

  • Enyap||

    Epic RC'z law in the first post

  • triangleman||

    I know Andrew Sullivan doesn't care, but that Friday morning, as I saw down to eat my breakfast, I checked the headlines on my cellphone, and upon learning that cash for clunkers began that day, I promptly lost my appetite. It took a good 5 minutes of dry heaving before I could get my delicious food back in my mouth. So fuck everyone who voted for cash for clunkers.

  • ||

    Andrew Sullivan is an ignoramus when it comes to basic economics? Gee, who could have guessed?

    -jcr

  • ||

    So what happens when Congress stops allocating money for this piece of shit legislation? Will cars continue selling at this pace? Will this actually produce a lasting effect on the economy? Or will it actually provide a false sense of Hope, that will end up in a fiery train wreck when auto sales screech to a halt?

    You be the judge.

  • JB||

    Andrew Sullivan is a moron.

    His basic philosophy these days is to suck Obama's cock at every opportunity.

  • ||

    Nice biting the hand that feeds you, Welch. Remember that Sullivan drives a lot of traffic to the Reason website by frequent mentions and links in his immensely popular and mainstream blog. And you, Welch, are the beneficiary of that because far more people read your writings because of Sullivan's mentions than would otherwise.

    Sullivan has arguably done more to advance libertarian thought than all of Reason combined. No, he's not a libertarian, certainly not a pure one. But with the massive number of libertarian voters, you don't need outside help, right? Right?

    I'm nobody's conservative, but I'm pretty sure if I was telling conservatives how to think... Well, since you admitted that you're not, you invalidated the rest of your argument right there. And then went and told those conservatives how to think. What utter dishonest rubbish.

    "[T]ypes the following words consecutively..." That's one of the most childish things I've ever read on this website, including from the commenters.

  • Mike in PA||

    Tonio just pooped his diaper and it ended up in that post.

    How's that for childish?

  • Bingo||

    Andrew Sullivan is a DC hack who douses his frosted flakes with cognitive dissonance.

    He's an ideological trend whore of the worst variety.

  • Bingo||

    Basically, a self-righteous cunt with a tenured print megaphone.

  • ||

    Last week, we traded in a gas inhaling 2003 Suburban for a 2009 Jeep Patriot. We didn't take C4C money, because the trade-in value of our car was $8,000. However, we happily accepted the $3,500 C4C Match rebate that the Chrysler Corporation was so generously offering.

    This weekend, I saw a commercial from GM. They are now offering a similar match program. If you want to get rid of an old car that doesn't qualify for government money and can find a GM or Chrysler product that you want, they will give you a $3,500 to $4,500 downpayment towards your new car.

    Participating in the program this way allows you to hold your head up because you didn't waste taxpayers' money and still got a great deal. I call that win-win.

  • Bingo||

    SoFedUp,

    How about accepting a rebate from an automotive manufacturer that didn't accept government largesse? You know, like Ford or anyone else?

    Participating in the program this way allows you to hold your head up because you didn't waste taxpayers' money and still got a great deal.



    You're a fucking idiot.

  • ||

    "If government can do tangible practical things that help everyone, while balancing its budget,"

    Those last four words destroy the rest of his argument. Since we're nowhere near a balanced budget, that means we shouldn't be doing this, no?

  • ||

    Bingo- No one else is offering the matching rebate. If they were, we would have looked at them as well.

  • ||

    In the meantime, health care reform is really just another mechanism for the rest of us to subsidize the boomer generations's retirement. They have the voting block to do it, and they will. By the time they are all dead, the country will be bankrupt, but ... they'll be dead.

  • CLS||

    I am not sure why anyone actually bothers reading Sullivan these days. When he's not talking about himself, he's usually muddling up the issues and saying rather dumb things.

    He is tedious, self-centered, and not particularly entertaining.

  • alan||

    "[T]ypes the following words consecutively..." That's one of the most childish things I've ever read on this website, including from the commenters.

    Smelling salts for the lady?

  • mark||

    SoFedUp, it looks like you benefited from taxpayer dollars. That's OK, everyone does it. Just try not to do it too much.

  • William||

    From the libertarian perspective, Andrew Sullivan has made one unforgivable mistake: he used "right" (in the sense of correct) and "government" in the same sentence. Burn at the stake, you heretic!

  • alan||

    The depreciation on cars with more than 80,000 miles is one of the most beneficial aspects of the market. Price being typically around 20 sometimes as low as 10 percent of the original purchase. With vastly improved engine designe from the late 80's on ward you could expect several years remaining on your typical used car. C4C, as pointed out by others, decreases the number of older cars available for sale, and thus is a burden on those who rely on the used car market.

    So, why does Andrew Sullivan hate the poor?

  • mark||

    Wealth destruction: The only legitimate function of government.

  • ||

    Nice biting the hand that feeds you, Welch. Remember that Sullivan drives a lot of traffic to the Reason website by frequent mentions and links in his immensely popular and mainstream blog. And you, Welch, are the beneficiary of that because far more people read your writings because of Sullivan's mentions than would otherwise.

    Jeez, Tonio, are you saying that Matt shouldn't write that he disagrees with Sullivan because Sullivan might drive some traffic his way? That's pretty fucked up. If Matt decides to write even if (and I'm not sure if I agree with you about this) it costs him some page hits, that speaks to his integrity*.

    * I am in no way implying that you actually have any integrity, Matt.

  • ||

    Ok, the "matching" C4C that Chevy and Dodge and I think Ford are doing is bullshit. All American car manufacturers offer huge rebates for some reason, instead of having somewhat accurate pricing like most of the foreign makes. The big 3 are just renaming their regular rebates as "C4C matching". It's stupid.

  • Anonymous||

    Welch. Remember that Sullivan drives a lot of traffic to the Reason website by frequent mentions and links in his immensely popular and mainstream blog,

    If I were reason, I wouldn't want traffic from AIDS boy for the very reason he writes stupid shit that Welch called him out on.

  • Rhywun||

    What about half the residents of Manhattan, who took transit planners' decades-old dream to heart and "got out of their cars"?



    I appreciate your point, despite the predictable smarm with which it was delivered. We New Yorkers who don't drive choose so, inconceivable as the idea may seem, not because transit planners "told us" to, but because owning a car in NYC is counterproductive (and a major pain in the ass for all but the super-rich). Carry on.

  • ||

    To support Rhywun's point, I used to rent in Manhattan. I didn't need a car unless I was going to Connecticut, Maine, or Jersey, so I sold my cars, stopped paying to garage them, and rented when I needed to go anywhere. Much cheaper, and you always have a new car, no maintenance, no insurance, and no garaging. Worked well.

  • ||

    I rent my living quarters and take public transit, so I suppose I deserve to get fucked in every orifice per Obama administration policy.

  • DJF||

    So I am suppose to support a program that not only gives away my tax dollars to others but also manages to turn an item which was worth up to $4,500 into scrap worth maybe a $100 all in the name that we are all better off. As far as I can see turning large numbers of items that were worth $4,500 into something worth $100 is making the country poorer.

    It does help out the politically connected, the auto industry and especially the banking industry who manage to get people to get rid of their paid off cars and go into debt to buy new cars

  • Bruce||

    AIDS dementia?

  • Gay Marriage||

    Sullivan has arguably done more to advance libertarian thought than all of Reason combined.


    What Tonio said libtards!

  • KingShamus||

    I couldn't kill my 1984 K-car. I tried all throughout college...running it without oil, never fixing the brakes, letting the tie rods fall to crap. Nothing could stop that thing. It was a tank.

    As for Andrew 'Powerglutes' Sullivan, he so wants to have Barack Obama's baby that he's sold out any limited-government credibility he once had. He's a liberal Democrat partisan who makes the occasional libertarian/conservative noise to give him cover with the rubes. Thanks but no thanks.

  • MJ||

    "So you have a practical, targeted measure that seems to have helped abate a deeper recession in the auto industry, and the right is obsessed with the ideological abstraction of "government."

    Cash for Clunkers is a program based entirely on the Broken Windows Fallacy of economics. Instead of sending people out to break windows in order to drum up business for the glazing industry, you are paying people to break their own windows. Of course it's popular, giving people "free" money is rarely unpopular, but popular is not a synonym for good economic policy.

  • Abdul||

    I like Andrew Sullivan's definition of conservative: anyone who agrees with Andrew Sullivan.

    It's not accurate, but it's easy to remember.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    Well, no. Let's take my favorite example: me.

    Didn't qualify for the government cheese, huh? Neither did I. My 92 Buick Regal wasn't on the list. Now I know, if given the choice between subsidizing corporations and subsidizing individuals, Libertarians would choose "None of the Above". But I think if government is dead set on spending our tax dollars, there seems to be a hell of a lot more bang for the buck with c4c than TARP and Stimulus combined.
    Personally, I think it's great that government actually did something to help small businesses, even if it wasn't intended to. And even if it is limited to car dealerships. It pisses me off to no end when I hear, mostly Republicans, talk about "helping small businesses" and do nothing. I heard a sound bite from some southern Republican saying something like - "well it doesn't help our chicken farmers, does that mean we need a cash for cluckers program?" Well, that's productive.

    And if it helps the manufacturers, well...

    Ford's July sales release shows a 2 percent sales increase from the year ago -- the first month without a decline since November 2007. The automaker gives direct credit to the government's trade-in program, which has proved so popular that it has almost plowed through its original $1 billion in its first few days. The program's goal of getting Americans into more fuel-efficient vehicles also seemed to work: Ford also saw a 323 percent increase in hybrid sales.

  • ||

    How about "unprincipled, incoherent, shallow, attention-whoring gasbag"?

    Sully sold his soul to Obama over torture/infinite detention, and has no choice but to double down now that Obama's lies on that are obvious.

    If Sarah Palin (and I'm NOT a fan of hers) had predicted Obama would be doing things like this and nationalizing GM during the campaign, Sully wouldn't have defended them on the merits; he would have accused her of slandering a "pragmatic liberal" with wild accusations of socialist plans.

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    If you loath this boondoggle, wait till health care "reform" gets under way. The cash for clunkers idea will continue unabated, except now the "clunkers" will be actual human beings whose worth will be measured by bureaucrats. Want to trade in your grandmother for a shiny new Chinese orphan? Think of the money you'll save if Granny just "goes away."

  • ||

    Its been pointed out elsewhere (another Reason comment thread) that nobody has been or will be hired because of this program, because everyone knows its temporary.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    because everyone knows its temporary.

    Good. It should be temporary. But if it helps keep some of these dealerships open and paying their bills, for now, then that's a good thing. Even if they don't hire anybody. That's what most small businesses are trying to do right now. Stay open and pay bills. And let me tell you, it ain't fucking easy.

  • ||

    But if it helps keep some of these dealerships open and paying their bills, for now, then that's a good thing.

    What other businesses are closing for lack of business, because people are spending their money on subsidized cars instead of something else, like appliances or something?

  • Fluffy||

    So you're saying that because government resources can't be distributed in a totally fair and equitable manner, government shouldn't bother? Neat! In that case, I'm looking forward to my fair share of the defense budget.

    You already get your fair share of the defense budget.

    Unless you can send me a link to a video of a Visigoth raping your spouse, killing your kids and burning down your house, you have been Defended. And you've been defended just as much as any other citizen. Hence the term "defense budget".

    And we can tell all we need about Tonio from the fact that he thinks it's "childish" to point out internal inconsistencies and contradictions in Sullivan's work. That's called "rational analysis", Tonio. It's nice to know you consider that childish.

  • kilroy||

    Tricky,

    What's your perspective on the used car dealers?

  • Warty||

    Andrew Sullivan is the bootlicking toady version of the Grand Galactic Inquisitor. IGNORE HIM

  • kilroy||

    "Unless you can send me a link to a video of a Visigoth raping your spouse, killing your kids and burning down your house"

    Send me that link too.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    What other businesses are closing for lack of business, because people are spending their money on subsidized cars instead of something else, like appliances or something?


    Are you suggesting expanding the cash-for-X program? I'm not the jealous type. I think it's pretty obvious, the only reason people are spending money is because of the program. And besides, it is a limited program. But who knows, maybe the program will stimulate others (who don't qualify) into spending on other things. It's a stretch, but people are unpredictable. If someone sees their neihgbor come home with a shiny new car, maybe they'll think it's now OK to go out and buy that new washer and dryer.

  • ||

    Unless you can send me a link to a video of a Visigoth raping your spouse, killing your kids and burning down your house, you have been Defended. And you've been defended just as much as any other citizen. Hence the term "defense budget".

    Because you are one of the 300 million people "created or saved" by the defense budget. :-)

  • ||

    Are you suggesting expanding the cash-for-X program?

    No, I'm suggesting you're ignoring the costs of cash-for-X and only focusing on the benefits to a limited few.

  • ||

    Used car dealers occupy the pantheon of integrity cf to Sullivan, bho, and his likes.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    What's your perspective on the used car dealers?

    They are a bunch of crooks :)

    I actually heard a commercial for one of the dealerships saying that pre-owned cars qualify. That might just be a "bait-and-switch".

    But I see what you are saying. Instead of buying a used car people are buying new cars. But there aren't many used car dealerships around my way anymore, and haven't been for a while. Not since dealerships started selling pre-owned cars.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    No, I'm suggesting you're ignoring the costs of cash-for-X and only focusing on the benefits to a limited few.

    I know, I was kidding.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    And the costs are pocket change compared to TARP and Stimulus. But I do think it is interesting how this program turned out. I think it surprised a lot of people.

  • ||

    I think it surprised a lot of people.

    If Obama was truly surprised that, when offered a wad of cash, a bunch of people took it, he has shown himself too economically incompetent to be President.

  • ||

    Lets have the government spend tax dollars to artificially inflate the price of used cars and car parts. What is not conservative and small government about that? Sullivan is even more pathetic now than he was when he was obsessing over Palin's OBGYN records.

  • Warty||

    John, I challenge you to name a more contemptible writer than Sullivan.

  • Solanum||

    John, I challenge you to name a more contemptible writer than Sullivan.

    John Cole?

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    If Obama was truly surprised that, when offered a wad of cash, a bunch of people took it, he has shown himself too economically incompetent to be President.

    I don't think it's so much that people took it, it was the number of people that took it and how quickly, under the current economic conditions. I'm sure if they had anticipated this amount of turn out, they would have allocated more money from the beginning. The incompetency, is thinking that giving $30 or so billion to BoA would stimulate them to make loans.

  • Xeones||

    John, I challenge you to name a more contemptible writer than Sullivan.

    Ezra Klein?

  • ||

    John Cole?

    Ezra Klein?

  • ||

    Damn X, beat me by seconds.

  • ||

    I think it's pretty obvious, the only reason people are spending money is because of the program.



    No. Some people would have bought a new car anyway, and are just getting free government money for what they'd do regardless. (And the dealers get a portion of the money, too, like any program, thanks to incidence calculations.)

    Some people maybe would've bought a car next year, but sped up their purchases to participate in the program. That's "stimulus," but it's not necessarily sustainable. Some people possibly would have bought a car earlier, but delayed their purchases until the program hit-- and are now delaying until it's reauthorized or not. That's anti-stimulus.

    You have to measure the marginal effect of the program by comparing cars bought with the program to cars without the program. Estimates by Edmunds.com and others suggest that the government is spending about $20,000 per marginal sale.

    That doesn't get into the issue of whether the energy cost of destroying cars before their time and making new ones is worth the increase in fuel economy.

  • Rich||

    Rod McKuen?

    Seriously, things'll get much more interesting when "Clunkers for Cash" kicks in.

  • ||

    I'm sure if they had anticipated this amount of turn out, they would have allocated more money from the beginning. The incompetency, is thinking that giving $30 or so billion to BoA would stimulate them to make loans.



    It's the same kind of thinking, Tricky. See some industry analysis here.

    For every extra car sold by this program, about 4-5 cars are sold to people who would have bought a car now (or shortly before or after) anyway.

    Giving money to people, the vast majority of which goes to subsidizing what they would have done anyway, is no different from the mortgage interest deduction or giving money to BoA.

    You wouldn't call giving $30 billion to BoA and having them make an extra $6 billion in loans a success, would you? Then why do you call Cash For Clunkers a success when only one-fifth of the money is actually stimulating new car sales as opposed to subsidizing sales that would have happened now anyway?

  • Spoonman||

    Welch is right in pointing out what a tard Sullivan is, but AIDS comments? Easy now, guys.

  • ||

    I demand that Matt Welch release his OB-GYN records immediately!

  • ||

    Thacker is exactly right. People are just buying cars now versus next year or the year after. If you planned to keep the car forever, you wouldn't participate in the program. They only people who did were people who planned to trade in and buy a new one anyone. At most, the program just got people to buy cars sooner rather than later. In the end, the positive effects of people buying cars will be equal to the negative effect of them not buying cars later.

    Worse still, we are destroying assets. Cars in working condition are assets. We now have fewer working cars and fewer assets because of this. We are overall poorer. This program is the broken windows fallacy in action. People like Sullivan and BO's supporters are too dumb to see that.

  • ||

    This program doesn't even help from an environmental prospective. Let's say have an old car that gets lousy gas mileage and then trade it in on a new one that gets good mileage. The new car will make travel cheaper and less worrisome since I won't have to worry about it breaking down. This is going to make me more likely to drive and travel than I would have otherwise. I am more likely to take the new job with the longer commute. I am more likely to take that Labor day four hour drive to the beach because I now have a reliable care that gets good gas millage that I am paying for anyway. Even from a carbon perspective, we were probably better off with me owning an old car I didn't trust that got lousy mileage.

  • ||

    'Cash for Clunkers,' By the Numbers
    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/cash-for-clunkers-by-the-numbers/

    ...But there is more to the numbers than the headlines. According to a survey of car dealerships and 2,200 consumers by CNW Research, the average fuel economy of vehicles traded in last week was 16.3 miles per than the 18 m.p.g. needed to qualify for a government rebate of $3,500.

    The relatively small differential suggests that consumers have not been turning in the oldest, dirtiest and least fuel-efficient cars, but instead have been getting rid of their second and third cars, according to Art Spinella, who ran the survey....

    ...He added that the average annual income of those who bought cars with their rebates was $57,700, just under the $61,000 for all new car buyers these days. That suggests that consumers with the lowest incomes who, in theory, need the rebates most, are not benefiting from the program.

    One of the problems, Mr. Spinella said, is that even a $4,500 rebate may not be enough to persuade consumers to turn in their cars, particularly if they are unable to borrow from cautious auto dealers.

    "Some of the folks who drive a beater all the time are unlikely to get a new car loan," he said. "That's one of the problems with the program."

  • ||

    "Some of the folks who drive a beater all the time are unlikely to get a new car loan," he said. "That's one of the problems with the program."


    So basically it is cash for yuppies to replace their second car. IF you are poor, you will keep your old car and avoid the car payment.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    That doesn't get into the issue of whether the energy cost of destroying cars before their time and making new ones is worth the increase in fuel economy.

    I'd like to know how many clunkers are actually being crushed, how many are being stripped for parts and scrap, and how many are being re-sold.

    But personally, I can tell you, there are very few people spending any money on anything right now. Especially when it comes to small businesses. I've talked to people who have been in business for over 40 years, and say they have never seen it this bad. A residential builder I know, who has been building for over 40 years, an is a real estate broker, that has a "God like" reputation can't get financing to build a few shitty townhouses, something that's actually moving in this market. It makes no sense to me. Here we have a guy ready to put people to work, put his own reputation and finances on the line, and the banks say no. WTF is going on? If the private sector won't help put people to work then maybe the government needs to step in. Fuck it. I'm getting sick and tired of this shit. You can analyze it all you want, but at the end of the day the question that remains is - are the bills getting paid? And in my case, the answer is barely. Much more of this and the answer will be no. And if this little bit of "stimulus" helps a few dealers stay open and pay their bills, then good for them and good for their creditors and employees. That's all we are trying to do, is stay alive. And if the government wants to give me a handout right now, I'll take it. Tomorrow, well, that's a different story. I've never asked anybody for anything, except for a vehicle loan on a commercial vehicle and now my business is clinging to life. And so are many, many others. It sickens me to hear people "say small businesses are the backbone of this county." But when it comes down to it, they really mean "tough fucking shit."

  • ||

    http://opiniojuris.org/2009/08/04/the-wto-subsidies-rules-and-cash-for-clunkers/

    ... According to press reports, more than 70% of the clunkers that were traded-in were domestic. Moreover, as reported here, consumers are showing a preference for imported cars when they purchase under the program, with Toyota (17%) and Honda (14%) leading the way. The top ten sellers under the program are Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Ford Escape, Toyota Camry, Dodge Caliber, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Fit, and Chevy Cobalt. In other words, six of the top ten sellers are foreign cars (although the Camry is built at home and abroad).

    Cash for Clunkers is one of the few government subsidy programs that I am aware of that clearly has the de facto effect of promoting imported over domestic goods...

  • PR||

    goddamn tonio, you sound like greenwald's sullivan's cabana boy

  • ||

    what do you think happens to the $800 car market when the guvmint is handing out $4,500 checks to have the things destroyed? I'll go ahead and state the obvious: It shrinks, making it more expensive for the truly poor people, the ones who want to make that daring leap from the bus system to an awful old bucket of rust.

    As I pointed out on another thread, it's easy to predict how the gubmint will address this problem: a big push for "affordable transportation," involving no-money-down loans, adjustable interest rates, anything necessary to enable poor people to get into those $15,000 cars. Then, when the beneficiaries start defaulting on their car loans, there will be a lot of tut-tutting about, and government programs to address, the "repossession crisis."

  • ||

    If government can do tangible practical things that help everyone, while balancing its budget, it's doing what conservatives think it should.

    Jesus- not even Megan McArdle would write something that stupid.

  • ||

    Unless you can send me a link to a video of a Visigoth raping your spouse, killing your kids and burning down your house

    I would, but he stole my video camera before he left.

  • ||

    anything necessary to enable poor people to get into those $15,000 cars.

    Hmmmm..... union autoworkers vs. environmentalist lovers of public transportation. Explain how all this is justified by "the _common_ good" again?

  • ||

    I'd like to know how many clunkers are actually being crushed, how many are being stripped for parts and scrap, and how many are being re-sold.



    So, Tricky, you're saying that you consider it a benefit if the program is not acting according to the law?

    And if the government wants to give me a handout right now, I'll take it. Tomorrow, well, that's a different story.



    Tomorrow, you're always a day away!

    Tricky, you're only convincing me more and more that this is exactly the type of logic that leads to bank bailouts, mortgage deductions, agricultural subsidies, and all sorts of other government programs that become addictive once implemented. I appreciate that you want your bailout like other people. But Cash For Clunkers isn't any different than bailing out the banks. Now you say it's about helping dealers stay open-- just like giving money to the banks was about helping them stay open.

  • ||

    I'm much too lazy to work through the numbers, but last night I started wondering if I could trade off my pickup truck for something (like a Honda Fit) I could re-sell at a profit.

    And then buy another, even older, four wheel drive truck.

  • ||

    And stick the big block out of my Suburban in it.

  • JD||

    No one is being hired because of C4C, because it's temporary. You know, much like income tax withholding and a bunch of your other favorite government programs.

  • Fluffy||

    Tricky,

    The problem is that refusal to allow liquidation to take place only prolongs the agony.

    If some small businesses fail, their remaining customers will go to other businesses - allowing those businesses to survive.

    If some small businesses fail, their assets will be liquidated, allowing others to employ them to start new, healthier businesses without the overhang of accumulated debts and legacy costs.

    The refusal to allow any business to fail just keeps the marketplace cluttered by barely-viable zombie businesses. Bankruptcy and liquidation on a broad scale gives the system as a whole a fresh start.

    Refusing to allow liquidation to occur is also an extraordinarily regressive policy, since it favors the current owners of failing assets and creditors [i.e. the upper middle class and the wealthy, for the most part] over people who don't currently own highly leveraged assets but who would acquire them and use them productively if they were cheap enough.

  • ||

    Tricky Pickears about 5 posts back is the only one here who seems to get what Sully was trying to say. The fuel efficiency aspect is kind of a scam, the carbon offset by the few cars traded in here is less than even a drop in the bucket. It just made it more palateble, plus why not make a requirement to be more fuel efficient. Each dollar saved is something like $0.70 that doesn't leave this country to go to some petro dictator like Chavez or the Saudi's.

    The main ponit was to stimulate auto sales and clear out inventory so that the car manufactures will hire some people (or more likely not fire more people) to replenish the stock. It is a trade off of future debt for immediate stimulus. That is exactly what happened. It was an incredibly successful program. Going forward, I agree with those who want to stop it. Car inventories are WAY down. The program worked.

    I think what Sully is trying to say is that instead of blindly following ideology on every issue, take a step back and realize that sometimes the government gets it right and that is what the voters want, not no government, but good government...limitted, but well run.

  • ||

    The main ponit was to stimulate auto sales and clear out inventory so that the car manufactures will hire some people (or more likely not fire more people) to replenish the stock.

    Why? Every car bought now is a reduction in future demand, isn't it?

    Car inventories are WAY down. The program worked.

    A govt program that explicitly demands cars be destroyed reduces the number of cars in existence. Color me shocked.....

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Don, we all "get" what he was trying to say. However, you, and he, are both wrong. We "get" it, we just don't want it.

  • ||

    The main ponit was to stimulate auto sales and clear out inventory so that the car manufactures will hire some people (or more likely not fire more people) to replenish the stock.



    Don N.: Nope. If that were the case, then why would the government provide exactly enough money to subsidize normal auto sales (of the qualifying type) during the intended time period of operation?

    Don N., you and Tricky don't get it. Most of the money went to subsidizing purchases that would have been done anyway. It was not a great success by the metric of stimulating sales. 80% of the money was wasted, according to most guesses.

  • ||

    sometimes the government gets it right and that is what the voters want, not no government, but good government...limitted, but well run.

    You slay me.

  • ||

    Every car bought now is a reduction in future demand, isn't it?



    Some of it is even worse. As noted by the Edmunds employee in the WSJ op-ed, about 100,000 people deliberately delayed their purchases to wait until the program started. Even by Keynesian measurements, that's anti-stimulus

  • The Angry Optimist||

    and Don, no offense, but anybody who thinks it's a good idea to increase deficit spending to purchase perfectly-running cars so we can pour acid in their engine blocks is a lunatic.

    Seriously, only government could come up with something this blatantly wasteful.

  • ||

    I think what Sully is trying to say is that instead of blindly following ideology on every issue, take a step back and realize that sometimes the government gets it right and that is what the voters want, not no government, but good government...limitted, but well run.

    Since the libertarian "ideology" calls for limited, well-run government (for the millionth time, libertarians are minarchists, not anarchists), your point (and Sully's) is a giant exercise in missing the point.

  • theirritablearchitect||

    "So you're saying that because government resources can't be distributed in a totally fair and equitable manner, government shouldn't bother? Neat! In that case, I'm looking forward to my fair share of the defense budget."

    {Yawn}

    How unoriginal.

    After you've thought about that crap that you just spewed for a few days, come back and tell us ALL why it doesn't make any sense, coming from such a liberal and "fair" dude, like yourself.

    Seriously, you simply do not know how to think.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    Small businesses aren't failing because of anything they did. Allowing small businesses to fail under the current economic situation doesn't help anyone. Normally, I would agree with most of what is being said. But these are extremely difficult times for small businesses across the board. And if you would like to come down my way I'd be happy to take you on a tour to talk to these people. But my original point was that subsidizing individuals gets better results than subsidizing corporations. People spend money, corporations stick it up their asses. Corporations lobby government officials with large sums of money to gain competitive advantage over small businesses. And until that changes, we're all in for a load of shit.

    And I don't care if Every car bought now is a reduction in future demand, we need the money now! Last year I had four guys working for me. This year I can barely keep myself busy. And even if I did fold the business, there is nobody hiring in my field. That's what is happening to small businesses right now. And if the government needs to spend a little now, so be it. This program is designed end. And it should, eventually. And all I'm saying is it is directly helping small businesses in a time of crisis. Forgive me for not being forward looking when I can barely pay my bills.

    Look, I'm just trying to inject some reality into this conversation. I'm not crying, but unless you've owned a small business, you can't understand. The government and the Fed created this mess, they need to fix it. Then, get the fuck out.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    And I don't put much weight on the argument that people put off buying new cars until the program went into effect. People aren't that smart or informed.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Tricky - yes, they are.

  • Rusty||

    Thank you, Matt. Andrew needed that.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    Thanks for humoring me and my rant. I know you guys don't necessarily like to hear that stuff. But I'm just trying to make a living at something I enjoy doing.

  • ||

    You know Japan's prime minister shows up to unveilings of new cars from Japanese car companies. Because this country is infected to the core with the notion that what's best for it is to let the random interactions of commerce go on without applying concern to the national interest, or even the interest of individual people, even a program such as cfc gets attacked as evil socialism. Why is it intuitive that unfettering corporations from any concern for the country that provided the conditions necessary for their emergence and success is the best possible way? This necessitates that any official national pride--say, in a car company--and any government action to rescue it from a collapse that wasn't its fault, is evil. Why can't we realize that our country has specific resources and industries and that it's within the scope of governments' role to intervene in ways that boost our economic interests? Letting corporations use the country as a market while setting up headquarters in the Caymans may be good for business, but it's not good for anything else. And it certainly wasn't too much government interference (that everpresent, abstract thing that is the cause of all problems) that led us from being the world's industrial center to being a nation of underpaid waiters with all of our industry outsourced.

    How big does the catastrophe have to be before government intervention--even in small ways such as cfc--becomes necessary? Or is the ideology so much more important than people that even if half the country were starving, angering the free market gods just isn't worth it?

  • ||

    Tricky sounds like one of Ayn Rand's panicky bureaucrat characters: "We just have to seize a little control just this one time. Just until the 'crisis' has passed." If I didn't know better I'd think his posts were some kind of performance art.

    My dad spent 20 years paying off the mortgage on his motel while the rest of his competitors in town were borrowing against the equity to buy motorboats and vacation homes. Now, he's ready to survive the depression while they all try to keep the plates spinning in a falling tourism market. The idea that they're "blameless" and "it's all the Fed's fault" because they couldn't see that an historically-unprecedented debt party was going to end in tears is just stupid. At any rate, there's no rule of business which says you're entitled not to fail because "you didn't see this coming." What a load of malarkey.

  • ||

    WTF is going on? If the private sector won't help put people to work then maybe the government needs to step in.

    Because the government is so much better at making micro-economic decisions?

    Repeat after me: Business cycles aren't market failures. To this extent this business down-cycle has been accelerated and exaggerated by the bursting of various bubbles, then I think you need to look at what drove those bubbles. I think after you turn over a few rocks, you will find various government agencies and policies.

  • ||

    Because this country is infected to the core with the notion that what's best for it is to let the random interactions of commerce go on without applying concern to the national interest

    Yes, we Americans are so "infected" with the notion that fascism is a bad idea. I cannot possibly imagine why.

  • ||

    government action to rescue it from a collapse that wasn't its fault

    BZZZZT!

    Shut the fuck up, Tony.

  • ||

    And it certainly wasn't too much government interference (that everpresent, abstract thing that is the cause of all problems) that led us from being the world's industrial center to being a nation of underpaid waiters with all of our industry outsourced.

    -The Federal Reserve System, constant inflation, and a debt-backed dollar
    -Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac
    -Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    -Social Security (don't save for your retirement, let the government handle it!)
    -Endless deficit spending and Keynesian "stimulus"
    -"Bailouts" handing money from the middle class to well-connected corporate interests
    -Regulating the crap out of real business and manufacturing so thoroughly that the only way to make a lot of money is to speculate in asset markets

    Stop fucking lying, Tony.

  • ||

    Hell, you can add personal and corporate income taxes to that list, since the average American family now pays more in taxes than they do for clothing, shelter, and medical care combined. No wonder they wound up getting chased into borrowing and speculation to try and maintain a middle class lifestyle.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    That's great. Good for him. My developer friend, who has been in business for 40 years doesn't need to build. He's 80 years old. But due to a sense of civic responsibility, for the most part, wants to develop some land and put people to work. But he can't get financing. You want to play the blame game fine. There's shitload of it to go around. I didn't borrow any money. I put most of my profits into equipment. And yes, it is the Fed's fault for keeping interest rates so low, for so long. If you can't understand that, then you need to take a trip to Austria. This depression is bullshit. And no one should have to prepare for something like this. You are the one being ridiculous. I don't want anything for myself. I just want the fucking work. Give it (handout) to my potential clients so they can hire me. Then I can hire workers. Then we can all be happy little clams. Or just give another 2 or 3 trillion to the big 4 banks to shove up their asses.

    And I don't know where you are, but around my way local tourism is doing OK because people can't afford those long get away vacations.

  • ||

    CFC isn't perfect but you can't argue that it is a failure. It is in everyone's interest not to have one of our few remaining domestic industries collapse as a result of the recession.

    And whining that you personally don't qualify is to apply the wrong moral standard. All public distribution schemes reward individuals in an inequitable way. The point is not to make the individual program morally pure in this way, but to make it practical, in the service of a higher standard. It's the same way with social security and food stamps and everything else. Should I bitch that I'm not old and so don't get any SS? Or that I'm employed so I don't get unemployment insurance?

  • ||

    Graphite,

    Hang onto your pet theories about what caused the recession but don't call me a liar for agreeing with what mainstream economists say are its cause.

    Wealth has stagnated for decades for all but a few elites. This is no accident and it's not the government that did it (except insofar as government has bowed to the wishes of private corporations). This recession is on its face an indictment of Reaganomics, and all you have to throw at me are more Reaganomics talking points.

  • mark||

    The government and the Fed created this mess, they need to fix it. Then, get the fuck out.

    You were SO close, Tricky.

  • ||

    Tricky, the Fed "keeping interest rates so low for so long" was *exactly* the kind of "once off, intervene now and push the catastrophe off until later" tactic that you're advocating when you push public deficit spending to funnel money to small businesses. The Fed was trying to avert a post-equity bubble deflation by pushing a pantload of credit into the U.S. economy. And hey, it worked! Maybe not in the long run, and maybe the costs have turned out to be greater than the benefits, but hey, in the long run we're all dead anyway, right?

    It is not intellectually consistent to criticize the Fed's low interest rate policy in the 2000s and at the same time support similar kick-the-can-down-the-road fixes like cash for clunkers.

  • ||

    You're right Tony, I guess it's just obvious on its face that none of those interventions I listed actually existed, or had any distorting effects whatsoever.

    All the mainstream economists agree with you though, eh? I guess that's a nice play on the "50 million chain smokers can't be wrong" argument. But since "mainstream economics" is a kind of anti-knowledge I'd rather listen to what any random chain smoker had to say about the economy anyway.

  • mark||

    This recession is on its face an indictment of Reaganomics

    Not Rubinomics?

  • ||

    And by the way, trying to conflate "Reaganomics" and the free market is a nice parlor trick but it won't fly here. Reagan was an enthusiastic deficit spender and bailer outer.

  • ||

    It is cause for despair to reflect on the fact that there are so many people who think that one path to wealth generation is to borrow money in order to pay people to destroy productive assets. You wouldn't get any dumber than this if you were to devote your entire life to being as stupid as possible.

    Hell, why don't we also borrow five grand for each homeowner, in order to pay them to break every window in their house? Oh, screw it; let's go for broke. Auction some treasuries to to give a mortgage pay-off, and a hundred grand, to every homeowner who is willing to burn down his house! I'm sure a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause allows Congress to override all state and local laws prohibiting arson.

  • Matt Welch||

    Should I bitch that I'm not old and so don't get any SS? Or that I'm employed so I don't get unemployment insurance?

    Old people and unemployed people were specific, presumed-vulnerable categories of humans worthy of getting some safety net. The recipients of this program, on the other hand, are people whose distinguishing characteristic from me is that they owned a car (perhaps a second or third car) that gets worse gas mileage than mine.

  • Perry de Havilland||

    "Sullivan has arguably done more to advance libertarian thought than all of Reason combined."

    In no meaningful sense is Sullivan a libertarian (i.e. someone who wants a great deal less state) or a conservative (i.e. someone who wants less state when the Republicans are in opposition but not when they are in power). And a libertarian does not "favour gay marriage", they favour no state role in marriage.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I rent my living quarters and take public transit, so I suppose I deserve to get fucked in every orifice per Obama administration policy.

    You already get at least half of your transportation subsidized. How is getting subsidized the same thing as "getting fucked"? You are the fuckER, not the fuckEE.

  • Jordan||

    It is in everyone's interest to not to have one of our few remaining domestic industries collapse as a result of the recession.prevent more productive companies from emerging in one of our few domestic inductries.



    Fixed.

  • Michael||

    I'm just curious as to what will happen when the people buying new cars begin to default on their loans.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    The government and the Fed created this mess, they need to fix it. Then, get the fuck out.

    You were SO close, Tricky.

    Why is it unreasonable to expect the government to clean up their mess. OK, maybe their not so good at it. But Jesus Christ throw me a fucking bone at least, by me dinner first, call me the next day. Use some anal lube, anything. I'm not that hard to please.

  • ||

    I can't stand this program. I was eyeballing 4 possible cars to race in the Enduro around here but they got destroyed. Who is going to sell a junker for 500 bucks when good old Uncle Sam will give them 4,500 for it? I sure as heck am not buying a new car just to have it dented to all hell by the second race. Blech...why does they hate auto racing so much?

    Wait till they get the cars running from the last demo derby and trade those heaps in...what a waste.

  • ||

    OK idiots..... here's how it goes. This is not much different than the school tax we all pay even if we do not have children, the money used from the gas tax to repair roads even if we do not drive.(If you buy gas for a mower then you are contributing). We all contribute something to taxes that is used by some group or another that we do not belong to or benfit from the resources. This is a democracy and sometimes you just to put in faithfully to benefit everyone. Society has become to much of a ME society and it seems as if everyone is out for themselves. People complain of paying the school tax but in reality it helps fund education for those who have kids that will someday be the leaders and members of our society. This indirectly affects you and I and everyone, so this CARS program will in someway indirectly benefit all of us even if we all do not take advantage of the program.

  • ||

    this CARS program will in someway indirectly benefit all of us even if we all do not take advantage of the program.

    *sighs, bangs head on desk*

  • ||

    No, Rick, you slacked-jawed, gibbering, chimp, this is more akin to paying gas taxes to have non-obsolete, fully functional, roads and bridges dynamited.

    Actually, I apologize to the chimps. They are not known to band together in a organized effort to throw the bananas in the river. Nor have they ever been observed developing credit markets with which to borrow capital to devote to the task.

  • ||

    I remember the good old days when Sullivan made sense. Today he is just a mouth piece for the Obama administration. Makes no sense really. I was totally on his side when he tore Bush to shreads but now that Obama is in office doing virtually the same thing, he praises the man's every move! It's ridiculous! I stopped reading his blog months ago. I couldn't take one more word of him tongue polishing Obama's boots anymore. I'll read an honest blog like this one.

  • ||

    Bribe the people with $4500 and they will buy...

    How many of these people were driving these junkers because they couldn't afford to get a new car?

    How many are now saddled with mortgages - oops, I mean car payments - they cannot afford?

    How many dealers and banks jumped at the opportunity to sell a car in tough economic times and overlooked bad credit?

    Now, I am not saying ALL, so don't knot yer knickers... but when will we see the fallout from this?

  • Jim Treacher||

    All the economic issues aside, I just have a visceral reaction to watching somebody destroy a perfectly good car. What a perfect symbol of this administration: It's not enough to change things, you have to ruin them irrevocably.

  • Jim Treacher||

    andrew sullivan and anyone who got their nice little car rebate can suck a fart out of my ass.

    I'm pretty sure he used to advertise that very service.

  • Armand Gilbert||

    What about agriculture? Or education? In comparison to the TARP funds this is a non-issue. They should be building an infrastructure and providing incentives that encourage healthy economy. Instead its a pathetic dog pony show for morons while economy goes down the toilet and our debt goes through the roof.

  • ||

    Would someone PLEASE remind me, during the next boom (if there is one) to:

    Buy a house I cannot afford.
    Buy a Hummer or other huge SUV that get's 6 mpg.

    Then, we'll just elect the Democrats to power and I'll get my checks. Shesh! That would have been so easy!

    Nooooo... I didn't buy a house at the top of the boom (still renting) and our only car has 150,000 miles on it, but gets 30 mpg.

    I guess I was the sucker. I did things the "right" way.

  • ||

    Good for you for being one of the winner's in life's lottery ster. Now we need to spread your wealth & success around to all the losers who weren't as lucky (read: prudent and far-sighted) as you.

  • Urinal Gum||

    I'm sick of the government taking my hard-earned money to pay for the firefighters who come out to my neighbor's house because he is too stupid to keep the area clear around his heaters!

  • Classical Pot/Liberal Head||

    Matt Welch is right to attack Sullivan on this point, because cash-for-clunkers is an economically retarded program that only appears to be a success.

    However, he is not right to claim that it shows that the whole of the GOP or even most conservatives are failing to to be serious about limiting government
    because Andrew Sullivan is not a true conservative or republican, he is as Matt Welch states, a shape-shifter.

    However, there are certainly "conservatives" who are trying to appease moderates and liberals by endorsing the program (like Sullivan) and they do strengthen what libertarians and true conservatives are fighting against: statism.

  • ||

    Seems to me that the best deals on cars will be in about six to eight months when all these people who can no longer afford the car payments that they have recently aquired from c4c are getting them repoed and the banks who loaned the money will once again be in the shitter .Then you go buy one that has already been depreciated . Thanks OMAMMA

  • ||

    You neglect to take into account the amount of money poor people suck out of the system and the miniscule amount of tax revenue they generate. We are already subsidizing them.

  • ||

    At the top, somebody asked for a cabinet-level dept. of eff-ups. We already have one. It combines the three most vivid examples of 'wealth redistribution' from the thrifty to the wasteful-- HEW: Health, Education and Welfare...

  • Dan||

    I don't want to hear any of this until Reason Foundation renounces its anti-market tax shelter status and starts competing on an even playing field. Until then, all I see is a walking government suckling complaining about subsidies that they don't like as much as the one they're on.

  • ||

    Reading this, it sounds like Matt is against any program that does not benefit every person in the nation equally. That is the most self-centered position that a person can possibly take.

  • ||

    Amen, JK! You have it right! Where's my bailout? I do the right thing by paying off my debt and saving money, and where am I? Paying for other people's benefits and not having any of my own. And thanks to the uneducated tree-huggers in Denver, my husband no longer has a job in Western Colorado. Being American is just awesome these days! *sarcasm*

  • Unfair||

    I'm personally sick of paying for Courtney's husband's unemployment insurance payments. Where are my payments? Damn freeloaders are ruining America.

  • Justen||

    I for one am pissed that these assholes who spent the last 2 years whining about gas prices and the preceding 4 years bragging about how their big ugly SUVs were such a smart buy are now getting further vindicated by my tax dollars. Call it envy if you like. I still refuse to pay upwards of $25k for a hunk of junk that will break down repeatedly in the first year I own it, and that's about the quality level we have in the U.S. car market at this point. Now people who *don't* care enough about their money or time to either pay less or invest in a better quality foreign car are being encouraged with money stolen from the rest of us.

    For my part, I'm holding off till the tiny little $5k Chinese cars hit the U.S. market - legally or otherwise, depending on whether the auto industry succeeds in passing anti-competitive legislation. Safety be damned, at that price and for the purposes I intend it, that's a great deal.

  • mattw||

    guys whats up with the insane hostility towards andrew? we're all entitled to our opinions, right? this is still america... right?

  • Jim Treacher||

    guys whats up with the insane hostility towards andrew? we're all entitled to our opinions, right? this is still america... right?



    How is criticizing people un-American? Have you been listening to Nancy Pelosi?

  • ||

    I am not behind on my mortgage. In fact I'm prepaying chunks of it. I own 3 cars. All paid for. Two of them are clunkers. The other is well on it's way to being a clunker. I'll be damned if I'm going to go 10k-20k in debt to buy a new car in this economy. So people who are less responsible are getting subsidies while people who are prudent are forced to subsidize the reckless. That sort of incentivizing is a recipe for destroying a society.

  • ||

    How does a Rhodes scholar get economics so bad. Time to go back an learn economics from real professors and not "theorists." Cash for clunkers was a disaster. It not only wasted billions but it sent used car prices up 3% percent which is the highest amount in 29 years. New car prices increased 1.5% percent another record increase in over 15 years. This program was a disaster as it penalized people who were conservative and didn't want to take risk buying a new car as used car prices went up. Sullivan, you need a lesson in economics because you are a moron.

  • ||

    How does a Rhodes scholar get economics so bad. Time to go back an learn economics from real professors and not "theorists." Cash for clunkers was a disaster. It not only wasted billions but it sent used car prices up 3% percent which is the highest amount in 29 years. New car prices increased 1.5% percent another record increase in over 15 years. This program was a disaster as it penalized people who were conservative and didn't want to take risk buying a new car as used car prices went up. Sullivan, you need a lesson in economics because you are a moron.

  • Abercrombie hollister||

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