Ad Nauseam: What “Cash for Clunkers” Hath Wrought

The government’s Cash for Clunkers program officially begins today, but car dealers have been running ads like this one for a while already. They have to keep the public informed: Now you can trade in your old car and buy a brand-new SUV or pick-up truck with a hefty assist from Uncle Sam.

Here we have the government spending a billion dollars on about 250,000 vouchers for individual car buyers. Ostensibly, the purpose is to save some jobs and cut some emissions. Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of a budget crisis affecting transit agencies serving 22 million Americans. Green jobs and emissions-reducing transportation are on the line. When DOT Secretary LaHood holds his press event on Monday touting the roll-out of Cash for Clunkers, someone should ask him how the Obama administration can justify this dubious car industry subsidy while hanging transit riders out to dry.

  • Fuel efficient car is needed to make automobile industry more eco-friendly.

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Brookings: “Cash for Clunkers” Wasn’t Worth It

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Turns out paying people to buy cars isn’t a great policy for the economy or the environment. That’s the determination of a pair of Brookings Institution researchers who evaluated the effectiveness of the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program. The $2.85 billion program, part of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, produced only 2,050 “job-years,” according to researchers […]
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GAO: Economic Recovery Benefits of ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Are ‘Uncertain’

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"Cash for clunkers," the White House’s much-touted program encouraging trade-ins for more fuel-efficient autos, had an "uncertain" impact on economic recovery, according to a new audit from the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) — largely because it remains unclear how many of the car sales it spurred would have occurred without taxpayer subsidies. Were "clunker" […]

How to Judge “Cash for Clunkers”

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(Photo: NYT) At this point, it’s difficult to know exactly what the government’s "cash for clunkers" program is supposed to accomplish. Claims about its economic and environmental benefits are increasingly detached from reality, and the chief advantage of the program would seem to be that it "worked," in the sense that it was popular among […]

Separating Myth From Fact on “Cash for Clunkers”

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As debate rages on in the capital over whether to keep assisting the auto industry by giving out more "cash for clunkers" rebates, two assertions are becoming commonplace: the program is helping diminish U.S. oil consumption, and the program is not paid for with new money. Photo: AP The first argument was reiterated on Friday […]

House Quickly Sends $2 Billion More to ‘Cash for Clunkers’

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The "cash for clunkers" rebate program, which promises new auto buyers up to $4,500 for fuel-efficiency upgrades as small as 2 miles per gallon, is back to life after burning through $1 billion in taxpayer cash. Minutes ago, the House approved $2 billion more in auto rebates by transferring cash that was already headed for […]