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.

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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 […]

Ad Nauseam: Spare the Toll, Save the Carmaker

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Yesterday we noted the auto-centric bias in local media coverage of an expected Ravitch Commission proposal to toll East River bridges as one source of revenue for the cash-strapped MTA. In perusing said coverage, we couldn’t help but notice a second common element. See if you can guess what it is. After the jump: score […]

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 […]

Ad Nauseam: Antisocial Thuggery From Pioneer

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We’ve published a couple of items lately on how noise from motorcycles and booming car stereo systems continue to diminish quality of life in Inwood and Washington Heights — not that these problems are by any means unique to Upper Manhattan. The Queens-based NoiseOFF website has compiled a fascinating case against the manufacturers of car […]