WH adds new enemy to list: Edmunds

posted at 2:20 pm on October 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama White House has apparently decided to wage a two-front war on the media.  After a blistering analysis of the Cash for Clunkers program from the well-established auto industry analyst Edmunds, the White House tried attacking their credibility while claiming that automakers were planning for greatly-increased demand for their new products.  Business Insider wondered what the administration could be thinking:

On the same day that we found out that motor vehicle output added 1.7% to economic growth in the third quarter – the largest contribution to quarterly growth in over a decade – Edmunds.com has released a faulty analysis suggesting that the Cash for Clunkers program had no meaningful impact on our economy or on overall auto sales. This is the latest of several critical “analyses” of the Cash for Clunkers program from Edmunds.com, which appear designed to grab headlines and get coverage on cable TV. Like many of their previous attempts, this latest claim doesn’t withstand even basic scrutiny.

The Edmunds analysis is based on two implausible assumptions:

1. The Edmunds’ analysis rests on the assumption that the market for cars that didn’t qualify for Cash for Clunkers was completely unaffected by this program.

In other words, all the other cars were being sold on Mars, while the rest of the country was caught up in the excitement of the Cash for Clunkers program.  This analysis ignores not only the price impacts that a program like Cash for Clunkers has on the rest of the vehicle market, but the reports from across the country that people were drawn into dealerships by the Cash for Clunkers program and ended up buying cars even though their old car was not eligible for the program.

The post title?  “Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Edmunds.com Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers.”  Well, that’s certainly presidential.  And, of course, it missed the point — to which Edmunds returns in their rebuttal:

At issue is one point of the analysis showing the taxpayer cost for every incremental vehicle sold was $24,000. To be clear, Edmunds.com is not disputing the government’s statements regarding total voucher applications, vehicles sold or voucher values. The key question is how many of these sales would have occurred anyway.

Apparently, the $24,000 figure caught many by surprise. It shouldn’t have. The truth is that consumer incentive programs are always hugely expensive when calculated by incremental sales — always in the tens of thousands of dollars. Cash for Clunkers was no exception.

The White House claims that our analysis was based on car sales on Mars and that on Earth, the marketplace is connected. We agree the marketplace is connected. In fact, that is exactly the basis of our analysis.

It is also claimed we missed the possibility that Cash for Clunkers generated excitement and consumers bought vehicles even if they didn’t qualify for the program — a claim that has been widely supported by anecdote but by little analysis. It does, after all, seem a bit odd that masses of consumers would elect to buy a vehicle because of a program for which they don’t qualify — doubly so when you add in the fact that prices shot up during Cash for Clunkers, creating a disincentive to buy.

Finally, the White House claims that the increase in fourth-quarter production reported by the car manufacturers can be attributed to Cash for Clunkers. But here is a better reason: the economy is recovering accompanied by improved car sales. No manufacturer increases production — a decision with long-term consequences — based on the 30-day sales blip triggered by an event like Cash for Clunkers.

With all respect to the White House, Edmunds.com thinks that instead of shooting the messenger, government officials should take heart from the core message of the analysis: the fundamentals of the auto marketplace are improving faster than the current sales numbers suggest.

In fact, Edmunds actually avoided the argument made by some critics of the program, who said that most of the sales in the C4C program came at the expense of future sales.  All Edmunds noted with their analysis was that about 5/6ths of the sales would have occurred without taxpayer subsidies, which made the cost of getting the other 1/6th into new cars a very expensive proposition.  Instead of addressing that argument, the administration made arguments about Mars instead.

If the economy has begun to truly improve, of course car sales will increase over the disastrous performance of earlier this year.  However, that relies on actual growth, not gimmicky and momentary incentives from the government, which makes the third quarter auto performance an unreliable indicator of longer-term health (and the same applies to new-home sales as well, another major contributor to Q3′s growth number).  But even with actual growth, the 540,000 people who used taxpayer subsidies to buy last year’s models won’t be heading into showrooms for at least a couple of years to buy new models rolling off the line now or later.

The administration’s reaction once again reveals a very thin skin and a temperament perhaps suited to campaigning, but certainly not towards governing.  When will the White House grow up?


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C’mon Ed, you know you soooo want to be on that list. I bet you daydream about the time Gibbs names you and Hot Air in one of his daily press briefings as an enemy of the state.

Just A Grunt on October 30, 2009 at 3:08 PM

It would be fun for a short time, but when Obama’s enforcement arm — the IRS — got into the action, the fun would stop fast.

jwolf on October 30, 2009 at 3:14 PM

You mean our pseudonyms might get national press?

Count to 10 on October 30, 2009 at 2:38 PM

“Let me be clear, as I have always said, this Jerome Horwitz character is nothing more than a right wingnut stooge.

Jerome Horwitz on October 30, 2009 at 3:17 PM

California is going to begin “Cash for Appliances” program next year. What could go wrong?

Brat on October 30, 2009 at 2:31 PM

How about “Cash for Houses”, next? If I agree to burn down my house, the gubmint will give me money to buy a brand new house!

Fed45 on October 30, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Well I sure hope so…I have been checking the ads here salivating over the $250k/$500K. Oh, and of course, we don’t have to pay for it either. I’ll take that, or pay the same of what we are paying now on our house.

After all, my giant breed dog and my cats who pollute the environment, would love to have more room to roam.

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM

SealClubber, DuckOiler, MigrationDeterrentPipeline?

NickelAndDime on October 30, 2009

A baby seal walks into a bar. The bartender says “what’ll you have?” The baby seal says “anything but a Canadian Club”.

SKYFOX on October 30, 2009 at 3:21 PM

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM

With that name, you are definitely on the enemies list

faraway on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I think the best name would be CO2SpewingSealClubbingPolarBearHunter.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Interesting. Apparently, with the new format, “reload” doesn’t take you to the current page anymore.

Count to 10 on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Cash for Voters is been going strong in PA for years.

WashJeff on October 30, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Heeyyyy where’s mah’ money? Obama money? Dunno where he gets it from, aaahhh, maybe from his stash?/lol!

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:23 PM

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM

With that name, you are definitely on the enemies list

faraway on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

NoDonkey probably takes the cake, though.

Count to 10 on October 30, 2009 at 3:23 PM

“When will the White House grow up?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

notagool on October 30, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Are the Taliban and Al Qaeda on their enemies list? Just asking…

ya2daup on October 30, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Obama obviously couldn’t care less about the long term. And by “long term,” I’m not talking about our children’s children. I’m talking about NEXT YEAR.

He’s juggling the books one quarter at a time; trying to get as much of the economy collectivized as he possibly can before the crash comes. Screw “Cash for Clunkers”; even his Socialized Medicine program is part of the smoke screen. All he really needs is Cap and Trade. Once he gets that, it’s game over.

Remember, folks: Liberals couldn’t possibly give less of a rat’s ass about the size of the pie. The only thing they care about is who is doing the slicing.

logis on October 30, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Before I forget and leave the site:

Please Glenn Beck, leave the Founding Fathers alone for a while; let’s draw on the blackboard some Astronomy lessons./sarc

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:25 PM

I want to be added to the enemies list for sending tampons to the president.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM
You gotta send the right kind… extra huge jumbo would be the best. But just sending Depends Diapers would do it.

upinak on October 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Hell, they’re gonna tax tampons….better send cotton balls, a ball of string, and directions.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I want to be added to the enemies list for sending tampons to the president.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM
You gotta send the right kind… extra huge jumbo would be the best. But just sending Depends Diapers would do it.

upinak on October 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Hell, they’re gonna tax tampons….better send cotton balls, a ball of string, and directions.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Er..ah…well…er….ah..gulp…backing away from the door

Jeff from WI on October 30, 2009 at 3:29 PM

I think the best name would be CO2SpewingSealClubbingPolarBearHunter.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Change mine to, ahhh, Palin2012, or shootyadownfromchopper, or wegotamachinegun? Lemme see, BalloonObama, ImpeachNow2009? MayanCalendar2009sucks? GoneRogueandLovinIt?>Yeap this one.

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Mr. President, do yourself and the entire country a favor: grow thicker skin a pair.

jwolf on October 30, 2009 at 2:43 PM

…or borrow Michelle’s

ya2daup on October 30, 2009 at 3:33 PM

I think the best name would be CO2SpewingSealClubbingPolarBearHunter.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Change mine to, ahhh, Palin2012, or shootyadownfromchopper, or wegotamachinegun? Lemme see, BalloonObama, ImpeachNow2009? MayanCalendar2009sucks? GoneRogueandLovinIt?>Yeap this one.

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:30 PM

CO2SpewingSealClubbingPolarBearHuntingMiddleClassPalinConservative

MobileVideoEngineer on October 30, 2009 at 3:34 PM

You gotta send the right kind… extra huge jumbo would be the best. But just sending Depends Diapers would do it.

upinak on October 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

I gotta tell ya if my sis decides to go for the Alaskan cruise trip she’s been blabbing about for months, I definitely wanna meet you! Those darn tampons gave me TSS…guys, look it up…I almost “hung up my tennis shoes” with that one. Or, to put it bluntly, JP2 went thru almost all symptoms and he died but I lived.

Chicks, don’t use Super…just send them to the WH. I’d be mean and get red Sharpies. BWHWAHAHAAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Clearly, this is becoming the Obama Doctrine.

bloviator on October 30, 2009 at 3:35 PM

The stupidity and childish behavior from Obama and his staff makes me want to go scream at friends I know who voted for this idiot.

behiker on October 30, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Hell, they’re gonna tax tampons….better send cotton balls, a ball of string, and directions.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I am literally tearing up here, please stop it!!!! LOLMFAO!

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Looks like every state is going to have some sort of program that may or may not be announced yet.

Brat on October 30, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Delaware calls dibs on “Cash for Roadkill”! (Hah! beat ya Arkansas!)

ya2daup on October 30, 2009 at 3:38 PM

I want to be added to the enemies list for sending tampons to the president.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM

.

Make it a formal program: “Tampons for Turkeys”, or sumpthin’…

ya2daup on October 30, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Obama’s new report:

Okey. For the first time in my life, I will make a major decision.

Spare fox. Spare Edmunds.

Blame Palin>>> she started it with her death panels. And besides, she’s nothing. She’s just a woman ignorant of sexual benefits of abortion.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

/sarc

TheAlamos on October 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM

want to be added to the enemies list for sending tampons to the president.

HornetSting on October 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM
.

So when some lobbyist in DC says “let me pull some strings” what exactly will that mean?

macncheez on October 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Send pacifiers, lots of them.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Recordable greeting cards with the message, “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

ya2daup on October 30, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Math is hard!

jukin on October 30, 2009 at 3:52 PM

The surge in the War on Edmunds. Smart power.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on October 30, 2009 at 4:11 PM

A baby seal walks into a bar. The bartender says “what’ll you have?” The baby seal says “anything but a Canadian Club”.

SKYFOX on October 30, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Two cowboys walk into a bar.
The third one ducks.

MarkTheGreat on October 30, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Two cowboys walk into a bar.
The third one ducks.

MarkTheGreat on October 30, 2009 at 4:11 PM

A baby seal walks into a club. An Eskimo gets thrown in jail.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 30, 2009 at 4:17 PM

You mean our pseudonyms might get national press?

Count to 10 on October 30, 2009 at 2:38 PM

I’d better shine mine up then. Where did I put that car wax?

MarkTheGreat on October 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

that relies on actual growth, not gimmicky and momentary incentives from the government

The exact reason that communism/socialism does not work.

Johan Klaus on October 30, 2009 at 4:53 PM

The administration’s reaction once again reveals a very thin skin and a temperament perhaps suited to campaigning, but certainly not towards governing. When will the White House grow up?

Perhaps in 2013 with a new administration in power. I don’t hold out hope for signs of maturity from the “Chosen One”.

simkeith on October 30, 2009 at 5:03 PM

The adults spiteful little punks are in charge.

UltimateBob on October 30, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Herr Obama’s Enemies of the State list must already be longer than Herr Hitler’s ever was.

MB4 on October 30, 2009 at 5:25 PM

After all, my giant breed dog and my cats who pollute the environment, would love to have more room to roam.

ProudPalinFan on October 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Yeah, everyone says Palin is bad for shooting wolves but really, she just knows they have a big carbon footprint so she’s doing it to save Mother Earth!

NTWR on October 30, 2009 at 5:35 PM

I noticed this and pointed it out at Ace’s when I noted that the press release lashed out at Edmunds first:

The thing that got me is that rather then just repeating the line that the program was a success the DOT guy had to attack Edmunds. This is true in all liberal arguments, there not based primarily in facts but in partisan hate and attacks.

“It is unfortunate that Edmunds.com has had nothing but negative things to say about a wildly successful program that sold nearly 250,000 cars in its first four days alone,” said Bill Adams, spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

This really is a government of whiners and children, top to bottom!
David

LifeTrek on October 30, 2009 at 5:38 PM

When will the WH grow up?

That’s easy, January of 2013. (Plus a tiny little bit of maturation in January of 2011.

Mojave Mark on October 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM


Let me be clear, as I have always said, this Jerome Horwitz character is nothing more than a right wingnut stooge.
Jerome Horwitz on October 30, 2009 at 3:17 PM

That undoubtedly makes Moses Horwitz the head wingnut stooge.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on October 30, 2009 at 6:06 PM

how about “Cash for Houses”, next? If I agree to burn down my house, the gubmint will give me money to buy a brand new house!
Fed45 on October 30, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Many think it’s a good idea to burn down excess housing. This would lower glut of homes and raise house prices. Just so long as they don’t burn down there home. You could go and burn down vacant homes around you, cause a home shortage, prices go up, then sell your home and move to another glut area, buy cheap, burn some more homes, sell when prices go up. You know, supply and demand. Good Luck!
Just kidding, but It’s already happening I bet. God Help US!!

Ed Laskie on October 31, 2009 at 10:37 AM

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