Just a reminder: Cash for Clunkers requires destroying perfectly usable cars

Rarely do you encounter a wealth-destroying green measure that literally destroys wealth but this is an exception and therefore a sweet, sweet metaphor for Obamanomics. I think some people are under the impression that C4C is just a trade-in program, where the dealer gets to keep the buyer’s old ride and sell it for parts or to a used-car dealer, etc. Not so. The whole point is to get fuel-inefficient vehicles off the road, which means the engines — the most valuable part — have to be destroyed. The Examiner’s Bill Dupray is horrified at the sheer inefficiency of it all:

The Cash for Clunkers program is stupid for a lot of reasons. Not only is it just another tax-payer bailout of the unions automakers, who can sell more cars at artificially depressed prices so they can keep the doors open. It also screws with the free-market (big surprise there) by pulling forward demand that isn’t there now, only to kill demand over the next 1-2 years. Killing off the clunkers also hurts the used car market, the spare parts market, and the auto repair business. If there aren’t any old cars to buy or fix, those guys are all out of a job.

But one of the most asinine parts of the plan is that they take old cars, many of which were being used as functional day-to-day transportation the day before, and destroy them. A perfectly good and useful machine destroyed for political reasons…

I know people will say that some of these cars were maintenance disasters to own and if the blue book is less that what someone will pay you for it, then there is no point in keeping it. But the Cash for Clunkers program requires that a working vehicle be destroyed. What about giving it to charity, or to your teenager, or to whomever deems the thing more useful than a $4,500 credit on a new car.

Via Dupray, here’s video of a Volvo in its death throes for the sake of Mother Gaia, but if you only have a few minutes to spare, skip it. Spend it instead on the Times’s must-read about the last hours of a clunker and watch the (sadly non-embeddable) video at the link. Not only is the program inefficient in the macro sense, but the feds’ underbudgeting and rickety Internet interface have made it inefficient at the micro level too by leaving dealers uncertain about whether they’ll ever be reimbursed for the rebates they’re paying out. Sample quote: “There is absolute frustration across the board.” No wonder a majority of the public is against the program.

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