Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clunker Blunder

I hesitate to post on this because, to be honest, I am tired of hearing about it. The media has been going on ad naseum about the situation for two days either commentating on the dreadfully inept way the program has been handled [Fox News] or twitterpated with the Obama administration because they have finally managed to do something that was a success with the American public [All other MSM].

Imagine that! Giving the American taxpayers back their money to spend on an item they needed was both wildly popular and successful!

Don't look for the current administration to take to that mode of thinking, though. There was a much less altruistic goal from the infamous sponsors, Senators Schumer D-NY, Feinstein D-CA and Collins R-ME [You'll recall this gem as one of the three Senators who backed Dems on the stimulus bill]. The purpose was another eco-freak shove toward "going green". Had there been strict interest in helping American families in a time of great recession, the guidelines would have included two key components which were blatantly missing from the current version.

The first restriction would have been to give the allowance only on cars made in the United States. Instead, no such restriction was made thus paving the way for Honda's Insight and other hybrid makers to send more American money overseas.

The second is not a restriction at all, but moreover a provision for the parting out of vehicles that were being traded in. Instead, they are going to be destroyed so that no portion of the vehicle can be reused. This point was made by Mica Sims on . The destruction of these vehicles will not only deprive the market of sellable stock, but it will cause a drop in supply making it more difficult [i.e. more expensive] for people who own older or less fuel efficient vehicles to locate replacement parts. When these vehicles cannot be repaired for lack of parts, those who own them will have no choice but to purchase smaller, more fuel-efficient models that are also less useful or versatile .

Trying desperately to overlook the reason for the success of the program [returning wealth to the people instead of taking it] Susan Collins, in a television interview, stated that she was not surprised that the program was such a success that they ran out of funds within a week. She had originally petitioned for 4 billion to find the program, but they had whittled it down to 1 billion- the fools! And then in the next breath she says that the move was intended to give the economy a jolt, [and I am paraphrasing here] not to foot the bill for everyone wanting to trade-in.


So the true goal was to create enough of a rush to trade-in to give the pretense of helping the American taxpayer and the economy, but when their thirst was assured and the dealerships were over-eager, you pull the rug? For once, I agree with Obama. It did work, beautifully.

But even in a relative success, its become a total clusterf*ck.

  • The destruction of the trade-in engines involves using an acid and crushing the cars. Many handlers don't want to deal with these clunkers because of the hazardous chemicals, so disposal has become a problem.
  • In all of their infinitely green-mindedness, did it not occur to anyone involved in the construction of this bill that introducing a corrosive acid into the environment hundreds of thousands of times over and just as many hunks of compacted metal might not be so good for the environment? Perhaps we should sell all of those metal cubes to Disney for backdrop on the set of Wall-E 2!
  • The website being used has bogged already and dealers are reporting absurd lag times. The auditors being petitioned for rebates are rejecting them for nonsensical reasons. One dealer reported that the first application he put through was rejected by the auditor because they claimed that it exceeded the $45,000 maximum price. It was for a Hyundai Sonata*.
  • Let's not forget the big one- extreme lack of foresight in funding. They failed to project the scope of interest. I have no doubt, personally, that they had every intention for the money to run out before the deadline of November, but it's obvious that they did not expect the money to dry up quite so quickly. Now they are scrambling to get mountains of additional funding for a flawed program or risk outright revolt from car buyers who may have to return their new cars when their old ones are already junked and angry dealers who are stuck in the middle.

It's not hard to see why Americans are asking themselves why on this Earth the government should have control over anything, let alone something as vital as the health and welfare of our people.

*MSRP on a Hyundai Sonata starts at $18,700

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