This is kind of fun (DougJ be damned). Haven’t had a good argument in a while, and I’m cranky, so here is a response to Erik’s last C4C post:
First, $3 billion isn’t so much in the grand scheme. And it would have been fine, as far as these things go, to run this program without destroying the used cars. Oh sure, getting these cars off the road helps clean up the environment to some degree, but manufacturing new cars has its own environmental cost. And trading them in and then reselling them would have still gotten more people into fuel efficient cars without hitting low-income Americans in the used car market. Eventually these cars are going off the road anyways, but if we give it time there will be more newer, more fuel efficient used cars to replace them with.
The entire point of the program was to GET THESE CARS OFF THE ROAD. Why would we want them traded in and resold- we want them off the road.
Second, why is this program a better stimulative or environmental program than spending $3 billion on solar energy credits? Or any other credit toward green, sustainable energy? Even just more credits toward buying fuel efficient cars? It’s the destruction of the used cars that’s the problem here, not the spending of tax dollars. At least that’s my take.
I’m not sure what this point is getting at. There are a whole range of programs government can and should engage in to help the environment, some are necessarily going to be better than others. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage in something that will overall be a good program because some proposal down the road might be better. And again, the point was to destroy the used cars and GET THEM OFF THE ROAD.
Third, of course the program was a success. If your program is basically handing out money and lots of people take that money and you measure the success of the program by needing to give away even more money, well then how could that not be a success?
The only way you could come to this conclusion is if you completely ignore the point of the program to begin with, which was to get shitty cars off the road and get people into more environmentally sound and fuel efficient vehicles. If you look on pages 17-21 of the .pdf, you learn that only 21% of the American auto fleet is of trucks/suv’s, yet they were over 85% of the vehicles traded in for more efficient vehicles under this program. For once, mission accomplished. That it was very popular and propped up the auto industry and the supply chain at the same time is the icing on the cake.
And last, yes C4C kept the auto industry afloat for a while. But we have a history of keeping that industry afloat and it hasn’t helped them in the long term. Even so, we could have kept them afloat by offering credits rather than destroying cars.
What next – should we save the publishing industry by burning books?
As I mentioned in the comments, when your 1978 copy of Atlas Shrugged is getting 7 miles to the gallon, belching loads of emissions into the air, requires you to put a couple quarts of oil in every time you stop and also leaks coolant everywhere you go, all while operating with substandard brakes on the same roads I drive on, and your newer 2010 model of Atlas does none of those things while also providing much-needed help to the book publishing industry for the trifling amount of 3 billion dollars, I’ll be the first to tell Ray Bradbury to go eat a bag of dicks.