By on September 23, 2009

Why did the government get to buy this for $4,500?

Economics professors Burton Abrams and George Parsons sum up the Cash for Clunkers tragedy wonderfully in their essay Is CARS a Clunker? [PDF available here]. “Concentrated benefits create vocal advocates, while diffused costs produce silent, apathetic opponents,” they conclude after showing that the costs of crushing clunkers outweighed the benefits by about $2,000 per vehicle.  But reality is even worse. As economists, Abrams and Parsons break everything into dollars and cents. That’s their job. But one look at the CARS.gov list [PDF] of vehicles “traded in” shows that, for car aficionados anyway, the true cost of Cash for Clunkers is almost impossible to boil down to mere money. Did you know some fool “traded in” an Aston DB7 Volante? An M3? A TVR? A grip of Ur-Quattros? Three Laforzas? I didn’t even know what a Laforza is. Now I don’t want to get all Hemmings on you, but this stuff is more than just heritage: these vehicles are wonderfully bad decisions waiting to happen. Literally thousands of young men are currently trolling their local Craigslist for out-of-reach vehicles at prices that would make anyone who knew better run away screaming. Thanks to Cash for Clunkers they’ll never understand the agony and the ecstasy of trying to keep an Aston running on elbow grease, generic parts and a Nietzschian will to awesome. And that’s the real tragedy.

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91 Comments on “The Tragedy of the Clunkers...”


  • avatar
    carve

    Wow…$2000 per car. That sounds like it is probably about the average value of a typically clunked-out car, and therefore the amount of value removed from the economy by clunking a car. Coincidence?

    I’ve never heard of LaForza, either. Looks like a 92 Colt Vista- hard to imagine anyone paid a premium for one of those. Where were they sold?

    It’s a tragedy some of those exotics were clunked though, money pit or not. Once they’re crushed in six months that’s just fewer parts for the remaining ones.

  • avatar
    TonUpBoi

    Which only proves the old adage, “Never underestimate a person’s capacity for stupidity.”

    A TVR? For real (he says, sobbing)?

    I just spent part of Sunday afternoon with the gentleman who’s bought out the American TVR parts supply company from an old friend of mine, and knowing that parts are once again easily(?) available, I’m starting to dream of an early-80’s 280i again.

  • avatar
    the duke

    Did anyone notice the GNX at the top of the list under ASC?!!!!

    Really, someone C4C’d a GNX? A crappy one is worth 10k or more!

    This is so so wrong I can’t even begin to contemplate how this could happen. I might cry.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Well, this is pretty enlightening.
    It’s a foregone conclusion we have a stupid government, but now it’s pretty clear we have a stupid populace, too.
    I’m trying to imagine the thought process of the guy with the Aston, but I can’t, anymore than I can imagine how my dog thinks.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, let’s see…

    On one end of the scale, we have a junked Aston.

    On the other side is a guy who gets to keep his job and feed his family tonight.

    And we’re going to tell the working guy that it’s a shame that Aston got junked to help him keep his job?

    Tell him that to his face…in front of his kids, preferably.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    FreedMike:

    No problem. Then he can go explain to the kids of the guy who DIDN’T get bailed out by the taxpayers, why he got to keep his job but their daddy didn’t.

    Cuts both ways.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:08 pm
    I’m trying to imagine the thought process of the guy with the Aston, but I can’t, anymore than I can imagine how my dog thinks.

    Maybe the guy with the Aston had a massive repair bill and it made more sense to take the $4500 and run. It can happen with exotics. Who knows? It’s none of my business.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    FreedMike:

    No problem. Then he can go explain to the kids of the guy who DIDN’T get bailed out by the taxpayers, why he got to keep his job but their daddy didn’t.

    Cuts both ways.

    Speaking as one of the people who spent tax money on the bailout, but ended up losing a job anyway, I refuse to be bitter at the guy who did.

    In the end, things like the bailout are about saving families, and that’s more important than saving some dumb car. Cars are things and can be replaced; families cannot.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    I understand this piece is meant to incite outrage, but in reality, each of these ‘magnificent’ cars/SUV’s clunked-in for cash was probably a god-awful beater, needing major mechanical and cosmetic work to bring in anything like top market value.

    And btw, a ‘LaForza’ is an orphan Italian luxury SUV made in the early 90’s, which had a reputation for self-destructing as fast, if not faster than a Range Rover…not a big loss, really.

    If someone was truly stoopid enough to trade in a mint DB7 Volante for $4500 (doubtful), than the villagers SHOULD storm this idiots’ house with burning torches…lest this village idiot decides to breed, and his moron spawn becomes a threat to us all. But to hold our government responsible for any one individual’s extreme stupidity is unfair.

    Nobody, NOBODY is stupid enough to trade in the black Volante pictured above for $4500. Relax, people….we lost some rusty, broken-down beaters with expensive nameplates, that’s all. Sad perhaps, but not a catastrophe.

    If you’re so torn up about it, you can, today, go out and buy a beat up money-pit exotic car, and throw away several THOUSAND dollars of your own cash to make it shine…put your money where your mouth is.

  • avatar

    How on earth could a DB7 be worth only $4500? The car must have been completely trashed.

    I’d be interested to see what the above mentioned special interest cars were traded in on in the C4C program.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Well, this is pretty enlightening.
    It’s a foregone conclusion we have a stupid government, but now it’s pretty clear we have a stupid populace, too.
    I’m trying to imagine the thought process of the guy with the Aston, but I can’t, anymore than I can imagine how my dog thinks.

    RetardedSparks, did you ever have a car that cost you so much in embarrassment, humiliation, money, lost dates, not being able to make it work? A car that made you want to go out and shoot it in the hood? (Cept the ricochet of the bullet would likely kill you and get you a Darwin Award.) Maybe that’s what went through the guys mind. “Wait I get $4500 bucks and the government takes the old nag out and shoots it?!?!?!?! Where the hell do I sign up?!?!?”

    BTW I had one, it was an 82 Chevy Celebrity with the 2.5L Iron Duke. It was my first car.

  • avatar
    phillyjim

    I just looked up Aston Martin DB7 on autotrader. The prices ranged from $5,500 to $75,000 with an average of $49,000. The $5,500 one specifies that it’s a wreck. The next lowest after that is about $35,000. Even with a massive repair bill, there’s no way you can justify junking a DB7. Everybody arguing the “but it saves jobs” angle –in case you hadn’t noticed, auto restorers, repair shops, and specialty parts makers employ people too. They just don’t have a union that gave a lot of money to the party in power.

  • avatar
    geeber

    If these vehicles really are worth more than $4,500, isn’t it the responsibility of the owner to know this and thus sell the vehicle in a venue where he or she will receive more money?

    It’s not as though anyone was mandated to participate in the Cash for Clunkers program.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Oh man. I totally know what a LaForza is. Last time I saw one was on the I-5 on the way to San Diego. Didn’t know they were worth any money though.

    This thing reads like a victim list, though I have to admit to grinning when I saw how many Voyagers got C4C’d.

    I have to agree with sfdennis1 here…
    Remember that “cherry” maserati biturbo that got C4C’d and what everyone said about it? A friend of mine with an ’88 RX7 Turbo nearly C4C’d it because he wouldn’t be able to sell it for it’s C4C price in it’s current state. The M3, Quattro and TVR guys probably all felt the same way. They’re probably unfinished perpetual project cars, or rusted.

    You could also make the same point about C4C as you could states giving out film subsidies. That it’s a total waste of money, but can be justified as bringing in business for local economies, though temporary as it may be.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    2008 Scion xD – huh?

    And then there’s the couple who wanted their Xterra crushed, but found out the dealer treated it us a trade-in:
    http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2009/09/dealer-turns-clunker-into-trade-in-upsets-customers.html

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Even if the DB7 did not have an engine or transmission, it should still be worth more than the $4500 for parts alone. Somehow, this one does not make any sense at all. I’m curious though, Where does the information come from that authenticates that a DB7 was actually traded in on this program?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    phillyjim :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Everybody arguing the “but it saves jobs” angle –in case you hadn’t noticed, auto restorers, repair shops, and specialty parts makers employ people too. They just don’t have a union that gave a lot of money to the party in power.

    True, but what makes more difference to the economy – the failure of Joe’s Auto Repair or General Motors?

    I don’t think there will be any shortage of cars to repair, given this economy.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    FreedMike: “Maybe the guy with the Aston had a massive repair bill and it made more sense to take the $4500 and run. It can happen with exotics. Who knows? It’s none of my business.”

    It was almost certainly not his best move. He could have sold the car, as-is-where-is for a reasonable sum, as noted, probably $5K or better. Then, he could have waited until September or October when dealer inventories were restocked and dealers were begging for customers and saved himself another $nK on the purchase price.

    Even if he got the full C4C credit, he probably lost a significant chunk of it back on the purchase price. I admit, I didn’t check the Chevy dealers but the Honda and Toyota guys were insisting on MSRP and getting it.

    C4C was “An Act to Ensure Full Margins for Auto Dealers” more than any kind of real stimulus.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    So the true economic cost of CFC, as fully revealed so far, is $5,500 to $6,500 per car traded in, with the taxpayer footing such a lovely bill.

    The manufacturers and dealers got a window of time where the government directly and heavily stimulated their profit margins and sales, using taxdollars, in the form of direct transfer payments.

    Too bad for manufacturers and dealers that the normalized market is still working against them, even after the great dealership and auto production cull of ’08-’09, but that’s where equilibrium comes into play: Eventually, true equilibrium, provided by the number of willing buyers, willing sellers, and the number of goods in true demand (and at a particular price), will determine all.

  • avatar
    MMH

    They’re machines. Machines that can be replaced. How they got to the C4C program really doesn’t matter, as long as it was on the up and up. Maybe it was jilted soon-to-be-ex-wives crushing the cars before the secretary got them. Whatever.

    I get that we lament some of them being crushed after the fact. It’s easy to do so; everyone is ‘a good person’ after they pass, and there’s some amount of the same thing here. That said, if it was really, really a good idea for someone else to buy them, doesn’t capitalism sort of dictate that that would have happened?

  • avatar
    jmo

    Did anyone see the Top Gear where they bought exotics for GBP10,000? One of the cars they bought for 10k had already had a 20k engine rebuild. The car with the rebuild promptly threw a rod and disintergrated.

    I could see that happening to a DB7.

  • avatar
    wsn

    FreedMike :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    On the other side is a guy who gets to keep his job and feed his family tonight.

    And we’re going to tell the working guy that it’s a shame that Aston got junked to help him keep his job?

    ————————————–

    Of course it’s a shame to rob a bunch of Walmart cashier $200 each to support a undeserved (as judged by car buyers) $80k/year UAW job.

  • avatar
    JTParts

    Wow FREEDMIKE I can’t believe that you really think this was a good way to spend 3 billion dollars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    wsn :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Of course it’s a shame to rob a bunch of Walmart cashier $200 each to support a undeserved (as judged by car buyers) $80k/year UAW job.

    And who decides what that worker “deserves” – you? Me?

    How much do you deserve to make?

    And how would YOU feel if some stranger who had never done your job, and had no idea what it entails, questioned YOUR salary?

    In fact, does anyone ask how much ANYONE who works for ANY company that lives off government largesse – and the list is massive – makes?

  • avatar
    carve

    Holy Hell- someone traded in a 2006 A4 Cabriolet Quattro! It better have had some irreperable damage on a salvage title!

    There’s also a 2008 Suburban, SIX 2008 avengers (LOL) and TEN 2008 Grand Marquis and TWO 2008 Foose F150s, plus a whole bunch of onesy twosy’s from 08. Talk about depreciation!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    JTParts :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Wow FREEDMIKE I can’t believe that you really think this was a good way to spend 3 billion dollars.

    Well, if we can spend who knows how many billions a month to keep Iraqis from blowing each other up over centuries-old tribal blood feuds, I don’t see how we are stupid to toss a few billion into the economy to keep plants open and people working.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    educatordan:

    Yup. I drove a rusty mid 80’s 2WD Chevy pickup with 200k on the clock all through grad school. We called it the Blue Bomb, as opposed to the Blue Bomber, on account of the chalked and faded sky blue paint job and persistent gas leak.

    I actually did better with the ladies driving that than anything since!

    And yes, I would have happily traded it for $4500.

    I just can’t imagine how bad and beat up an Aston would have to be. That’s all.

    I never meant to start an argument over people, deserving or not, or the value of anyone’s job. This is a car site. Unfortunately, cars and politics have become closely linked in the last year, but it is still appropriate to discuss the program’s effect on cars, and the car enthusiast hobby.
    ——————————-
    Finally, back on topic, this list MUST be an un-vetted list of applications received, because I cannot in any way imagine a Corolla of any vintage getting worse than the 18 mpg combined cut-off. Has anyone done a cross-check of this list against the eligible vehicle list?

  • avatar
    npbheights

    On the PDF list of vehicles that were traded under the CARS program, under just about every make of car there is a model denoted as “UNLISTED”. So there are cars that the government payed for that they don’t know the model of. Kind of important when it comes to knowing their MPG’s and if they qualified to be clunked. I wonder how many Mercury Tracers, and Escorts, etc. got clunked and listed as “UNLISTED MODEL”. It also made a difference whether the person got $3,500 or $4,500 off the new car. It really has FRAUD written all over it. This whole waste of money is totally unbelieveable!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    …or maybe the person who traded the Aston was a wife who caught her hubby cheating…and she traded it in on an Aveo.

    Put a big red bow on it, and rolled it up in front of the McMansion. “Well, dear, I found out about that secretary you’ve been diddling, so I traded your Aston in. Happy anniversary!!!”

  • avatar
    educatordan

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    LOL +1

    I’ve never really owned a “cool” car, lack of funds and practicality have always won out. But I agree with you on the action. The most vehicular action I’ve ever gotten were in a 1987 Olds Cutlass Supreme (a 4D Brougham of all things, but at least it had 307V8 4bl and posi)and a 2004 F150 Heritage with power nothing.

  • avatar
    phillyjim

    …or maybe the person who traded the Aston was a wife who caught her hubby cheating…and she traded it in on an Aveo.

    Now that makes a lot more sense than any of your economic arguments. I’ve read some estimates that the true cost of C4C when all the overhead (both for the govt and dealers) is included was around $20,000 per car.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    True, but what makes more difference to the economy – the failure of Joe’s Auto Repair or General Motors?

    C4C was not exclusive to GM cars, it benefitted all manufacturers selling cars under the price cap.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    There are a number of vehicles on that list that didn’t even qualify for C4C because their fuel economy was over 18mpg combined under EPA estimates, how did those slip through the cracks?

  • avatar
    Gunit

    ‘C4C saves jobs’? No it just takes money from some people so other people can buy more stuff. You get a new car, your kids inherit more govt. debt. Way to go.

  • avatar
    TonUpBoi

    Over lunch, I took a few minutes and ran down the list. Other cringe inducing moments:

    1991 BMW M-3 (E30)
    1991 BMW M-5
    1992 BMW 850i
    1997 Rolls-Royce (er, don’t you mean Bently) Continental R

  • avatar
    NickR

    If that list doesn’t raise a few eyebrows, it damn well should.

    – 2002 model year Audis
    – 2007 model year Chevy Pick-ups
    – 2008 Chrysler 300
    – 2 2006 Roush F150s

    I have to kind of laugh when I see 3 ’87 Excalibur Phaetons. I didn’t realize there were that many of those cheesewagons laying around.

    Anyway, some of those trade-ins made think of some guy who had done something REALLy bad. He sits down to watch CSI and then goes ‘Oh f***. What to do? I know! Cash for clunkers. No evidence AND 4,500 bucks!!!’

    BTW, note there isn’t a single Miata.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    A couple of thoughts.

    I thought that a req of C4C was the car had to be operable, to help prevent fraud. Wouldn’t that rule out totaled supercars?

    Even if a wrecked DB7 could fetch more than $4500, you still have to find the buyer who wants it. That could take a long time, C4C is immediate.

    Only the engine blocks of traded in vehicles had to be destroyed. Everything else could be stipped off and sold for salvage, so the remaining parts should still be around for restorations/repairs.

  • avatar
    NickR

    PS Notice that there wasn’t a single Miata!

  • avatar
    NickR

    the duke…yes, I noticed the GNX. How many were there in the first place?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Clutch –

    According to the governments rules, yes, the vehicles had to be operational when they were traded in. However, the local Toyota and Nissan dealerships down here were paying to have wrecked cars towed or flat-bedded in for customers. There was no way for the government to check if the vehicle was actually running when it came in or not, save for a signature on some paperwork from the dealer.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Aha!
    From the cars.gov website:

    “Note that this information reflects information submitted, but not necessarily reviewed or approved as qualifying transactions.”

    What this means is that LOTS of dealers took anything from anybody, and when their applications get booted there is going to be some ugliness over who comes up with the missing $4500….
    There could also possible scenario that dealers took cars on regular trades, then decided themselves to C4C them for some reason (like when they found that Aston had a Chevy swap!)

    The program was so horribly managed that nobody really had any idea how it worked anyway.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Someone clunkered a 2008 Scion xD, a 2008 Hyundai Elantra, and a 2008 Hyundai Accent?!

    I thought the car had to be 2006 or older, and these vehicles wouldn’t seem to qualify from a gas mileage standpoint, and their trade-in values would be substantially more than $4500. Something smells funny.

  • avatar
    MBella

    FreedMike, I can’t believe you actually fell for this. If you believe three people’s jobs were saved because of this program, you are naive. September sales now will be ridiculously awful, because everybody that was considering a new car purchase the slightest bit, ad qualified for CARS, has bought their subsidized cars already. GM and Chrysler still posted a sales decrease last month, and just wait for the September numbers. I would be surprised at anything better than a 35% decrease from either Government Motors subsidiary. All CARS has done was encourage people to buy their new vehicle in August, but it did not address anything for the long term.

  • avatar
    dmrdano

    The thing that betrays the lack of thought on the part of the car buyers the most is that during the $4,500 give-away most of the dealers quit dealing, i.e. they sold cars for much closer to list than normal. As for me, I am waiting until some of these buyers start defaulting on the loans they couldn’t afford in the first place before I lay my money down.

    I think the angry soon-to-be ex-wife scenario makes best sense (that muffled thud they are hearing at the dealer may be the body in the trunk rolling around).

  • avatar
    redrum

    NickR wrote: If that list doesn’t raise a few eyebrows, it damn well should.

    Yeah, I just looked over it myself. It is rife with vehicles that clearly get better than the required maximum 18 mpg and/or are clearly worth much more than $4500 if in running condition (another requirement). I smell rampant fraud.

    A sampling:
    2006 Toyota Corolla
    2008 Scion xD
    2008 Altima coupe
    2006 Lincoln Zephyr
    2008 Ford Mustang
    2002 BMW X5
    2006 A4 Cariolet Quattro

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I’m uncertain of something. It’s hard to believe that some people turned in cars of that sort for a quick $4,500 trade, but I can see it, especially if maintaining one proved to be costlier than the owner anticipated, etc, or they have enough money that the real worth of the car means very little and they decided on a quick swap to something that won’t incur wrath from strangers in parking lots.

    But that a dealer would then take these cars, drain the oil, replace it with liquid glass and run the engine until it’s destroyed? That I find hard to believe. I realize that most car salespeople only focus on ways to make money and often know very little about cars, but I’d think there would be some hesitation before doing that, possibly by deciding that the value of the car is more than the $4,500 they expect to get from the government.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    If I’m the salesman and some clown wants to clunker a DB7 Volante, well to clunk it it has to be a driveable car. I say “Hey I kinda like this ride, the Prez will only give you 4.5K, I’ll make it an even 5 grand and we’ll put free undercoating on your new one! Whaduhyahsaybuddy, is it a deal?”

    That baby is on e-bay in an hour and I drive until she goes.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Given the number of non-qualifying cars on the list, and that it is just a list of submitted cars, not approved ones, I think the most likely scenario is that a lot of the vehicles on that list were the result of misfiled paperwork. Incorrectly entered/read VINs resulting in different models showing up, car dealers submitting the information on the car that was purchased instead of the car that was clunked, dealers or the CARS.gov people testing out the submissions website with dummy cars, etc, all of that could lead to the random cars that shouldn’t show up on that list.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Gunit :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    ‘C4C saves jobs’? No it just takes money from some people so other people can buy more stuff. You get a new car, your kids inherit more govt. debt. Way to go.

    Without stimulus programs, we’d have a lot more unemployed people.

    More unemployment = less tax reveune
    More unemployment = more government handouts
    ________________________________________________

    Less tax revenue + more government handouts = more government debt

    The only question is: do you want to go into debt to support a shrinking or growing economy? If it’s the latter, then stimulus makes sense.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    phillyjim :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 2:16 pm
    Now that makes a lot more sense than any of your economic arguments. I’ve read some estimates that the true cost of C4C when all the overhead (both for the govt and dealers) is included was around $20,000 per car.

    And in the same vein, how much would the “overhead” have been for unemployment, job retraining, Medicaid, and eventually, welfare if we HADN’T done a stimulus package? I’m no economist, but it doesn’t take one to figure that the tabl would have been a LOT more than three billion dollars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    MBella :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    FreedMike, I can’t believe you actually fell for this. If you believe three people’s jobs were saved because of this program, you are naive. September sales now will be ridiculously awful, because everybody that was considering a new car purchase the slightest bit, ad qualified for CARS, has bought their subsidized cars already. GM and Chrysler still posted a sales decrease last month, and just wait for the September numbers. I would be surprised at anything better than a 35% decrease from either Government Motors subsidiary. All CARS has done was encourage people to buy their new vehicle in August, but it did not address anything for the long term.

    And it wasn’t intended to be a long run solution. It was intended to a) provide a cash infusion to GM and Chrysler so they could stay up and running after their BK, b) get dealers who were reeling from awful sales a shot in the arm, and c) help clear out some of the nasty old inventory (which it did). It worked.

    As far as the “September sales will be awful” argument goes, which would you rather have: a sale today, or a potential sale a month from now? That’s Business 101. And in this market, GM and Chrysler aren’t alone in posting sales decreases – even Toyota’s down for the year.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Aha!
    From the cars.gov website:

    “Note that this information reflects information submitted, but not necessarily reviewed or approved as qualifying transactions.”

    What this means is that LOTS of dealers took anything from anybody, and when their applications get booted there is going to be some ugliness over who comes up with the missing $4500….

    Well, then, the dealers who tried to take cars that didn’t qualify in are going to get any money from the program. But they knew the rules going in, didn’t they? That’s their fault.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    While the story certainly sounds outrageous, I think that you may safely presume, at least in most instances, that the dealers would have taken these as trade ins if they were all that valuable.

    For example, if it made sense, the dealer could have offered a modest premium for the Aston Martin instead of trading it as a clunker, and then resold the car for a tidy profit. My guess is that there was something so bad about that particular car that it didn’t make sense to do that. If dealers understand anything, it’s the value of a used car.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    It’s morally and ethically wrong to take somebody’s money or other property without their permission, when they have committed no crime.

    This has been done to me and to my citizens for years with these questionable social programs.

    To take our money (whether it’s present money or future money, or future money of those yet to be born) at the point of a gun is a crime called robbery.

    The government’s power comes from the ability to use armed police to enforce laws. That’s the point of the gun of which I speak. I am compelled by this gun to pay my taxes.

    Cash for Clunkers has stolen from me and from millions of others. That money will come from my taxes for years, all at the point of a gun. I and my fellow citizens will never have our day in court.

    Some of you are quite prolific in your defense of this robbery. If you want to contribute from your family purse to help others, more power to you. I contribute too. How much and when is MY BUSINESS. Not yours. Not President Obama’s. Not even my own Congressman or Senators. It is between me, my conscience, my spouse/family, and my God only!

    To defend this robbery in the name of “saving jobs” is unconscionable, sickening, and it turns my stomach. I feel for people, I do. But you’ve justified theft, and there is NEVER a justification for that!

    My money is my business, and you apologists and defenders have supported our President and Congress with your condoning of this unconstitutional thievery.

    It’s reprehensible. My rights have been TRAMPLED ON. I’m a citizen of the United States of America with the God given rights as spelled out in the Bill of Rights. And yet I’ll never have my rightful day in court. For this, I’m viscerally angry.

    Lay off and stay out of my life, dammit!

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    ZoomZoom – Relax a bit. The people voted and elected this President and congress, and they in turn voted C4C into law. I don’t like that we spent billions to liberate the Iraqis when we could have spent a fraction of that to firebomb Baghdad and been done with Saddam just the same, but the majority voted and thats what our elected leaders decided to do.

    Our elected officials get to decide how to spend our taxes and how much of our money they are going to take for their programs. If you don’t like it, vote differently next time and become politically active enough to change others’ views.

  • avatar
    wsn

    FreedMike :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    And who decides what that worker “deserves” – you? Me?

    How much do you deserve to make?
    ——————————————
    1) Buyers of your service decide. In the case of GM’s employees, it’s the car buyers.

    You see, when car buyers buys 2 million cars from GM per year, and assume that 1 employee produces 10 cars (made up number to illustrate point), then exactly 200k GM employees deserve their jobs. If GM has 250k employees, then 50k of them don’t deserve their jobs. Exactly how to identify which 50k, is a task for the management.

    2) I deserve the highest amount any employer is willing and able to pay me without robbing tax payers.

  • avatar
    MBella

    FreedMike: And it wasn’t intended to be a long run solution. It was intended to a) provide a cash infusion to GM and Chrysler so they could stay up and running after their BK, b) get dealers who were reeling from awful sales a shot in the arm, and c) help clear out some of the nasty old inventory (which it did). It worked.

    As far as the “September sales will be awful” argument goes, which would you rather have: a sale today, or a potential sale a month from now? That’s Business 101. And in this market, GM and Chrysler aren’t alone in posting sales decreases – even Toyota’s down for the year.

    A) Thank you for clearing that up. So you are saying it was just another bailout for Government Motors.
    B) Now these dealers won’t be able to sell water to guy in the desert.
    C) Well now we have new inventory that is exactly the same as the old inventory.

    So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money. Who was your business professor, Karl Marx?

    Also in your defense of these bailouts for so-called preservation of jobs. Post bailout, more suppliers have went bankrupt than any other time before. This bailout only helped the upper echelon of these auto makers. As has been said here before, if they wanted to save American jobs, a stipulation of the bailouts should have been production in the US with only US components. I’m happy that some guy got $4500, for his POS, to buy a Daewoo, but please explain to me how this helped any American worker keep his job?

  • avatar
    wsn

    ZoomZoom :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Cash for Clunkers has stolen from me and from millions of others. That money will come from my taxes for years, all at the point of a gun. I and my fellow citizens will never have our day in court.
    ————————————
    Exactly! These days too many people are brainwashed by MSM. They don’t realize that taxes are enforced by guns and taxes without representation are tyranny.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money.

    Regardless of one’s opinion of C4C, it’s absolutely wrong of you to think that the sales would have occurred in September had they not occurred in August.

    It’s only logical to presume that at least some proportion of the C4C sales would have not occurred for months or years or at all without the C4C program. To claim that 100% were “pulled forward” makes no sense whatsoever and, quite frankly, shows a lack of understanding of basic economics.

    please explain to me how this helped any American worker keep his job?

    It’s called the “money multiplier.” Consumption feeds through the system, which results in other businesses being supported by the sales. Those businesses hire employees who consume elsewhere, which supports other businesses and workers, etc., etc. etc.

    Lay off and stay out of my life, dammit!

    One man’s demand for government apathy is another man’s pothole that demands filling, yesterday.

    Everybody has stuff that they want government to do or not do. I’m sure that there is stuff that you want that I’d hate to see funded, and vice versa. That’s just how it is.

  • avatar
    wsn

    MBella :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    As has been said here before, if they wanted to save American jobs, a stipulation of the bailouts should have been production in the US with only US components. I’m happy that some guy got $4500, for his POS, to buy a Daewoo, but please explain to me how this helped any American worker keep his job?

    ———————————

    And with each $80k/year UAW job saved at the cost of $1M+, we could have hired 50 people for $20k/year for doing nothing.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Anyone notice the Wallace Environmental 560 SEL?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Everybody has stuff that they want government to do or not do.

    ———————————-
    But not everybody is low enough to ask the government to do it at the cost of other people.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    But not everybody is low enough to ask the government to do it at the cost of other people.

    I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. All spending requires taxes and/ or debt to support it. That’s true whether you like the spending or you don’t.

  • avatar
    blau

    the best part of this post is the hardin-referencing title. good work, niedermeyer!

  • avatar
    wsn

    FreedMike :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Well, if we can spend who knows how many billions a month to keep Iraqis from blowing each other up over centuries-old tribal blood feuds, I don’t see how we are stupid to toss a few billion into the economy to keep plants open and people working.
    ——————-
    The bailout is money better spent than invading Iraq, than doesn’t mean it’s well spent and we should support the expense.

    It’s like, Stalin didn’t kill as many people as Hitler, that doesn’t mean Stalin was a good person and we should support his killings.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. All spending requires taxes and/ or debt to support it. That’s true whether you like the spending or you don’t.

    —————————————
    I have no idea what your statement is supposed to mean. Do you mean that you can justify any and all taxation?

  • avatar
    fincar1

    “Anyway, some of those trade-ins made think of some guy who had done something REALLy bad. He sits down to watch CSI and then goes ‘Oh f***. What to do? I know! Cash for clunkers. No evidence AND 4,500 bucks!!!’”

    NickR, you bring up a good point. Maybe some of those c4c turnins had bodies or other embarrassing objects in the trunk. Or maybe someone remembers who traded it in…?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Do you mean that you can justify any and all taxation?

    We have a democratically elected government that approved of the program. It wasn’t illegal, and it was within the bounds of their authority to create the program.

    So get over it. You don’t even live in the US, so you weren’t even affected by it. It’s our issue, and it’s up to the citizens of the United States to handle it. If it turns out that we don’t like it that much, then our recourse is to vote the representatives out of office.

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    Retarded sparks said,

    “It’s a foregone conclusion that we have a stupid government, but now it’s pretty clear we have a stupid populace, too”.

    The only thing I disagree with in that statement is the word “now”. I’ve known it for a long time. How else can you explain states like NJ, CA, MASS, ILL,and the country as a whole electing people to govern them and make their laws who want to and are taking away their freedom and liberty.

    No intention of hijacking the thread……just sayin’.

  • avatar
    MBella

    No 100% of those would not have bought now, or maybe in the next couple of months. I never said 100%, and your are changing what I said. However, a $6500 subsidy on a product that on average has about that in total profit between the dealer and manufacturer, means that this was just another bailout. Ultimately, it didn’t help many people because it was just temporary. No new business can make use of this infused capital, because the economy will not adapt to such a temporary fluctuation. Nobody set up shop in Detroit because of the new CARS money, because it was gone by the time their doors would open. You can talk about simple economics all you want Pch101, but just because you said it doesn’t make it true. Ultimately it is this misunderstanding of economics that has caused these auto makers to fail, this recession/depression to take place, and all these misguided programs to just make it worse.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I never said 100%

    I quoted you verbatim: “So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money.”

    You did, in fact, make it an issue of August vs. September. And on top of it, you then felt the need to play the Marxist card to boot. Surely, you should be able to defend your position without resorting to the old school McCarthyism.

    No new business can make use of this infused capital, because the economy will not adapt to such a temporary fluctuation.

    You obviously don’t understand the concept of the money multiplier.

    You can talk about simple economics all you want Pch101, but just because you said it doesn’t make it true.

    It has nothing to do with what I said. As a concept, the money multiplier is a matter of fact.

    What can be fairly debated is whether there was much of a multiplier benefit due to the C4C program. There are reasonable arguments against it, but calling your opponents commies sure isn’t one of them.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Burton and Parsons provide zero analysis of the multiplier effect of C4C.

    They conclude $596 of environmental benefit against $2,600 per vehicle for a net $2,000 “cost”.

    D minus.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    FreedMike :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    RetardedSparks :
    September 23rd, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Aha!
    From the cars.gov website:

    “Note that this information reflects information submitted, but not necessarily reviewed or approved as qualifying transactions.”

    What this means is that LOTS of dealers took anything from anybody, and when their applications get booted there is going to be some ugliness over who comes up with the missing $4500….

    Well, then, the dealers who tried to take cars that didn’t qualify in are going to get any money from the program. But they knew the rules going in, didn’t they? That’s their fault.

    My point exactly. There is likely a combination of ignorance (“sure your Corolla is a clunker, lady!”), malice (“sure your Corolla is a clunker! By the way, could you sign this guarantee that you’ll pay us back the $4500 if your application is rejected?”) and innocent error (“Tony, is this a “V” or a “U” on the VIN for that Corolla?”)

    There is also a strong likelihood that some of these cars weren’t “owned” for 12 months, and in fact, weren’t “owned” by the person trading them at all. Plenty of car theft rings can fake titles and insurance. A guaranteed date with the crusher is a good way to be sure you never get caught for stealing the car.

    So the list has a lot of crazy stuff.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Even without the horrific destruction of Automotive Perfection below, the cfC program would still be a MORONIC blunder thwaqt only our Auto Illiterate, Corrupt COngress would pvote.

    Vote ALL the corrupt bums out in 2010!!!!!

    Hisdrt

    1991 BMW M-3 (E30)
    1991 BMW M-5
    1992 BMW 850i
    1997 Rolls-Royce (er, don’t you mean Bently) Continental R

  • avatar
    MBella

    How does me saying “So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money.” mean that 100% of cars sold under CARS would be bought in September. You are better at twisting people’s words then Fox news. I didn’t call you a communist. I was pointing out the fact, that if it wasn’t for CARS, many of the vehicles sold under the program would have been sold anyway, at a later date. I used September as an example because of the obvious impact CARS sales have had on vehicle sales this month. Of course that doesn’t concern you because all was well in August, and any months after that don’t matter. (Maybe you can find a way to twist this post into me saying that killing baby rabbits will fix the economy)

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    While some of these fun cars I could understand being crushed and some I see as being computer mistakes, the Aston makes no sense. Even in the angry wife scenario, the dealer would have given the person the C4C money as trade in and resold the car. That one screams fraud if it is true. While I am not a C4C expert, I assume the signatures of a friend who is a car dealer/salvage yard onwer (who authenticates that the car was destroyed?) makes for a quick $4500 for a car that could simply be sold overseas. Lieberman ship any DB7’s to Prague lately?

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    Sanman111, you have to put on your revenge cap.

    – Hi, I want to CFC my Aston on that Aveo.
    – Ma’am, this car is worth way more than $4500, how about we see what it’s really worth and go from there?
    – No, I want it CFCed, and I want to watch you kill that engine so I can describe it to that cheating ba$tard.
    – Sorry ma’am, I didn’t catch that last part.
    – Hm? Oh, nothing, let’s get that paperwork going, shall we? I have a record collection to sell this afternoon.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Having gone through the list, I’m aghast, broken-hearted, and speechless.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    How does me saying “So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money.” mean that 100% of cars sold under CARS would be bought in September.

    You’re the one who decided to describe it that way, not me. And, of course, you had to add the next sentence: “Who was your business professor, Karl Marx?”

    What you missed is that the idea against which you were railing isn’t some pinko commie manifesto, but a basic finance concept called The Time Value of Money, which says that money received earlier is better than the same amount received later. That was the point that FreedMike was making, but instead of responding to it appropriately, you felt the need to dredge up Joe McCarthy’s ghost.

  • avatar

    Whose to say these wouldn’t have gone to the crusher eventually anyway? As for the E30 M3, I’m going to pass out. Supposedly half of those aren’t around any longer anyway. Between ones wrecked and and/or cannibalized for parts, or just junked due to high repair costs, their values are going to keep going up. I can’t believe that M3 was worth less than $4500. There are some pretty hurt early E36 M3s though, so I could see those not being worth much. Yet, none were traded in. My friend had trouble selling his ’97, which was in great shape for $7K (I think he went below that).

  • avatar
    MBella

    Fox News, you decided to twist my words around, instead of “responding to my post correctly”. Here’s a link you should find useful, to help you better understand posts in the future.

    My point was that a government subsidy now, is worth less than actual capital in the future.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    you decided to twist my words around

    I quoted you verbatim. If you don’t like being critiqued for your inaccuracies, then it would be easier for everyone if you’d just avoid making inaccurate statements.

    My point was that a government subsidy now, is worth less than actual capital in the future.

    To be blunt, that isn’t much of a point, and doesn’t really mean anything.

    And you’re also sidestepping the mistake that you made. You accused another poster of being a Marxist because you lacked knowledge of the rather non-Marxist concept of the time value of money.

    Time value of money comes from basic finance, not the Communist Manifesto. It’s quite obvious that you didn’t know that.

    Don’t accuse others of being Marxist if you don’t understand what Marxism is. Critique others based upon what they actually said, instead of strawmen that you decided to create.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Please tell me what language you prefer, because obviously English isn’t it, and an intelligent conversation in it is not possible. You twisted my words around, and it’s funny that you are trying to say something about what others actually said, when you completely tried to change the meaning of what I said.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    I suspect most of the suspect cars on the list were due to incorrect VINs being entered on the paperwork.

  • avatar
    MBella

    My quote, “So you are saying it was better to invest $6500 in tax money per car in August, than having somebody buy that same car in September with no tax money.” No where do I state, that this would be true for 100% of the car sales under the CARS program, yet you keep implying it. To which you responded “To claim that 100% were “pulled forward” makes no sense whatsoever and, quite frankly, shows a lack of understanding of basic economics.” after I have made no claim to 100% being “pulled forward” as you put it. Yet you keep claiming you quoted me “verbatim” yet you are trying to put words in my mouth that I never said, (or wrote in this case.) Keep saying it, and see if it becomes true with repetition.

    Your are talking about time value of money, something that is not fully relevant in this example because August sales are subsidized by the government and September sales are not, something you and FreedMike are missing in this debate. A government transfer of wealth always distorts the market, and causes bubbles. Now, September sales are bottoming out, and will be awful in the near future. Yet you are trying to say that because sales were great in August, the automotive sector is better off, then it would be if the program was never enacted. This was the debate, until you took it over with twisted words. These government bailouts, will never be stabilize the automotive sector, or the economy in general, yet you keep bringing up economic principled that are not related.

    There are two ways the government finances programs. They tax, taking money from the populace and transferring wealth to the program of choice, usually financing a bunch of government bureaucrats along the way to make it work. The second method is borrowing the currency from the Federal Reserve. They create this money out of thin air, and give it to the government, at interest, and resulting in more debt. This money creation devalues currency already being used by the populace, and leads to inflation which then becomes a tax in their own right, because now goods and services are more expensive. Unless you think that the government can create capital

    The reason I brought up Karl Marx, was that one of the main principles of Communism was the redistribution of wealth to make everyone “equal”. FreedMike was defending a government program where wealth was redistributed, and trying to defend it a “Business 101″. I replied who was your business professor, Karl Marx? You took too seriously, and as a personal attack on FreedMike, and stating that I was calling him a communist, and comparing me to McCarthy. Again twisting my words.

    You said, “Critique others based upon what they actually said, instead of strawmen that you decided to create.” Funny advise, since I never once twisted any words around, yet you twisted my words in every one of you rebuttals.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    You twisted my words around

    I quoted you directly, more than once. If you can’t stand behind the (incorrect) statements that you make, then that’s your problem.

    The reason I brought up Karl Marx, was that one of the main principles of Communism was the redistribution of wealth to make everyone “equal”

    Er, no. You brought it up because you don’t have good arguments, and your post make it clear that your knowledge of economics and finance is rather deficient.

    FreedMike got the finance concept correct; you did not. You’re just wrong, regardless of the language that you purport to speak.

  • avatar
    MBella

    So now you know why I brought up something. Man with your mind reading skills you should be able to find a better way to spend your time than arguing with someone on an internet blog.

    Posting the same thing 5 times still didn’t make it true, try some more.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So now you know why I brought up something.

    It was already clear. And you were still wrong.

    People who make statements such as “A government transfer of wealth always distorts the market” are ideologues, and are usually not particularly knowledgeable. Ideology is used as an excuse to not learn the subject matter; it’s easier to offer an opinion than to learn facts.

    There are good arguments against C4C. You didn’t make any. Instead, you offered a few bad ones, which revealed your lack of knowledge of the topic.

    Marx had no place in this discussion. You went for it because it’s easier for ideologues to call people commies than it is to offer thoughtful replies. That’s your fault, no one else’s.

  • avatar
    MBella

    So I’m an ideologue, but you are the beacon of truth.

    Oh wise one, what is the meaning of life?

    Since you are so distraught about me asking if FreedMike’s business professor was Karl Marx, I will send the previously mentioned business professor an apology e-mail for comparing him to the writer of the communist manifesto. Do you have his e-mail address handy?

  • avatar
    fli317

    This was a terrible waste of money, but really only the tip of the iceberg as far as wasting our money. We all elected this idiot into office and now we have to vote him out at our next opportunity. Lets just hope he does not do too much damage to our country.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    @fli317

    No, we finally GOT RID of the idiot, and his sidekick Darth Vader, and the whole administration of thugs and liars (who collectively, almost destroyed our country over the course of 8 years, and whose irresponsible fiscal policies and bad decisions almost brought our economy to the edge of collapse.)

    …and our choices in Nov. ’08 were between Obama and having an un-friggin-believable idiot (Palin) be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    Just to introduce you to reality, what we did there was dodge a bullet. You’re welcome.


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