Cash for Clunker's Charity Squeeze

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Charities have been some of the loudest opponents of the Government CARS stimulus, voicing fears that it would cause car donations to plummet. “It varies by market, but there’s been an 11 to 12 percent drop compared with last year,” Volunteers of America VP (vehicle donations) Jim Hartman tells Reuters. “We started seeing it right away in July.” VOA and The Military Order of the Purple Heart each typically receive 40,000 to 50,000 vehicle donations a year. Purple Heart estimates its C4C losses at $105 million over 24 months. Hartman tells Reuters that a bill is pending in congress to increase vehicle donation tax credit caps to $2,500 from the current $500 limit.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • No_slushbox No_slushbox on Aug 18, 2009

    re: Slocum: Can you imagine the screams if the government was bulldozing older affordable houses to stimulate the construction industry? Actually it is: "And what HUD is doing here is part of a national policy to destroy public housing and replace it with this euphemism of mixed-income housing, which is translated for the people who live there, means they take conventional public housing, destroy it and then allow about 10% of the people who used to live there to come back, but it is a great bonanza for developers, for real estate people, for banks, for construction groups and the like. The public housing in New Orleans is actually some of the most structurally sound property that we have in this entire city [it was not flood damaged]. And the attack is not really on the buildings. It’s not really about the housing. It is an attack on the people who live in the buildings." I'm not saying new public housing should be built, but demolishing old, structurally sound public housing and creating more homeless people is just going to create more social problems and costs. But it helps developers. There are issues when public housing ends up being in prime real estate areas, but that is not the case in New Orleans, the torn down housing will probably end up being vacant land.

  • John Horner John Horner on Aug 18, 2009

    +1 no_slushbox The old tax rules were a scam. People wrote off the most optimistic possible retail value of their donated vehicles while the actual charity often received but a small fraction of that value when they resold the vehicle. It was like getting to take a $1 tax deduction for only donating a quarter. I'm glad that rule was finally fixed.

  • Jordan Tenenbaum Jordan Tenenbaum on Aug 18, 2009

    I vaguely recall FDR doing something similar with a pig slaughter in order to reduce the surplus. And to think that people thought Obama was a socialist.

  • GS650G GS650G on Aug 18, 2009

    I took advantage of the car donation to get rid of my crappy pickup and keep some of my hard earned money at the same time. The car deduction was one of the last great middle class tax write offs. We can't do interest on personal loans, cars or anything but mortgages anymore, can't write off medical unless it's more than 7.5% of income, can't deduct expenses related to work like companies can. Sure there was fraud in the system. Does anyone think there isn't fraud in government? So what if someone tanks the beater car and gets around 15%(in real dollars) of what he claimed for it back in taxes. Big shit. Most people only did it once and that's it. Realistically most of the time the dollars back on the refund were in line with what it was worth on ebay anyway. No one made a living at it. But heaven forbid the working people get a free lunch once in a while. They might spend their huge windfall on something useless like food.