Daily Podcast: No Sale
The second tranche of cash-for-clunker money could be approved as early as today, reports Automotive News [sub]. Not that there’s any suspense about how the vote will turn out. Whether it passes today or tomorrow, pass it will. The NHTSA’s program feels enough like a success to guarantee a re-up. And as psychologically motivated as markets are, sometimes feeling like a success is enough. But congress can’t be motivated by a mere uptick in overall dealer traffic alone. After all, our government is no longer a passive proponent of American industry as a whole: we’ve picked sides. And the teams we picked, namely GM and Chrysler, aren’t seeing any real benefit out of the CARS program. And remember, if the $3 billion worth of clunker culling doesn’t help our inept wards of the state, we’ll be looking at pouring at least that much directly into them. Again.
A more logical economic stimulus (which is the only purpose CARS really serves) would be a tax credit targeting drivers who "marry" their cars and have been driving the same vehicle for more than nine or ten years. These are the people more likely than most to be "in need" of a new car by mainstream standards. "Pulling forward" sales among these eco-Cubans who rarely if ever buy new would be a win win, since it's not really "pulling forward" in the conventional sense. And there would be none of this silliness of destroying perfectly good vehicles in the name of saving the planet.
Still need to work on that sound level differential. Herr Farago is still much, much louder than Herr Niedermeyer. Though I call myself non-affiliated, I still end up with fairly liberal leanings. Yet, I can't help but agree with you that I'm feeling shafted for making good decisions and angry that the Gubmint (for as long as I can remember) keeps changing the rules in the middle of the game. You'd think that living in Illinois with Rod "I'm detached from reality" Blagojavich would have desensitized me to this.