New York Times Launches Cash for Clunkers Class War

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Never one to miss a chance to put a left/right slant on, well, anything, today’s New York Times contains an editorial claiming that the Cash for Clunkers (a.k.a. C.A.R.S.) program is a triumph of the Obama administration over Republican naysayers/hypocrites/rat bastards. Blogger Timothy Egan begins by suggesting that C4C is a Republican-style economic stimulus thingie, then excoriates the elephant party for not loving it long time. “They hate it, many of these Republicans, because it’s a huge hit. It’s working as planned, and this cannot stand. America must fail in order for President Obama to fail. Don’t be surprised if the tea party goons now being dispatched to shout down town hall forums on health care start showing up at your car dealers, megaphones in hand.” Incendiary much? I’ll have mine with a side order of sarcasm, please. “But try to give struggling families a one-time boost to buy a more fuel-efficient car, with an amount that wouldn’t pay for paper clips at A.I.G., and it’s . . . outrageous!”

That said, like many on the left who hate big business with a passion undimmed and view industry-favoring legislation as evil, Egan is way conflicted. But you don’t write for the Times for eighteen years without learning a thing or two about wiggling.

I don’t like that big agriculture gets rewarded for monopolizing rural economies while stuffing nearly every processed food with the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. I was against giving $35 billion in federal help for oil and gas companies over the next five years, as Republicans advocated during last year’s campaign.

For that matter, I hate to see small independent book stores disappear from the landscape.

But Cash for Clunkers is a bare slight against free market chastity. It’s simple stimulus, caught up in a much larger system that’s always been there for the big money players, but holds a much higher standard for anyone else.

One should never let principles stand in the way of pragmatism. Apparently.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Geeber Geeber on Aug 10, 2009
    agenthex: Context is important. He wasn’t talking about “struggling families” via comparison to other families who aren’t struggling, he was comparing families (ie the little people) in general to corporate wealth (eg. AIG bonuses). Sorry, but that is quite a stretch. By that standard, virtually everyone with smaller cash reserves than a multi-millionaire is struggling. The simple fact is that struggling familes - as most people understand the term - shouldn't be spending their precious resources on a brand-new car, unless the government is virtually giving it to them. Perhaps the blogger should write more carefully and stick to the facts, instead of using hyperbole and looking foolish. agenthex: The main goal of economic stimulus is pretty clear, and consistent with similar programs already in effect internationally. That doesn't answer the question of whether it was successful or not. agenthex: A large number of posts above discuss this, so I’m not sure why there needs to be any more confusion. In general, repeating the same winger talking points is only effective if other don’t catch on. I don't see any of those posts listing new vehicle sales figures for October, November and December of 2009, so they have no idea whether this program really boosted demand or merely moved ahead sales that would have happened anyway. I don't know this; you don't know this; neither does the blogger - unless you have been consulting with Dionne Warwick. If so, please share her predictions with us.
  • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Aug 10, 2009
    The simple fact is that struggling familes - as most people understand the term It's pretty obvious the usage is what's called "figurative". If you don't like figurative language, that's fine, but you should be consistent and bitch to robert farago about it in all the ttac writing. - That doesn’t answer the question of whether it was successful or not. No, but it does answer the question of what the main purpose of the program is about which several people were having trouble with. This means it can be properly evaluated on its main purpose and not other peripheral goals. - I don’t see any of those posts listing new vehicle sales figures for October, November and December of 2009, so they have no idea whether this program really boosted demand or merely moved ahead sales that would have happened anyway. We know that it has increase sales significantly for now. That is its main purpose. Even in the "worse" case, where it moved sales forward, it has already served its purpose of leveling out too many peaks and valleys. In the likely event we get better results than the "worse" case, well that's just an excellent bonus, isn't it?
  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.
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