One Clunker of a Program

3 Minute Read

With Cash for Clunkers now in the past, we can sit back and ask the question: Did it work?

It’s a question that takes all of two seconds to answer: No. Absolutely not! The Cash for Clunkers experiment was a disaster.

From the beginning, Dave said this thing was a bad deal. It’s not a good idea for broke people to trade in old cars for new cars with payments. It’s not good for the lender, and it’s certainly not good for the car owner.


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Dave was the lone voice saying "No!" to this program. He was suspicious of the program from the beginning, and he actually received a lot of television interviews because his view was so unusual at the outset of Cash for Clunkers.

But a lot of people didn’t listen, and many people dove right in. They got caught up in the hype, the promotion, the opportunity to get " free money." They listened to all of the news media, and they jumped in headfirst.

And now, according to an article in AOL Auto, more than 17% of Cash for Clunkers buyers are regretting their decision. Compare that with statistics that say, under normal conditions, 6–8% of car purchasers suffer from buyers’ remorse. So, basically, the program created twice as many regretful buyers.

But that’s not the only problem. All along, we heard how Cash for Clunkers was going to promote better fuel economy and a greener environment. At first glance, the program succeeded: The average fuel economy reported by Cash for Clunkers buyers increased from 16.3 to 24.8 miles per gallon.

That’s nice. But it turns out that new car buyers like to drive their new cars—a lot. In fact, they will put 61 additional gallons in their new ride during the first year—just because it’s new. So instead of gas consumption dropping as a result of the program, it actually increased. Just another flaw in an already flawed program.

Let’s face it: Cash for Clunkers didn’t work. The economy hasn’t been stimulated, we’re not greener, and nobody won.

Cash for Clunkers, much like its name, was one fat clunker of a program. Yet again, the politicians tried to be the heroes and, instead, they look like morons. And, yet again, the government makes us wonder when they will ever just leave us alone.

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