“Cash-for-Clunkers” Already Running Out of Cash?

The latest federal government effort to control consumer behavior, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in June but which didn’t go into effect until last Monday, July 27th, reportedly is already foundering.  According to the so-called “Cash-for-Clunkers” program (official name, “Cash Allowance Rebate System”), anyone who trades in an older model car, SUV or pickup truck for a new vehicle that gets better mileage, receives a taxpayer-funded rebate of $3500 $4500. 

The Brainiacs who conceived this program planned for it to boost US auto sales and help lift Ford, GM and Chrysler out of their doldrums.  Strange things are happening on the way to the pot of gold at the end of this government rainbow.  One conern is that while many of the vehicles being turned in are American-made vehicles, many of those being purchased with the rebates will be foreign, higher-mileage units.  Dealers are having difficulty deciphering the 136-page “instruction” manual; and they are not happy that they are required to remove the engines and transmissions from the vehicles traded in and to then transport them to junkyards.  The government’s website for the program apparently has already crashed.  Most important, however, government officials already are worried that the $1 billion in taxpayer monies appropriated for the “clunkers” program may be depleted so quickly that the program will have to be suspended long before its November 1st expiration date.

The stupidity of government programs designed to control markets and individual behavior, such as the “clunker”program, never ceases to amaze.  If it weren’t our own money being frittered away by such programs, it would be humorous.

80 comments Add your comment

David S

July 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

It is very encouraging that people are starting to finally understanding the negative impacts of government spending and waste. Would have been nice if more of you had spoken up during the past 8 years while you were cheering on Bush and everything he proposed.

They used to call me crazy joe now they call me the batman!

July 31st, 2009
4:38 pm

Vote buying???!! WTF!! I thought the subject was about CLUNKERS? duh!

(Igna Ramus)^(-1)

July 31st, 2009
4:46 pm

Man, first time reading this blog – there are some hateful people on this blog… Hey, republicans, guess what – Obama has been running things since January 09. He is merely repairing what got left over by good ol’ George Dumbya! Chill out, quit being such whiny little bitches. Don’t like Cash for Clunkers? Write your congressman! I’ve got a 95 and 05 Ford I don’t even plan on trading in b/c they’re such great cars, both American and both fantastic cars, built at Chicago Assembly!

So, do me a favor, all of you:

Wanna be a republican? Go buy a Camry, watch fox news and keep complaining – b/c you didn’t have the balls to complain about things when Bush was in office!

Wanna be a democrat? Go buy a Ford, watch CNN and enjoy government as you chose it!

My God you people make my head hurt!


July 31st, 2009
4:47 pm

The program should be called “Cash for UAW Clunkers” since tax payers are helping to pay for people to trade in their UAW low quality gas hogs. I really shocked that the UAW wasn’t able to get the program to only allow the purchase of UAW built cars.

and “Professor” The Liberal controlled government is trying infuse the economy (with billions of dollars we don’t have from working Americans that are already heavily taxed)to get us out of the JIMMY CARTER COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT-ACORN-BARNEY FRANK DEMOCRATIC-INITIATED RECESSION OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED CONGRESS.

the evil rich

July 31st, 2009
5:01 pm

Name ONE thing that the government does well that they are involved in?
Just one. End of argument.


July 31st, 2009
5:09 pm

New thinking is better. The only way to get out of the Middle East and their incestful problems is to stop our dependence on oil. If this will get guzzlers off the road, we will use less oil, which means cheaper oil, which helps us all — even the soccer moms driving alone, talking on the cell phone in their Sububans…


July 31st, 2009
5:09 pm

Spelling is extra

the evil rich

July 31st, 2009
5:25 pm

Jefferson, Here’s a NEW IDEA, maybe we should drill in Alaska or off the coasts of CA, FLA, NC, SC, WA, OR? I don’t mind seeing oil well platforms – they look fine in LA and TX. If you want we could paint them GREEN!


July 31st, 2009
5:49 pm

Just wondering! Is cash for clunkers limited to 1 vehicle per person or can dealers and salvage yards buy and sell at profits?


July 31st, 2009
5:54 pm

Is this an advance on 2009 tax statements? Or is this just free money for those of us who don’t qualify? I need to stop paying on all my belongings and maybe I’ll be saved by the Government.

Furlough the politicians

July 31st, 2009
6:48 pm

It worked for me…Between the ‘birthers’, ‘deathers’, haters and the ‘foxers’ there are some very bitter folks out there. The program is working and they want to complain about it, the economy is starting to turn around and they want to complain about that…Enough Already! Stop hating and let’s turn that frown upside down….


July 31st, 2009
7:31 pm

Spoke too soon. More money already has been approved.


July 31st, 2009
7:57 pm

The cashfor clunker program was initially a bipartisan idea. However, by the time the idiots in congress got thru with it, it was a 133 page bill with all kinds of limits and exceptions.
Yes it would be better to let us keep more of our income instead of re-distributing it.
DO YOU WANT THEM TO BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH CARE? Having spent a number of years in the Army, I can say a resounding NO!
The recession was not caused by Bush. It was the result of the idiots in congress( Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and others who forced the banks to make loans to those who could not afford them. The banks then got greedy and re-packed them and sold them. AIG insured them. Hence we ended up bailing out AIG. They contributed to Dodds campaign so he covered for them.
The current administration is bankrupting the country and putting massive debt on future generations.
The dollar is losing value internationally . I could go on and on, but it is depressing.


July 31st, 2009
8:20 pm

Is Bob Barr really wrong? Rea the direct quote for Q’s and A’s form cars.gov:

“…Can a dealer resell the traded-in vehicle?

The CARS Act requires that the trade-in vehicle be crushed or shredded so that it will not be resold for use in the United States or elsewhere as an automobile. The entity crushing or shredding the vehicles in this manner will be allowed to sell some parts of the vehicle prior to crushing or shredding it, but these parts cannot include the engine or the drive train.”


July 31st, 2009
8:23 pm

Is Bob Barr really wrong? Read the direct quote from Q’s and A’s from cars.gov:

“…Can a dealer resell the traded-in vehicle?

The CARS Act requires that the trade-in vehicle be crushed or shredded so that it will not be resold for use in the United States or elsewhere as an automobile. The entity crushing or shredding the vehicles in this manner will be allowed to sell some parts of the vehicle prior to crushing or shredding it, but these parts cannot include the engine or the drive train.”

gloom and doomer

July 31st, 2009
9:28 pm

The government is involved in the details and structure of the program. Is it any wonder it blows? The next step in the story will be the exposure of the corruption and fraud involved in the program.

I would also guess a large percentage of these fine examples of American ingenuity and design will end up in 3rd world countries or Russia instead of being mechanically euthanized.

godless heathen

July 31st, 2009
11:27 pm

It was reported that $96 million had been given to consumers in the CfC program. $1 billion was allocated and the program is broke. $904 million went to admin? Sounds about right for a government program. But government run health care will pay for itself through efficiency. Right, Obama? You got this.


August 1st, 2009
12:25 am

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Barr in this. This is the most absurd program I’ve heard of. Yet another government scheme to take money from working taxpayers and redistribute it to a few. This is grossly unfair and will do little to stimulate the economy. As Mr. Barr points out, it may be used to buy foriegn vehicles. In any event, it will accomplish nothing good and is a stupid idea. it seems we just can’t get anyone of intelligence in the whitehouse.

NR to tha' B

August 1st, 2009
8:05 am

It should be noted that we entered into the recession in late 2006…around the same time the Demo-rats took over congress.

Attention dumb-o-crats: congress controls spending.

Not the president.

Class dismissed.


August 1st, 2009
8:58 am

What prevents dealers from offering more than the government for a clunker?Deals will get done using the clunkers as trade-ins.If I bring in a $3500 car and get $4500 then the dealer is down $1000.Dealers can make that back in the total cost.Sell in-house financing and an extended warranty.Seems like Republicans are more creative with talking points than sales contracts.


August 1st, 2009
1:30 pm

You liberal idiots are just that, IDIOTS! Its good for the environment – are you kidding me! Just what the heck are they putting in those engines to freeze them up – WATER? No, something toxic to say the least! – Yeah that helps the enivironment! And just where are they putting those clunkers – up your @ss? No, in JUNK YARDS! Again – Yeah that also helps the environment! Just like those new lightbulbs that have so much Mercury in them, they can take out(kill) a small city! But you liberals say “Its good for the environment”
Liberals – just a bunch of STUPID@SS idiots!


August 1st, 2009
3:29 pm

I’m guessing if they ever audit this program, they will find rampant fraud. But hey, it’s only tax payer money.


Bill Kern

August 2nd, 2009
12:04 am

How is this thing any different from retarded crap like paying farmers to restrict crop production?

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

August 2nd, 2009
9:10 am

Or building useless weapon systems like the effin’ F-22?

Clunker Gone

August 3rd, 2009
8:29 am

I have been reading the bad press, the naysayers and the supporters comments. I am a gun toting, conservative constitutionalist. I traded my FORD Exploder (pun intended) and drove off in a new Honda Civic EX for 13,500.00 As an NRA member I received a discount from my participating dealer, and then traded a vehicle that got 14mpg, is on its third transmission, and starting to have all the problems of an American made car. My experience with Honda was pleasant, smooth and satisfying. I did try to buy a new Chevy truck, looked at a Ford, and was outright lied to by the local Dodge dealer. I surmise the real reason the auto industry is failing is that car dealers, car salespeople are so blatantly greedy, that they will do anything to earn a buck. Lie, cheat, bait and switch, tell you your credit is not good, etc. (I checked my score before, 750) I got the rate I wanted, terms I wanted, free floormats, a full tank of gas, mud guards and a hat.

The Ford people advertised F150’s for one price but then didnt have any on the lot. The Chevrolet dealer told me over the phone he had the truck I wanted on the lot, when I got there, they couldnt find it, then advised that the configuration I asked about couldnt be ordered. The Dodge people, well lets just say they should be working for organized crime with their strong arm tactics. Even Toyota had its share of problems. Their sales people coudlnt even find a Scion on their own lot.

The Honda dealer, had my car, well they had 5 versions, and I chose the one I wanted.

I went from 14mpg to 36mpg. My payment is less than my previous gas bill for commutting to work.


August 4th, 2009
11:13 am

New cars are great…the problem is dealing with the sleazeballs that sell them. Although not every car salesperson is a sleazeball…Bill Deitz @ Marietta Toyota is a shining exception to the rule.


August 5th, 2009
9:28 am

Bob, you old F***. Go back to Wyoming.


August 12th, 2009
11:00 am

In about 6 months the finance companies will be over loaded with vehicles that people can not afford. So I guess OBAMA will bail them out again, using our tax money.

[...] Oh puh-leeze, the Cash for Clunker Crybabies have just about pushed me to the limits. [...]


September 15th, 2009
2:17 am

Will be very interesting indeed to see how the auto industry in US holds up now that the Cash for clunkers program has ended. Australians will be watching very closely.