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.