Your turn: Should more money go to ‘cash for clunkers’?

Over the past month, dozens of Biz Beat readers have commented on the government’s “cash for clunkers” program.

Well, here’s another chance.

The program is running out of money after only one week. A billion dollars is not what it used to be.

Should the federal government put more money into this program or not? What do you think?

Also, if you have participated in it, what was your experience?

36 comments Add your comment


July 31st, 2009
6:49 am

No. Say I have a car, 10 years old, excellent condition, 20 mpg, market value $1000. My fellow taxpayers will help me buy a new car – provided the old one is destroyed. This destruction will remove an old but reliable car from the market, and deprive a poor person of an opportunity to buy a sound vehicle for $1000. This program is wasteful and immoral.


July 31st, 2009
7:48 am

yes, obviously it is working.


July 31st, 2009
8:04 am

I agree with GB there, this stinks just like the housing thing did. Some people will end up with a car they couldn’t afford in the first place and then have none. My car is mine, it’s only 8 years old and I have no desire to have another large bill in this econmy.


July 31st, 2009
8:51 am

This is just the government playing “god” as usual. Instead of trying to control every single outcome in our lives, how about we’re allowed to keep more of the money that we’ve earned?

I’m fine with paying say, a 10% flat tax to fund the legitimate functions of government (defense, roads, education).

Right now most of us pay a total of around 40$ of our income to the government (if you throw in sales taxes, social security taxes, embedded taxes etc.)…so imagine supercharging the economy by letting people keep 30% more of their income.

This “cash for clunkers” is just a band-aid to the larger overall problem of the government taxing and spending itself into oblivion.


July 31st, 2009
8:52 am

That should read “40% of income” and not “40$ of our income”…I only wish thats how much we had to pay, hahaa…

Voice or Reason#1

July 31st, 2009
9:08 am

This was a STUPID idea. What a waste of money.


July 31st, 2009
9:14 am

So if they can’t handle this little program how can they handle health care reform. A much more complex and expensive process. This should be the end of their so called Health Care Reform.
Thank God this happened before they voted on health care.


July 31st, 2009
9:17 am

PS. They also didn’t get the results they were hoping for. People were trading in their old SUV’s for little Dodge Neons. They paid 10k for the neon get the $4500 then they sell the neon right back to the dealer or trade it in for 9k they just spent 1k to get $3500. They then turn around and use that $3500 to get that new SUV that they really wanted instead of some crappy economy car or a prius like congress and obama planned.

I need to be stiumulated

July 31st, 2009
9:19 am

This is a terrible program.

Another waste of tax payers money and the worse thing is that it directed at rich people.

Why do I say that? Because most cars that they consider clunkers are vehicles that get less than 15 miles to the gallon. If you look, these are work trucks and high end vehicles or SUV’s.

A real clunker is one that is on it’s last legs, older, and barely runs. These are the vehicles that people with less money or need more assistance would drive.

If they really wanted to help the “poorer” folk, they would have made it by the cars age. That would have opened it up to many people regardless of economic status.

Of course, it is a waste of my money and just another intrusion on my rights. I wish the government would stop spending my hard earned dollars this way and do what they are supposed to do…defend the nation and govern.


July 31st, 2009
9:23 am

Yet another example of a government program that failed. If the federal government can’t process the transfer of a used car from a dealer, how can we expect the government to handle our health care?


July 31st, 2009
9:27 am

GB, your hypothetical car (which sounds a lot like the car I’m currently driving, except 10 years younger) would not qualify for the program, since 18 mpg is the highest gas mileage that you can get and qualify. That being said, I agree with your main point.

I also fail to see how crunching a working older car and then encurring the ecological cost of creating a new one, no matter what the mileage, is a net benefit for the ecology. To the economy of the new car seller, sure, but you’re just fooling yourself if you think a 5 mpg savings in gas makes up for the ecological cost of building a new vehicle.


July 31st, 2009
9:28 am

It’s got to stop. If this bill is such a failure this early on, just think about the other stupid figures being thrown out. We have a serious money problem. It’s no time to be dropping money out of a helicopter. Besides, it’s just putting people further in debt by encouranging them to run up a car payment.


July 31st, 2009
9:32 am

Guys, surely you can’t be surprised.

We’re talking about a group of people, who if they were forced to work in the private sector, would barely qualify to clean toilets.

This includes our useless president and the morons working under him.

The solution, again, is a 10% flat tax, the elimination of every single entitlement program in existence, elimination of the criminal IRS, and ending foreign aid 100%.

This would effectively give everyone, and yes even the poor people, an effective increase of 30% in their “take home” pay.

Talk about boosting the economy, and even better, our freedom.


July 31st, 2009
10:25 am

What a bunch of whiners here. I don’t understand. All you people who are calling this program a “failure” need to explain. If a program is SO popular that it runs out of money after only one week, where’s the failure? I would call that wildly successful. Obviously none of you are car dealers who were crying into their cups just a week ago and who are saying this couldn’t have come at a better time. Obviously none of you are struggling families who are getting out from under a gas-guzzler that they couldn’t unload for love or money until this program came along. If the goals were to get gas-guzzlers off the road and stimulate car sales at the same time, how is it a failure? C’mon people, less negativity, more love!


July 31st, 2009
10:32 am

Why are people here calling this program a failure when it is clearly working? You may disagree with the philosophy behind it, but the goal was to stimulate new cars sales and get poor gas-mileage cars off the road. That is happening. The problem with the program is that is has worked too well and there is a backup on processing and the allocated funds are running out. The program is going to be increased, I predict, and with broad support. All this absolutism here about government interference has no popular support, and the election results showed that very clearly.


July 31st, 2009
11:00 am

They are saying it’s a failure because it was suppose to run through October and they only funded it enough to last a week. That is so far off the mark it isn’t funny. I could see it ended a week or two early due to funding being short, but just a week of funding?

And I don’t care how much you want to say this will help struggling families, that does make a nice picture, however, these families can NOT afford a NEW car. We make decent money and we have been debating if we can swing the car payment, still not sure. If the real goal was to help struggling families and reduce the gas guzzlers there wouldn’t be the age limit on the car, and you would be able to get a used car (they could do it still from a dealership). They would have also allowed the dealerships to use their own judgment on whether a clunkers could be resold to families in need or given to charity. Yes, some need to be retired, but not all of them.

I think most peoples point is this was a fairly simple straight forward program and they couldn’t predict (or come close) to what the funding needs would be. It doesn’t bode well for health care or any other programs they are working on.

And I predict a backlash, about 6-8 months down the road, repos on those cars are going to be higher than the norm. Some people like us who are on the fence about whether we can or can’t afford it finding out they can’t and have to let it go back.


July 31st, 2009
11:16 am

This program is a failure because it’s intended goals were not met. While it did a great job of stimulating car sales it did not get the cars they intended out on the road, per the car tsar’s goals.
More importantly it illustrated the failure of congress and the president to anticipate market conditions. When ever something comes in off budget (over or under) it shows incompetence. If they are estimating that they will only need 1billion for this but since people like free money it really should have needed 10 billion dollars. Who effective will they be at estimating how much health care will cost when it is free to everyone?
That is why this program is an absolute and total failure.

Borgman Ford

July 31st, 2009
11:18 am

Wow, I find it hard to believe how mis informed most are on this program. AH, once the car is traded in it can’t be resold. It is destroyed. The trade in value is the program $ amount.

Second, we gave 50 billion dollars to one automaker and it has not made one bit of difference in this econmy. This 1 billion has done more for the economy than the previous load of bail out money, so yes the program works.

I sell commercial vehicles for Ford. I have personally seen some pretty old, unsafe vehicles taken off the road and new ones have taken their place. That is awesome.

At my dealership I have done well in this program and can now replace the roof I have been holding off on. Now a roofing company will get business they would not have had, and their guys might get a little overtime, able to spend more.

Quite simply, the program works and is better use of our tax money than most things the government spends it on.


July 31st, 2009
11:18 am

The government failed because it was once again unable to run a government program, what else does the government control: post office (bankrupt), medicare (bankrupt), social security (bankrupt), Amtrak (bankrupt). Moron politicians should stay out of the private sector as they were instructed to in the constitution. The poor planning, poor implementation, and total chaos that surrounded the clunker program was disgraceful. And by the way, did you look at Obamas poll numbers lately – 48% approval and dropping! Finally, time to get back to reality. The only CHANGE politicians can make is for the worse! We are the only ones who can fix our lives and our country, not government intervention. How did so many Americans temporarily forget that? Thank god we are remembering in time to save our healthcare from their greedy hands.


July 31st, 2009
11:39 am

Sorry Borgman Ford you don’t understand. If I go into the dealership and trade my old car in for a cheap $10 k car. I get the max $4500 for my old SUV. My old car is destroyed so that no one can buy a cheap used car or get the parts later from a junk yard to repair their car.

Next I take my new $10 k car and $4500 and sell it in to the dealer that I just bought the car from for $9 k. I now have $3500 in my pocket. I then use that $3500 as a down payment on a new $30 k SUV. If it is the same dealer they cut out the middle step and just trade in the $10k and the $4500 for the new $30k.

Can you follow the math now? This pissed off the Queen because people still got the type of vehicles they wanted not the high mileage economy class cars that they wanted you to drive.

I don’t disagree that this did more to stimulate the auto industry than all the money they gave them. But then the unions wouldn’t have been able to get a controlling piece of the auto industry and the govt’ wouldn’t run them.

This Sorry Government NOT working for Americans

July 31st, 2009
12:33 pm

Like the banking industry, the car manufacturers, the health insurance, please let me put this to the point.

This sorry government is taking things they have no right to take. The constitution is simple. It gives them the right to take tax money for defense and roads and public safety. How does bailing out the BIG UNION, ACORN, GM, BANKS and now buying people cars qualify for that? Please tell me.

Oh by the way, most of these cars the government is buying with our tax money will wind up back on the street because they will auction them off and they will be sold again. MARK MY WORDS. There has never, ever, ever, ever been a government program that works. Its theft once again from the american people. The bailout money that Americans were against should have done enough. Dont throw good money after bad,



July 31st, 2009
12:42 pm

“Next I take my new $10 k car and $4500 and sell it in to the dealer that I just bought the car from for $9 k. I now have $3500 in my pocket. I then use that $3500 as a down payment on a new $30 k SUV. If it is the same dealer they cut out the middle step and just trade in the $10k and the $4500 for the new $30k”

If people are doing that, fine, nothing illegal. But they may regret it if gas goes back to 4 or 5 dollars a gallon. And I doubt it is very widespread. I’d love to hear from dealers on this. I know 4 people who traded trucks in on cars and none of them plan on selling or trading those cars. And even if they did they would be getting one that pollutes less, even if it got lower mileage.
Personally, I don’t really agree with the program, but it is better than just handing banks and automakers a bunch of money. TARP, for example, was supposed to purchase “toxic assets.” Instead the banks kept the money and the assets and the consumer got nothing. If the government shuts this program down after a billion dollars while banks got over a trillion, there will be backlash.


July 31st, 2009
1:00 pm

What I want to know is what does this program have to do with the Iraq War? That’s where the money came from, the latest war funding bill! No wonder they feel confident they can find another 2 billion dollars out of thin air.


July 31st, 2009
1:03 pm

blackbird13. You are absolutely correct. There is nothing wrong with doing this and it was much better than TARP and ARRA. because it but the money in the peoples hand and let them choose how they spend that money. But it illustrates how the government cannot crate sound legislation when it comes to people. That is what makes this program a failure.

This just cost 1B (for now). What happens when they do the exact same thing with health care. They will write something up thinking people will follow it how they want them to. Next thing you know people see something for free and use it as much as they want. They are estimating 2T for health care (with 1T in savings bringing the cost down to 1T). How likely are they going to be able to make this happen? They won’t. AND health care will be forced on everyone in America, where as the car program was completely voluntary. The cost will sky rocket way past their estimates.

They say they aren’t rushing it, that Republicans have been stopping reform since Thruman’s time. If they have had over 60 years of debate about it why is it that nothing was put to paper until 3 weeks ago? That is rushing it and they need to be stopped.

The Cash for Clunkers program should have been a wake up call for everyone. Congress just isn’t capable of managing programs.


July 31st, 2009
1:05 pm

wow there were a lot of typos in that last post is there an edit function here?

Sting 'em Buzz

July 31st, 2009
1:28 pm

How many of these new cars will be repossessed in 3-6 months? The administration must think that they are playing with Monopoly money. This $1 billion, and the proposed $2 billion more are coming from our taxes. I work in the auto industry so this program has me doing more work, but it is artificial and not sustainable.


July 31st, 2009
1:31 pm

“The constitution is simple.It gives them the right to take tax money for defense and roads and public safety.”

It says more than that:
Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

Note the phrase “general welfare.” That is a pretty broad term.
And it doesn’t say just “roads”
It says:
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

Of course, there are many things that the government does that are beyond the scope of the original intent of the Constitution, especially the monies that are given to countries like Israel, Egypt, etc.Practically our whole foreign policy is way beyond the original intent of the Constitution. However, those and other worms can not be put back in the can, so I don’t really see the point in arguing for original intent.

Sting 'em Buzz

July 31st, 2009
1:37 pm

AH, you will never see that $4500 in your hand. Your $10,000 Neon just became a $5500 Neon. Good luck finding a dealership that will give you $9,000 for that Neon. You lose 20% of the value of the car by signing the Title Application.


July 31st, 2009
2:21 pm

Again, I personally don’t agree with this cars program, but for those who are calling it a failure and comparing to a health plan that doesn’t exist yet, I think is nuts. If whatever healthcare plan that eventually emerges turns out to be as popular as this cars legislation and Republicans are on record as voting against it, then they might as well disband as a political party.
Oh, and an increase in funding for cash for clunkers just passed the House by a 3 to 1 margin.


July 31st, 2009
2:54 pm

AC33, GM bankrupt, Delta Airlines a few years ago bankrupt, Eastern Airlines history, Enron history, Bear Sternes history, Chrysler bankrupt. Get the picture?


July 31st, 2009
5:48 pm

This program is absolutely ridiculous and a waste of taxpayer dollars. But to clarify, unfortunately, you can’t actually accomplish the scam that AH is talking about. The $4500 never actually goes to the buyer. It goes directly from the government to the dealer in order to prevent us from exactly what AH describes. Sorry guys, good idea, but they already thought of it.


July 31st, 2009
6:53 pm

I believe AH was going on the theory of getting a car at 4500 off normal price, selling it back to a dealer and then buying a different car. But that would assume you are getting most of the value back.


August 2nd, 2009
11:24 am

This program was put into effect to help the environment: think about it it amounts to about 250,000 sales the car dealer gets taxed on the benefits… the consumer has so many restrictions revolving around the program requirements….dummy up…this program is just another government run consumer mind control BS ….do the math….look at it from all directions…it is just another cover up program to say that an incredible amount of money was directed to this program but that is not true…what is the money really being used for get out your magnifying glasses and read the fine print


August 2nd, 2009
1:11 pm

1) The clunkers are likely paid for. I’m going to guess they have to run to be traded in, therefore they still have value. The owners can spend elsewhere.
2) My guess is that most “clunker” owners are probably not the safest bets for these new unnecessary car loans.
3) I am curious what percentage of these “C for C” cars are back on the used car lots in a few months or years.
4) I’m not in the car business. I didn’t buy the clunker to begin with and I don’t want to pay for it now.
5) As far as I’m concerned, 2012 can’t get here fast enough.


August 3rd, 2009
12:29 am









August 4th, 2009
1:25 pm

Yes, they should definitely add M-O-R-E money! I have a clunker I’d like to sale. Come on somebody, buy it for a minimal fee and trade it in.