Was ‘cash for clunkers’ worth it?

It’s time for the post-mortem.

With the $3 billion “cash for clunkers” program winding down tonight, do you think it was worth doing?

On one side of the coin are those who say the devastated auto industry needed a boost. What’s more, consumers got rebates of up to $4,500. And the environment will be better off with fewer gas hogs on the road.

On the other side are those who say this program is just robbing from future sales, so the long-term effect will be negligible. They also say there will be a very limited environmental gain, and it will come at too high of a cost. Some dealers also have been critical of the pace of the government’s reimbursement to them.

So, in the end, what do you say? Thumbs up or down?

63 comments Add your comment

Lisa

August 24th, 2009
11:57 am

yep used it..

P

August 24th, 2009
12:06 pm

One thumb up, and one down. You pretty much summed it up in the article.

I will say I was opposed to it because they used tax payer money.

fildawg

August 24th, 2009
12:08 pm

complete waste of my money – AGAIN!

Cathy

August 24th, 2009
12:19 pm

Should have thought about a 2-tiered rebate system, with higher rebates going to purchasers of American-brand cars.

Eric Hinkle

August 24th, 2009
12:22 pm

It was not doing from the standpoint that it will have absolutely zero sustainable positive impact on the economy. It simply accelerated purchases for some buyers, and added to our national debt.

However, it was worth doing from the standpoint that it confirmed the federal government’s complete ineptitude at managing even such a simple giveaway program. And now they want to take over our much larger and more complex healthcare system? If the cash for clunkers fiasco helps to convince voters that ObamaCare is a bad idea, then it was worth every penny.

TOM BOYLEN

August 24th, 2009
12:28 pm

MY GOSH,
GOVERNMENT BAILED OUT THE INDUSTRY (SOME OF THEM) THEN TURNED AROUND AND PAID THEM TO SELL THEIR OWN PRODUCTS!! THAT IS TOTALLY OUT OF BALANCE. WE , AS TAX PAYERS CANNOT CONTINUE TO PAY OFF THE DEBTS OF FOOLISH SPENDING AMERICANS……………..

buddy's mom

August 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

my husband and i both used the cash/clunkers program. He had planned to buy a new car when his jeep cherokee gave out and that was close to happening.. I had not planned to do anything with my dodge intrepid but the govt trade in was much higher than I could have traded-it in under normal circumstances or have sold it on my own. The car I bot has a great warranty (60mons/60K)and with the additional rebate, I bot it for far less than I would have otherwise. With the sales tax write-off on our taxes this year for any new car, we feel as though we got somehting back from the govt after facing alot of taxes over the past 20 years. Definitely two thumbs up.

Koz

August 24th, 2009
12:42 pm

I don’t approve of using tax money to buy cars for individuals but, since it was there, I used the program only to recoup some of my tax dollars. I disagree that it robs future sales. I would never buy a new car given the option to buy used.

judy

August 24th, 2009
12:57 pm

tHUMBS UP! I couldn’t use it myself because my two OLD vehicles were already good on gas mileage. I did donate those ‘clunkers’ to the local fire and rescue to practice dealing with vehicle fires and/or extrications…Jaws of Life. So I did get two new gas-stingy vehicles anyway. If the program isn’t perfect, doesn’t fix the economy totally,or doesn’t cure global warming from excess emissions from smokey old cars…so what. We got a little something for our money…a little boost to the auto industry and a little relief for the environment…not like the BIF FAT NOTHING we got for bailing out banks and mortgage brokers, who were just plain greedy.

barbara

August 24th, 2009
12:59 pm

Wonderful program. I would not have gotten $4500 on a trade in for my 1998 Ford Expedition. I was very pleased with the way the program worked. I am really enjoying driving a vehicle that is not draining me at the pumps. I take my hat off to the government for this wonderful program.

Pay Back Will Be A B*tch!!!

August 24th, 2009
1:00 pm

Nothing Is For Free…We Will Pay The Price For This Allowing And Supporting This Decision, I Guess They Figured That The’ll At Least Let Us Enjoy Ourselves By Letting Us Look Prosperous With New “Car Notes” That Are Owned By Our Lenders,,,(Unless U Paid Cash It’s Not Your Car Yet) Offering Us More Ways Of Going Into Debt As A “Country”…Our Children Don’t Deserve The Mess We’ve Put Them In, Another Shame Created!!

Scott

August 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

It will be interesting to see if the media tracks this (if possible) in some manner to see how many loan defaults occur from people who really weren’t able to afford a new car (even w/ the incentives). There are shades of another great “incentive” initiative that the federal government sponsored – i.e. low sub-prime rate mortgages that allowed many people (coupled with lax loan requirements), who truly weren’t able to afford the “American Dream”, to somehow qualify for mortgage loans. Obviously, this is a different situation, but hopefully the banks/commercial loan firms kept a much better check on this.

Sting 'em Buzz

August 24th, 2009
1:29 pm

horrible program plain and simple

Thumbs Down

August 24th, 2009
1:30 pm

How does this program benefit the people who already bought fuel efficient cars? That’s right, it doesn’t. Why is the government paying people for having made bad decisions with their car purchase? Make no mistake folks, the President is trying to push his agenda here, not trying to help end the recession.

Koz

August 24th, 2009
1:52 pm

I give it a thumbs down too, but your statement – “paying people for having made bad decisions with their car purchase” – I take exception with. My clunker was bought as a used truck in 1994 when gas was cheap and there weren’t many fuel efficient choices. It lasted me 15 years and was still running when I traded it in. I hardly call it a bad decision.

electrician

August 24th, 2009
1:54 pm

waste of money, just bailing out people who bought the status symbol SUVS and got stuck with them when gas prices went up.

electrician

August 24th, 2009
1:55 pm

Koz..you got your monies worth..stop justifying

poo to u

August 24th, 2009
2:03 pm

You people are all a joke. If it benefits you then taking tax payer money is ok. When it doesnt benefit you then its not right.

The Constitution forbids the spending of taxpayer money on personal or charity for public disposition. Why dont some of you actually look and see the limited power the congress actually has. It might turn a head or two.

Karl Marx

August 24th, 2009
2:10 pm

If you measure it from the perspective of forcing your neighbor to supplement you car purchase it was successful. However the lack of customers visiting showrooms over the next few months will show all this did was entice customers to buy early. The only people who will benefit are the ones who got the government handout. The dealers and the manufactures are in for a long dry spell and people will be putting off buying to see if the government will do it again. This plan will be proven to be a typical government disaster.

kevin

August 24th, 2009
2:12 pm

Well it’s impossible to say what future sales would have been without this program. Certainly the greater part of sales for this year (for those who already owned a ‘clunker) have already happened. Missing are only those with their heads stuck in the sand, poor planners, those who are too wealthy to care, and those who should care, considering their financial situation, but are in that financial situation because they are the sorts of people who show up 10 minutes late to a free lunch/happy hour/what-have-you and tend to pay full price.
Long digression.
The idea for the program was good–but what a mess. Dr. John Tantillo has a marketing blog on which he publishes a weekly brand winner/loser post – one from a few weeks back named Cash For Clunkers the brand loser because the program wasn’t thoroughly thought out–unclear rules and regulations as far as eligibility, and a failure to foresee just how high the demand would be. “A great sales promotion is ultimately a Brand Loser if it´s not guided by solid brand management.”

Nancy

August 24th, 2009
2:16 pm

Thumbs down! Why should I pay myself (use my tax dollars) to go buy a new or used car? My husband and I couldn’t use the program. He was laid off in March, and is trying to find a job. No sense in adding to our problems when our vehicles are already paid off. The gas mileages we get with our vehicles are above what the government requirement for the new cars are now.

bigred

August 24th, 2009
2:16 pm

Based on the response,yes.But let’s just look back…What if instead of giving all those billions to the BIG THREE in the beginning which they just PIZZED away being the money pits they are,they instead offered say $10,000 to each buyer? Not only would they have moved inventory but people would have seen real savings on already over priced vehicles! The proverbial two birds with one stone comes to mind.It might have actually stemmed the bleeding long enough for them to get their collective sh-t together and GM would not now stand for GUBMIT MADE!

Will

August 24th, 2009
2:37 pm

Thanks to everyone for giving us $4500 of our $12,000 the government wasted with the stimulus act.

DJ

August 24th, 2009
2:49 pm

It seems and is very apparent that many posters don’t understand economics or business. The purpose of the program is to keep automakers in business, which in turn keeps other suppliers, down to raw material suppliers, in business. This in turn keeps people employed, which in turn keeps people in their homes, which keeps the banks in business, who then allows the loans for many of your homes, education, etc. Stop complaining. No matter what the administration does, just admit that you won’t like it because you just don’t like Obama. Furthermore, everyone who’s working is working is receiving more money in their paychecks (if you’re within that tax bracket)… Which is considered stimulus. I bet most of you people consider yourself intelligent, but please look at the big picture instead of listening to Glenn Beck who is now losing money from his sponsors for his lack of intelligence. Have a great day.

BG

August 24th, 2009
2:58 pm

THUMBS DOWN!

steaddyB.

August 24th, 2009
3:03 pm

With three trillion dollars of taxpayer money burnt in Iraq what is three billion to spent in our own country to help our industry get out of the hole the former Administration put us in?,thousand of people will benefit from this program, so all you haters why don”t you all go down to Iraq and try get back some of the money that was wasted there, instead of criticizing what they do here to help the economy get back on foot.

steaddyB.

August 24th, 2009
3:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Fred

August 24th, 2009
3:05 pm

With available units on the lot that qualified, the imports were the ones who benefited the most.
Chrysler, had been shut down for 6 months, GM nearly the same, and Ford cut back production, leaving only the Japs with lots full of cars they could qualify.
For related info, note the Jap, and German economy reviving at a faster rate, The Germans also benefited from a “cash for clunkers” program initiated in Europe, that put their factories a full year behind in production. How many American units were sold under the European program?

Fred

August 24th, 2009
3:09 pm

DJ, what this program did was get everyone who could buy, into the showroom and hopefully sent home with a new car, no new buyers, just the ones who were already going to buy anyway.
For the rest of the year, there will be empty showrooms, and lots, until the factories catch up, then the lots will be full of the same unsellable cars they had before.
We need affordable, economy cars, not gas guzzling 500 HP cars and trucks.

Joe Junk

August 24th, 2009
3:11 pm

Thumb up in that it warns us once more that the government can’t run anything successfully but the military. Thumbs down in that one must consider the environmental impact of the destroyed cars. These cars engines and major parts can not be reused either. Instead of using an existing car, energy is used to build a replacement (or a replacement for the replacement). If it was a boon to the auto industry, why are dealers happy its ending and where are their government payments? Finally, once more the taxpayer has no control over how their money is spent.

DJ

August 24th, 2009
3:13 pm

Fred, I don’t disagree with your point. In fact, I find that very valid. But, it’s up to the people who go to the car lots to make the decision about the type of vehicle they buy. That’s what’s America is all about right…. People being able to take whatever information they have and make a decision about how they want to apply it to their own lives.

To DJ

August 24th, 2009
3:14 pm

DJ,
According to your logic, if Obama started putting his enemies in front of firing squads, and someone objected, it would only be because they didn’t “like” Obama.
PLEASE learn to think a little deeper instead of being totally ruled by your emotions!
Thank you!!

Some Other Mike

August 24th, 2009
3:41 pm

Thumbs down. I can’t recall whether the difference in EPA rated mileage had to be 3.5 or 4.5 MPG, but the ‘rebates’ were far too much, and too simply designed.

Not impressed

August 24th, 2009
3:41 pm

Hooray! A bunch of people whose cars were paid for now have car payments!

Tomhere

August 24th, 2009
3:45 pm

We could pay for at least a MONTH of the (illegal, based-on-republican-lies) OCCUPATION OF IRAQ.
That way the money is going to HALLIBURTON and not to law-abiding, pro-American car companies.

Kassie

August 24th, 2009
3:46 pm

I agree with DJ and the fact that TO DJ compared putting someone in front of a firing squad to the $4500 given for the cash for clunkers is ridiculous…apples to oranges….

DJ

August 24th, 2009
3:59 pm

To the person who compared a firing squad to my comment proves my point exactly. People who only see things their way try to use extreme examples to prove a point, but that one was not effective. In fact, I would disagree with him then. Actually, I agree with some of the bills implemented and some I don’t. Has nothing to do with emotions. I make my decisions based on facts. Emotional decisions get you in more trouble. Thanks.

Amy

August 24th, 2009
4:10 pm

Cathy – I disagree. Not all American brands are made in the U.S.A. while some foreign brands are actually made in U.S.A. by Americans. Take Toyota for instance.. they have a plant in Kentucky. It’s staffed by Americans. Isn’t Kia a foreign brand but now has a plant here in Georgia that is employing hundreds of Georgians? Just because something isn’t an American brand doesn’t mean its not American assembled. The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are made in Mexico. We should focus on companies that provide AMERICANS with jobs. Not necessarily on something that is assumed to be American made.

One other point I don’t understand is how trucks were included in the deal? That’s not fuel efficient. It should have only included cars with at least 30 mpg.

Mutts-R-Stupid-especially-journalism-majors

August 24th, 2009
4:16 pm

No, it was not, because it was a benefit to car dealers only. All the sales were made at near MSRP, and we all know no one actually ever pays MSRP except in the case of shortages for hot cars, of which there were none prior to the federal pecker head rebate. So the whole 4,500 buck federal pecker head subsidy went entirely to the profit of the lying thieving scum bag car dealers.

Seth

August 24th, 2009
4:17 pm

Thumbs down… too few restrictions on what types of vehicles qualified. Replacing an old truck with a giant SUV that get’s only slightly better mpg is not a success in my book.

Bob Thompson

August 24th, 2009
4:27 pm

This was another complete waste of taxpayer money, just like the stimulus package. Obama and his Democratic controlled congress has no clue how to efficiently run government and I don’t think they care. They spend money on projects like the economy is a grand game of Monopoly, never understanding or caring that a day of reckoning is coming for this country and for our children. This administration is a total fiasco.

David S

August 24th, 2009
4:33 pm

Of course not. They stole money from some americans and gave it to others and destroyed perfectly good automobiles in the process, thus driving up the price of used cars and related parts.

You cannot say that any program is productive if all it does is transfer resources from one group to the other.

Government is a failure and this program was just another example.

Everyone who benefitted financially is just a thief, plain and simple.

BR

August 24th, 2009
4:37 pm

buddy’s mom….you need to go to school and learn how to spell bought (bot). Those are the typical people who used this program and it is yet another waste for the Obama adminstration. Keep wasting the tax payer dollar Obama. Why not throw in another $4 billion…what the heck. Oh, maybe your health care plan will bring more illegal immigrants into the US. Why wouldn’t they come, FREE health care. I say send all sick illegal immigrants back to Mexico to get there health care. Nah, let’s not do that because it saves us tax payers money and you wouldn’t want to do that. Hope you’re enjoying your $100,000 1-week vacation with your family on our bill. Can’t wait til your term is over!!!!

Steve C

August 24th, 2009
4:38 pm

No one squawked over the gigantic amounts of money given to the largest financial institutions in the nation, but a relatively paltry $3 billion enabled a lot of buyers to get a much more efficient vehicle for quite a bit less than sticker. Which one of you saw a benefit from AIG being bailed out? Not many. However, I know that I personally traded a 1998 Isuzu Trooper with 199,600 miles on it, and it averaged about 13 mpg. I bought an 09 Kia Optima that should average 25+ mpg, which in turn will cut my fuel consumption in half. Oh, and I have been paying federal income taxes for 25 years, and I finally had a chance to recoup some of it. I think anyone that is SO against the program had a vehicle that did not qualify. I for one am glad that some of the insane spending by the administration had a visible, positive impact rather thatn disappearing into Citi and BofA’s vault.

OneChris

August 24th, 2009
5:05 pm

Thumbs Up! Next let us do the same for appliances! That would be so awesome.

Ben

August 24th, 2009
5:10 pm

BR, typical irrational response. I’m sure you attended several townhall meetings over heatlh care didn’t you? Just admit that nothing Obama does will please you. You’ll feel a lot better. This has been a wildly successful program. Sorry to see it go.

Goverment &#@'s

August 24th, 2009
5:10 pm

THUMBS UP !!!

Well for some of us who has money to spend and a job your doing pretty good now and days. Buy a house get $8000.00, buy a car get $4500.00.

THUMBS DOWN !!!!!
For them and everyone else pay more taxes in years to come.

G.O.

August 24th, 2009
5:17 pm

I can’t help but wonder how many people bought cars they can’t afford just because the gov’t said “Here’s an additional $4500 off a new vehicle” then the dealer got them financed on a 7-year loan with a nice interest rate so it looked like they could afford it. The same way people let THEMSELVES take on crazy mortgage amounts and loan terms. I’m not saying that fits everyone. I was just wondering. I’ll stick with my paid for ‘99 Maxima (qualified clunker!) and not extend myself financially when who knows how else the government is going to spend my money in the future. I’d give the program 2 thumbs down.

High school grad '09

August 24th, 2009
5:22 pm

I know I’m young and just completed high school this past May and a freshman in college. But I didn’t learn this was the correct way of government spending. Obama and some other government officals must have missed the week when the lesson was taught how the government budget was managed and why money just can’t be grown on trees (as my dad calls it when I wan’t more allowance)

Hank Ferina

August 24th, 2009
5:27 pm

Bail out the auto industry and the banks and then pay people to buy their products and get loans from the bank. What a concept. Do you think Obama will subsidize my business?