Our Pre-Owned Dollars

How about a diversion from campaigns and elections. Remember last years “Cash for Clunkers” program ? It provided up to $4500 to certain buyers who traded in a used car for a newer model on the presumption that the newer car would emit less polluntants (carbon). And oh yea, your trade-in had to be destroyed. How did that end up working out ? Well, firstly there is still a shortage of used cars from the program which means the average price of a used car is up about 10% from the pre-clunker period. And who does this hurt the most, you guessed it ,those in lower income brackets.

As many auto industry economists predicted, lots of cars were sold through the program. There were 700,000 cars purchased during the clunkers program, which was a net increase of 125,000 units over what would have been sold anyway. Now the program cost $3 billion in taxpayer money. Doing the math the actual cost per additional car of taxpayer money sold on the program is about $24,000.

Oh, oh, you’re not considering the savings to the enviroment some might say. Well, researchers at the University of California-Davis looked into that and concluded the cost of reducing carbon on the clunkers program was at least $237 per ton. For anybody nuts enough to purchase them, carbon credits sell for about $20-$28 per ton on the international market(s). The math is easy on this one.

And the Department of Transportation figures tell us that the new cars getting higher mileage will reduce CO2 emissions about 700,000 tons per year. Sounds like a lot until you discover that is less than Americans now produce in about one hour. And the estimated savings in gasoline use is about what Americans burn in 4 hours.

And our President had this to say of the program: it had “been successful beyond anybody’s imagination.”
I wonder what the results would have been had the program not been ” successful” ?

This is socialism at it’s very best.


  1. “This is socialism at it’s very best.”

    You can’t be serious. How does a 3 billion dollar taxpayer subsidized program designed to shore up an ailing private auto industry eclipse a 700 billion dollar taxpayer subsidized bailout of the private financial industry? Remember TARP? … it was implemented under the previous socialist administration.

  2. Randy in Richmond says:

    I don’t remember mentioning TARP or that the Clunker program “eclipsed” it. I did not support the TARP bailout nor will I defend it–but facts are facts.
    According to the non-partisian Congressional Budget Office, as reported in March 2010, the TARP bailout will actually cost $109 billion. The jury is still out as to the effectivenes of the program.


    The Cash for Clunkers program is over and the results are in. It cost taxpayers $24,000 for each car purchased on the program. Here is a list of the top ten cars purchased on the program:

    1.Toyota Corolla
    2.Honda Civic
    3.Ford Focus
    4.Toyota Camry
    5.Hyundai Elantra
    6.Toyota Prius
    7.Nissan Versa
    8.Ford Escape FWD
    9.Honda Fit
    10.Honda CR-V AWD

    And here is a list of the top 10 cars traded in and destroyed:

    1.Ford Exployer 4WD
    2.Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
    3.Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
    4.Jeep Cherokee 4WD
    5.Ford Explorer 2WD
    6.Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan
    7.Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
    8.Ford F-150 Pickup 4WD
    9.Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
    10.Ford Windstar

    Calling the Bush administration socialist is more than a stretch. The current President admits to being a socialist and has surrounded himself with many like-minded people. He’s comfortable with it so those that support him should be also.

  3. If a 3 billion dollar economic program is viewed as ” socialism at it’s very best”, then it seems to me that a 109 billion dollar economic program should be viewed as socialism at it’s very, very, best.

    Btw, what do you mean by “The jury is still out as to the effectivenes of the program”. The article you link to is pretty explicit as to the estimated cost to taxpayers: ” The Treasury’s [losses] on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will total $109 billion over the program’s lifetime, CBO latest estimates show. That’s up $10 billion from the agency’s last projection, released in January.

  4. Dan, are you new around here? There are some around here who aren’t good at detecting their own hypocrisy.

  5. Randy in Richmond says:

    As I said before, this post was about Cash for Clunkers. That program is over. TART is an ongoing program that may be continued again. In fact, TARP has already improved by $591 billion since your first entry earlier today.

    Stop trying to get me to defend TARP. I repeat, I am (was) against it. In real dollars we are taking a large loss. Percentage-wise and in real dollars Cash for Clunkers was pretty much a total loss, thus socialism at it’s best,while TARP appears to be about 85% effective. That’s huge for a socialist style program-thus a failure. Many call it a loan program.

    Grow up and learn to make your point without getting personal.