The “Cash for Clunkers” Catastrophe

Posted on August 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm by Andy Sochor

The governments “Cash for Clunkers” program has finally come to an end. But not before three billion dollars were spent and about 700,000 cars destroyed.

The destruction of the “clunker” is perhaps the greatest atrocity of this program. In order to get the $3,500-4,500 rebate from the government, the car that had been traded in had to be destroyed. A solution was run through the engine to kill it. No used car that could be sold. No engine that could be used in another vehicle. No spare parts. No, no, no! The government says the car dealers must destroy something of value in order to get the money (which many of them are still waiting for).

But what value could these “clunkers” really have? Actually, in many cases, we’re not talking about real clunkers – vehicles that either don’t run or barely do. These are functional vehicles that are still being used, and could be used by someone else after being traded in.

To destroy something of value, in the name of economic recovery, just boggles the mind. But that is what’s happening. Check out this video that was posted on The Heritage Foundation’s blog. It’s a video of  a useful pickup truck being taken out of commission. You can see similar videos there as well – Watch Barack Obama Destroy Our Country’s Wealth.

I know people who would be very happy to have a truck like the one in this video. But thanks to the federal government, no one will be able to use that truck, or any parts from it, ever again.

For all the “virtues” of this program – (temporarily) increased auto sales, (marginal at best) benefit to the environment – the nasty consequences were ignored. 700,000 vehicles were taken off the road – vehicles that could have been affordable used cars, or provided parts for existing cars, for cash-strapped Americans during this time of recession.

The government professes to be watching out for the poor and working class. Yet these groups are the ones getting the short end of the stick.


  1. Very good, Andy. I just saw where the big financial winners in this deal were Japanese and South Korean auto makers. So much for helping American auto makers. This proves that the cash-for-clunkers program was more about satisfying the environmentalists than helping American businesses.

    Comment by Tim – August 27, 2009
  2. I just learned that the “cash” of the “cash-for-clunkers” program is taxable. I’m sure people will be glad to hear that, especially those who were already close to entering another tax bracket!

    Comment by Tim Haile – August 29, 2009

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