So How Much is that Old Rusted Government Worth?

Cash for Clunkers SignGood Evening All! I apologize for the unplanned evening off last night. I am currently down with my son visiting my father and grandmother. It is a trying time here. My grandmother is quite ill. We are down to that time when she can go anytime, and where every minute spent with her is precious. She had not seen my son (her great grandson) in 3 years. At the rate he is growing, that means she hasn’t seen him in about a foot and 40 pounds! She was amazed to see how big he has gotten (only 3 inches shorter than his dad now). Needless to say, this week is all about her. When she is up and lucid, I am there. That is not a plea for pity. Believe me there is no need to pity me. I have had my grandma for 40 years, and that is more than many get. And I have never missed an opportunity to see her or to tell he that I love her. So I have no regrets on my relationship with her. But it is meant to help you all understand why writing may be hit or miss the rest of this week.

But on to my topic for the evening! I have been chuckling all week at this “Cash for Clunkers” debacle the federal government, in all its wisdom, has offered up as a fine example of how they do things. For anyone who is not aware of the program, it is a trade in program the government came up with to help spur some life into the automobile industry while simultaneously converting some people out of the gas guzzling old cars that they have. Officially called the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), the program offered between $3,500 and $4,500 worth of rebates towards the purchase of a new fuel efficient car. Buyers of new cars and trucks that get 10 mpg better than their trade-ins get the $4,500 rebate. People whose cars get between 4 mpg and 10 mpg better fuel efficiency qualify for a smaller $3,500 rebate. The program was allotted $1 Billion and, according to the official website, was slated to run until November 1, 2009, or whenever the money ran out, whichever comes first.

Car DumpsterWell, whenever the money ran out came a lot quicker than the government planned. In just its first week, the program is out of money, and plagued with problems. In my opinion, this is evidence of both a vast success and a massive failure. According to which side of the aisle you sit on in Washington, the view seems particularly different.

First the success side of the aisle, the Democrat perspective. There seem to be no doubt that the programs achieved some of the intended targets during the first week. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the difference between the average mileage of new vehicles purchased through the program is 9.6 miles per gallon higher than for the vehicles traded in for scrap. LaHood also said 62% of the traded-in vehicles were trucks and “these people are buying cars that get much better gas mileage.” The government is claiming that the program has already been utilized for the purchase of over 250,000 vehicles.

So there is certainly some positive information out there. However, former FED Chairman Alan Greenspan noted that the automobile industry was already starting to see some positive signs and pick up even before the program went into place and started being used. However, Greenspan noted, the activity in the first week certainly shows what would appear to be increasing confidence in the state of the economy in general. The fact that folks are willing to spend money on vehicles, rebate or not, show a strengthening consumer confidence.

Rebublicans, as expected when referencing any program that Democrats passed over their objections, are much quicker to point out the failures and to use whatever they can to set up the table in a way that portrays government effectiveness in a bad way. The program has certainly given them plenty of ammunition. Burning through the entire initial budget in a single week certainly doesn’t show the foresight needed to press forward during tough economic times.

Clunkers SignAdditionally, the program has seen plenty of bureaucratic hiccups. The web-based network set up to allow automotive dealers to submit the needed paperwork has crashed several times already, and further showed the government’s inept abilities to handle a program using Ray’s EEE principles. Of course that didn’t stop idiot Senator Diane Feinstein from holding a press conference and saying that the programs seems to be “running very well.”

So with the money dwindling, Congress used their second most favorite word: Emergency (their absolute favorite word these days is “crisis”, their least favorite word in “Terrorist” 🙂 ) The House of (NON)Representatives moved quickly to infuse another $2 Billion in emergency funding into the program. The Senate at one point didn’t seem to favor passing the legislation for this emergency funding, but it is certainly looking as though they have found the support needed. Of course we have the ever liberal Republican Olympia Snowe from Maine jumping over the Democrat side on this issue. Some other key leaders have seemed willing to jump on board (I imagine ANY Senator will get on board if the price is right… But I digress).

Republicans want to slow this train down a little bit. And they have some solid arguments as to why. At this point the new money infusion would be taken from another amount of money set aside for energy initiatives, which means nothing more than Democrats feeling that this crisis is more important than the energy crisis right now. Fortunately for them, all politicians only have to say what they think right now. They are then free to switch opinions when the Cap and Trade Bill comes to their floor for debate.

I am quite skeptical of this program for a couple of reasons. I can see some of the successes that are coming from the program. However, as we all know, there is no such thing as a free meal from the government. And that means that these couple of billions of dollars will be paid for by our children and grandchildren. In essence, they feel it is little more than further tax burden on an already cash strapped Americans.

Jim DeMintBeyond that, I do tend to agree that this is just another way that the automotive industry is getting another tax payer funded bailout. And I agree with Senator Jim DeMint when he stated, “This is crazy to try to rush this thing through again while they’re trying to rush through health care, and they want to get on to cap and trade electricity tax. We’ve got to slow this thing down.” And I silently chuckled a bit when he pointed that the current rush being put on the further legislative funding is enough to make us wonder what is being hidden in there. There are many economists as well that seem to feel as though this will hurt more in the long run. Every dollar speny by consumers is money not saved, and that it will result in those who utilized that program to not have money to spend in other important things that would spur the economy.

So I am interested in hearing what everyone has to say about this subject. There are definitely some positive results that we have seen thus far. But I also don’t like the idea of “quickly” infusing even more of my taxpayer dollars into this program when it has already shown some signs of poor planning and unsustainability. I guess time will tell, as I am sure that it will get pushed through. And we will find that even more of our kids and grandkids hard earned money being thrown away.

Should we be throwing another $2 Billion into the mix? And just as important isn’t it conceivable that perhaps Congress needs to slow down and do things right rather than fast (something that they are apparently not capable of). And is it a sign of impending danger that they want it pass quickly? I certainly have not been pleased with the gigantic amount of things being rushed through all at once.

The most important lesson for Americans right now is in the failure of the “system” in place to support this program. If the government is going to screw up something as simple as the Cash for Clunkers program, why on earth would anyone this that the government is even remotely going to be able to do the health care stuff they want to have enacted.

But I like the idea of giving people trade in their old clunkers that were simply less efficient. The real question for me is when are people going to trade in this rusted out, poor efficiency government that we are dealing with. When they come up with a rebate that pays people upgrade to a better government, I will be there agreeing 100%…

Some links that I read when researching quickly to write the article tonight:


  1. USW, your grandmother and your family are in my prayers.

    Let me say right upfront that I am quite a conservative person. I am not, however, a republican. I do not support something because one group or another supports it, and I do not support the little D or R next to a person’s name. I support what I think it right and I oppose what I think is wrong.

    In this case, I think the CARS program is a good idea. I can’t for the life of me understand how our congress will spend hundreds of billions on wasteful projects and oppose $2 billion for good ones like this. This is a true stimulus, and is a help to a lot of people who can now afford new, more efficient cars. As far as people saving, I believe it is one’s own responsibilty to decide what they can or cannot afford and what they should save. Of course I also believe they should have to live with the consequences, which I don’t really see happening…

    $2 billion next to our deficit is basically nothing. That being said, though, we do need to be cautious in spending more money. I also think that the government tends to do a horrible job running things, which makes me wonder what else will go wrong with this program…

    So basically, I like the idea, with reservations.

    • As US pointed out, there are some positive aspects of this. It is still, however, a government giveaway…we have to pay for it. What about a program that would effect everyone…oh say a tax cut?

  2. JayDickB says:

    Seems to me this is one of the least harmful things the Dems have done, but it’s not good. The Government is still spending money it doesn’t have. It’s either borrowing or printing money, neither good. It is destroying servicible cars; destroying assets in effect. These are cars someone could use. The effect on national oil consumption will be negligible. The auto industry will get a short term benefit, probably at the expense of long term sales.

    Why are the politicians surprised that people flocked to get free money? They never cease to amaze me with their stupidity. They can’t see the effects of their actions any further ahead than tomorrow’s headlines. Moreover, they don’t care about long term if there is a short term benefit TO THEM.

    • It is easy for them to take from some and give to others…even if the take is coming at the expense of generations to come. It makes no difference R or D, and this just is another exercise in finger pointing by both.

    • “The effect on national oil consumption will be negligible. The auto industry will get a short term benefit, probably at the expense of long term sales.”

      I wholeheartedly I agree. This will be a burp in the overall recovery of the auto industry. It has helped people. My mother in law used it to trade a 99 Chevy Tahoe 4WD getting 10 mpg for a 2009 Nissan Sentra getting 29 mpg. She couldn’t afford another vehicle but this program helped make the payments affordable.

      Nevertheless, government interference in the market is ALWAYS a bad thing. Congress just can’t get it into their heads that there are good and bad consequences to every action. This uptick in sales is artificial, and therefore, is not a real improvement in the market for car companies. The market is improving but has been since May.

  3. If I had to choose between this program and others that are in the mix. I pick this one. Even with its faults, I think the concept is good and does help. I realize we are paying for this, because free money from the government is not free. But compared to the other stuff we are pushing, this has good bones to it I believe
    It scares me to death how fast everyone is trying to push through all the “new” bills.

    • We shouldn’t HAVE to picking which hair brained idea is the best way to spend OUR money. How about some fiscal responsibility and budget cutting for a change.

  4. Black Flag says:

    All government manipulation of the economy ends up badly

    …because it is a political, not an economic, decision.

    But this is not a hard sell to voters. Free money for stupid people never is.

    But the government had to come up with something, just to make the program seem economically legitimate. They came up with a $1 billion wealth-redistribution program to help the “little guy” buy a new car. He trades in his low-miles-per-gallon old car and gets a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate.

    The rebates are called “vouchers.” Whenever you hear the word “voucher” in the same sentence as “government,” put your hand upon your wallet and your back against the wall.

    If the new car gets 22 miles per gallon, and the old car gets 18 miles per gallon,the buyer gets a $3,500 rebate. If the difference is 10 miles per gallon, he gets $4,500. The rules are here.

    There are other restrictions. You must have owned the clunker for a year. It must be a low-mileage vehicle. There are a few other rules.

    There are rules governing the disposal of the clunkers. The engines must be destroyed. This reduces the supply of used cars.

    Poor people buy used cars.

    They cannot afford to buy new cars. The longer the cash for clunkers program continues, the lower the supply of used cars. Prices will rise.

    By ruining the most valuable part of the used car — the engine — the program subsidizes the scrap metal industry at the expense of the junk car industry.

    <i<The supply of parts will be reduced. Junk car yards serve the poor and repair services aimed at the poor.

    We are in a recession. Rising prices will exclude the poorest buyers. Rising repair costs will hinder them in trying to keep their clunkers going.

    The law was heralded as a way to reduce gasoline consumption. Right. There are 250 million cars in the United States. Now, to replace (say) 100 million gas-guzzlers by way of a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate per vehicle would cost the government $350 billion to $450 billion.

    Does anyone in his right mind believe that the marginal gasoline savings of as little as 4 miles per gallon per vehicle would be worth $350 billion?

    Only the voters, who are being told that gasoline savings are the reason for the law.

    The billion bucks ran out in one month. So, on summer recess day, the House overwhelmingly voted another $2 billion. The Senate will vote this week.

    Let’s see: if this bill passes, the government will have $447 billion to go.

    This is lunacy. That is to say, the bill will probably pass.

    There is no boondoggle too nutty for Congress to reject out of hand.

    The fiscal deficit is an estimated $1.8 trillion. Instead of watching every spending bill like hawks, Congress figures “What’s another $2 billion?”

    The magnitude of the deficits today is so great that there is now no resistance to further spending, all funded by government debt.

    This is hit and run of the poor. It is also hit and run either for future taxpayers or future investors in Federal debt, who will be stiffed by mass inflation. Then the rest of us will lose.

    There is no stopping Congress today. The last flickering traces of fiscal sanity ended in the election of 2004.

    This will be hit and run of the dollar. We can see the headlights moving toward us.

    Get out of the highway with your capital.

    (Thx to Dr. North)

    • Damn Skippy BF!! You know, there are about 320 million people in the US right give or take a few million. Since they’re giving away money for stupid ass reasons anyway, why not just give every person in the US $1 million cash and tax free as a one time payment?

      And before everyone gets done laughing their collective behinds off at my obviously moronic idea, just think. At the most, that’s about 320 million dollars. How much has our estinkin’ officials in DC spent so far on much stupider ideas? 😉

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


        Giving everyone a one time payment of a dollar would be $320 million dollars… giving everyone a one-time payment of a million dollars would be 320 MILLION MILLION DOLLARS or 320 Trillion.

        The current debt is around 12 Trillion depending on who you believe, so your proposal would make the debt 332 Trillion overnight.

        That would probably cause a loaf of bread to cost around $1250.00

        • Dad used to say (40 years ago) that if the government handed out a $ 100 voucher weekly for bread to every man, woman and child in the country, the only thing it would accomplish is to raise the price of bread next week to $ 100.89. Right on with your analysis.

          Take the whole thing a step further and you have the reason why Medicine and College are so expensive. The REAL price starts where government loans, grants and benefits end. Those of us old enough to remember a pre medicaid and pre college loan time remember what those services used to cost as a percentage of income.

        • Well!! Brain Fart of the year!! I guess everyone CAN laugh at my moronic idea! 🙂

    • Excellent BF! Too true.

    • Concerned in Michigan says:

      Your comments about the poor are the same things my husband and I were discussing recently.

      He also (sarcastically) suggested, “What’s next? A ‘Cash for Grannies’ program? That way you can trade in your old person whose medical and other costs are too expensive and get a nice, fresh baby instead. The baby’s cheaper – and will hopefully grow up to pay into the system.”

    • BF, it’s August. if you remember, I asked you a question relating to gold and August a few months ago. I’m waiting on the 26th and I’m as nervous as a cat in hot tin room full of rocking chairs… I’ve been watching the economic blogs and things look close to a tipping point, or maybe the dark flash pools will manage to keep things status quo for a bit longer (I’m thinking/wishing after Labor Day) . I expect things to move very quickly when they happen. There have been several articles relating to China and the dollar in the last few days…. There’s also rumbles of a ‘banking holiday’…. Once again, I am asking for your opinion. please & thank you

      • Black Flag says:

        Banking Holiday – possible, but only if something ‘happens’ somewhere else (like a huge failure of a multinational or a large bank)

        China – very possible. They have reduced their purchases of T-bills and are not likely to roll-over all the T-bills on due date. I will post about the China Syndrome on its own.

        Black October – there is a reason it always seems that economic collapse happens in October – it is a few weeks into the last Qtr. of the year. Harvest time – an accounting of the year’s effort – and when it looks, good – October is happy time – when it’s bad – its not good at all.

        Gold – all signs point to inflation. In perspective – as a measure of economic output – the amount of money the government is spending as a ratio of the economy is 5x larger than the countries that suffered hyperinflation in 1929. It is reasonable to place 1/3 of your cash assets into gold. One measure is, how much do you owe on your house? Buy enough oz. of gold as if gold was $7,500/oz. to pay off your house.

        When gold hits $7,500, pay off your house.

        I can only suggest listening to Jim Rogers (Singapore) and Peter Schiff. They both called the ‘implosion’ on schedule and on the “T”. If I had the capital, I’d follow them lock-step.

        • Thanks, BlackFlag. Speaking of Peter Schiff, have you seen this one yet ?

          I’m sending you thru zerohedge on purpose, if you have time, read the comments below — they’re getting bleaker and bleaker…

          I’m blessed in that my house is paid for (except for the annual ‘rent’ pymt), I have 20 acres of bare ground in the sticks. Been spending money at the grocery like a drunken sailor… I’ll be fine, God willing, just trying to hedge things to my advantage as much as possible… best to you & yours… c 😉

  5. My oldest works washing cars at a Honda/GMC Dealership. He said that you would not believe the cars and trucks that are being traded in. Everything from First class garbage to actual very nice cars are coming in in droves.

    I for one am against this federal giveaway program. I am against giving my hard earned tax money away to ANYONE besides me. If they want to give $4500 away then let them send me s check for my 4500 smackers.

    And I could care less who is for it. The (R) and the (D) after their names don’t mean sh!t to me. All of them except for maybe 5 or 6 are just alike and that’s only because those haven’t been there long enough.

    I have seen enough of my tax money spent. I have seen enough of my children’s and my grandchildren’s legacy thrown in the crapper because of our out of control government who seem to delight in finding new and inventive ways to spend money that doesn’t belong to them.

    Why don’t they just go ahead and admit that they don’t know jack about business? Or better yet, if we make it to 2010, we begin to show these assholes the flippin’ door. With a public foot in the ass for good measure. Then in 2012, if they haven’t gotten the message yet we’ll do it again. And again and again until someone starts to do what the people want instead of what they want.

    And for all of you out there who are happy with this spendorama our ‘tards in DC are having. Let’s wait a few years, you know, when we’re a third world country, owned and ruled by China, sold by Obama, and then let’s see how tickled you are with it! 😀

    • Esom, stop beating around the bush and tell us what you really think! I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying…being in Congress can’t be too hard of a job, hell I could easily spend someone else’s money!

  6. v. Holland says:

    I remember discussing a program where people could donate cars and they where fixed up and given to people who didn’t have one. Now we have bring in your car and we’ll give you money and then destroy the car. Can anyone say contradiction.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


      Government is contradiction, so there is no contradiction to the definition of government here…


      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Sorry… I meant V. Holland.. not Terry…

        Although the point about government and contradiction still stands 🙂

  7. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    This is:

    A: A way for the government to attempt to control what kind of vehicle you are allowed to drive (vehicles that are of a practical size for families are disallowed under this program).

    B: A way for the government to get people to buy GM and Chrysler vehicles… when the government now OWNS GM and Chrysler.

    C: A way to appease the Chinese by sending them all of the scrap cars to recycle into new steel and sell back to us at a profit.

    • I most especially like C: don’t you Peter? B’s not too bad either. I guess it would have been too obvious to only let GM and Chrysler do the CARS program wouldn’t it?

  8. The poor, even with a $ 3,500-4,500 rebate will not be able to afford a new car. Therefore, the money is going to the middle and upper middle classes. Fine as far as that goes.

    BUT! The cars being junked are fairly new and nowhere near as dirty as the 10plus year old clunkers driven by the poor.

    The poor would normally move up by buying the cars that are now being junked under the program. With these cars unavailable, the poor will continue to drive the worst polluting vehicles which, because they are aging, become even worse polluters as well as more dangerous. An unintended consequence?

    Lastly, if I were an unscrupulous used car dealer, I would be out there right now switching VIN numbers on wrecks with cars turned in under the program. But of course, they would never do that. Why, they wouldn’t do that any more than they would try to sell the cars drowned by hurricane Katrina, would they?

    • You are 100% right SK. The poor do normally buy the cars that are now being junked and will be forced to continue driving their extremely ratty gas guzzling, smog puking death traps. Not to mention the fact that now the “luckier” poor people who bought these now eligable cars aren’t going to be able to find parts to keep them running since they are being destroyed.

      Give it a few years, maybe months and you’ll start finding these cars abandoned on the side of the roads since parts are unavailable to fix them or if you can find them selling for mega $$$ which they couldn’t afford anyway. Of course this will stimulate the tow companies incomes since the states will end up footing the bill to haul them off.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        How many of these new car purchases are going to end up in repossession because even with the $3500 or $4500 “discount” many of the people that purchased these cars are not going to be able to afford the payments?

        • Afford the payments, insurance and all the other misc. expenses that new cars have. I foresee another bank bailout.

    • I don’t think any of us, even the mighty Flag, can guess all the unintended consequences of the cash for clunkers. An example, why are oil prices rising?

      CNBC Guest Host Explains How TARP is Driving Up Oil Prices

      • Black Flag says:

        Oil prices are up due to a 26% increase in demand from China.

        Oil is down today – and is expected to fall as over-supply begins to make its way through the USA. There is about 600,000 extra bbl of inventory.

        Oil prices, though, primarily reflect uncertainty of supply. The war drums around Iran have increased lately, with Israel and the USA having an urgent order of bunker-busting bombs.

        • Damnitall Flag!!!

          Why did you have to go and ruin a perfectly good conspiracy theory? Was the main point of the story not about TARP money being used for commodities speculation? I don’t recall that being its intended use?

        • “China’s economic growth accelerated in the latest quarter to 7.9 per cent over a year earlier, up from 6.1 per cent the previous quarter, as Beijing’s 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus pumped money into the economy.” – Joe Mcdonald, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

          So they’re not hording it but actually need it.

    • I wonder just how many were not “sparked” into buying but merely took advantage of a rebate on a vehicle they were already going to get?

  9. First of all USW, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Not pity my friend, just caring about you and yours.

    We have the same thing going on here in Reno as well, but here are stipulations before they make any deals with anybody. If your car is worth anywhere from $3000 to $5000, they won’t deal with you. They are looking at cars that are only worth about $300 to $500, and they really have to be clunkers, not something that still has that new car look to it. That’s what they said on the news anyway.

    I’m not sure if this plan is good or not to tell you the truth. I see it as a way for them to be more of less forcing you to get rid of your SUV’S or family cars and getting these little tiny cracker boxes that you can’t fit anymore than 2 people in. And what about safety, doesn’t that count anymore? What about when you have a really bad snowy day? OOPS! You can’t go anywhere because your new box won’t go in the snow, not unless they make them with 4-wheel drive to them. I will not get rid of my car because of government telling me I should. I drive a 1995 Chevy Lumina, and it’s a darn good running car. Had the engine rebuilt a few years ago, all new brakes, isn’t a gas guzzler, gets good mileage, and besides, I like it. I even call her LULU. Just another way for them to be running your life, is the way I see it. I could be wrong, I don’t know.

  10. More false altruism from Washington. This one is genius though because it a) gives away “free” money to people, b) redistributes wealth, c) saves the environment, d) stimulates the economy and e)was voted only a(relatively)small amount of money at a time so no one can complain. Brilliant. A politicians dream program.

  11. Funny thing is, if people put the pencil and realized the offset to the cost of fuel compared to making payments and insurance they would think this deal stinks. The only way this could be of a benefit is if you were going to trade anyway. You can make lots of repairs and buy lots of fuel for the 400-700 per month payments….I am keeping my clunker and my $$

    • Off topic, but I thought you would find of interest.

      Keith Oberman,the MSNBC host also shamelessly tried to use Senator Ted Kennedy’s illness to suggeset that Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, a centrist Democrat from Arkansas, should feel guilty about her role in forcing more liberal Democrats to compromise. Olbermann: “Senator Lincoln, by the way, considering how you’re obstructing health care reform, how do you feel every time you actually see Senator Kennedy?”

      • And in addition, that old bastard ain’t and would not be on UHC even if we had it. The Liberals have knocked that amendment down several times already. Once from My Rep. in the House, Phil Gingrey.

        Seems what’s good enough for us, ain’t going to be good enough for our Congressmen.

        Looks like either Olberman doesn’t know what he’s talking about or more likely the SOB is trying some scare tactics of his own.

        I personally don’t care if that old bastard Kennedy dies or not. But that’s just me. One more old fart out of Congress, and a few years too late. But I’m hard hearted and cold anyway when it concerns them. They don’t care about us, why should we care about them?

      • Actually Teddy would never have made it through the “end of life” consultation. In fact, I would love someone to ask if Chris Dodd, with his cancer diagnosis, would qualify for any treatments under the plan or just some pain relief.

        I know they would not be on this plan, but I’d love to see someone publicly ask.

  12. I myself am one of the Po’. I couldn’t afford a new car if they were giving $9000. As a matter of fact, if they were a dime a dozen, all I could do is run around in a circle and holler “that shore is cheap!!!” Did I mention I was Po’?

    So, having made that clear, this deal is nothing but another government way to unload some of those cars for the 2 new car companies they bought for us. (that we didn’t want)

  13. I didn’t like this idea from the beginning. Just another freebie the government is putting on the backs of the working class. My husband and I restore cars as a hobby and get alot of our parts from wrecking yards. Pickins are getting mighty slim at the wrecking yards and we’ve had to start ordering parts off the internet at more than double what we were paying at the yards, not to mention shipping costs on top of it. Classic cars are becoming a rich mans toy.

    My sister is a huge conspiracy theorist and she is convinced that the computer chips in the new cars are so Big Brother can monitor your every step. She has a 76 Ford F250 that she will NEVER get rid of for that reason alone. Some days I have to admit she does have a point that makes you think when you start looking at entire scheme of things going on today.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they do start to put computer chips in cars as another way of keeping track of you, and where you go and how many miles you’re driving so they can tax you on it.


      • Yup…thats what I’m thinking too Judy.

      • Bad thing is these chips can be used against you in a court of law…Talk about infringing on the 5th.

      • Black Flag says:

        They already have chips in almost all new cars. They record the last 20 seconds of the performance of a car in case of accident.

        These chips can be used in court as a defense of the auto manufacture in claims of equipment failure and against the driver if speed was extreme or control was lost.

      • Black Flag says:

        Further, if you have “On Star” – you are already being tracked. It reports your postion to On Star constantly, and On Star can remotely disable your car.

        • Black Flag says:

          ….and auto lock the car doors so you can’t get out of the car.

          • v. Holland says:

            Can’t you just hear the scary background movie music when you read the above-it’s too bad all this isn’t just a scary movie

            • Maybe it really is and we don’t realize it. Now, that would be scary, wouldn’t it?

      • Start putting chips in cars?? Lojack…Onstar… They’re already there…they just aren’t using the technology for that purpose…yet.

        • Sorry BF…didn’t see your post when I replied.

        • Black Flag says:

          That’s alright, Texan.

          More confirmation, the better.

          But, yeah, they know where you are by your cell phone too.

          Oh, and if you didn’t know – even if your cell phone is off, its still on. They can listen to your conversations even if the phone is off.

          If you want it really off, you have to pull the battery.

          • That’s OK. I don’t say anything I wouldn’t say to their face anyway. We still have freedom of speech.

            So Far.

          • Kristian Stout says:

            Have you watched the movie Eagle Eye? That movie is about exactly what you are describing.

            • Not yet, was on the other night, but was not a good night to watch it. It was on one of the movie channels we get. Too much was going on at the time.

              Heck, I still haven’t seen the Notebook, and that’s been on several times. MY sister brought it up with her so I could sit and watch it without anyone being at home to bother me, but that hasn’t happened yet either. I hear I would need a box of kleenex for that one.

  14. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    The other brilliant aspect of this is the government decided that it was going to “give away” 1 billion dollars by giving 250,000 people an average of $4000 towards the purchase of a car…

    Of course, they forgot to calculate in what it was going to cost to ADMINISTER the program… which will likely run upwards of 100 million easily….

    • They are already running into alot of down server times due to sooo many dealers sending in forms. Ya gotta wonder how many of these were sent in AFTER the cash ran out. I’m betting they need to finance this further to cover sales that have already gone through.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Also, if the population is 320 million, lets say (for the sake of easy math) that 250 million of us are of legal age to drive. They planned on giving an average of $4000 to 250,000 people, which is about 0.1% of the driving population, so yeah… they underpredicted demand a bit…

      Even if only 1% of drivers wanted to take part in the program, that would have been 2.5 million drivers, and a 10 billion price tag (PLUS the administration costs)….

      If 5% of all drives took part, that would be 50 billion plus administrative costs… you get the picture 🙂

  15. The one thing I haven’t heard about this deal is, don’t you still have to qualify with a bank to get a loan? Then if you do, then there are those who won’t be able to do this clunkers for cash deal. I can’t imagine they’re going to sell cars to any Tom, Dick or Harriet without qualifying for a bank loan first. And another thing, don’t still run a credit check? Just been wondering here.

    • Is there any reason why a car dealer would not apply the rebate as the down payment? If so, they could get the customer in a deal, without the purchaser having to put any money up.

  16. Far Traveller says:

    Speaking of slipping little totalitarian gems into our government’s SOPs, check out
    Glenn Beck’s Proof Positive that you can effect change at

  17. I think its been proven, that welfare causes a rise in poverty, creating a class of people dependent on the government. I don’t suppose our government is seeking to expand the number of people either supported or subsidised by the government.

    Out tax dollars buying the corrupts re-election?

    • I’m sorry to say this, but you think. If you got paid for not working, would you? They get food stamps, welfare checks, free medical, and in some cases, pretty much free rent too, well maybe not completely free, but pretty close anyway. This administration as far as I can see, are making more and more Americans lazy, with guess who picking up the tab for them.

      Sorry if I sound sarcastic there, didn’t mean to. Just speaking my peace.


      • S’alright Judy. I personally would rather work, but that’s me. My momma and daddy raised me better than to be sorry. I’d go bat doody sittin’ around all day.

        • Yea, you and me both. Even though I just work 4 to 5 hours a day, if I had to stay home and do nothing, I’d think I go fruity toots myself there.

      • Judy, Esom,

        I’m with you both, but the question is this the beginning of a future government entitlement program? Will welfare Cadillac’s become a reality, paid for by the taxpayers? The government expanded welfare with the stimulus act, and is planning to extend un-employment again.
        Funny true story, yesterday we offered to take a part-time worker to full time. He refused, while drawing un-employment, he qualified for a HUD loan, so if fully employed, he would lose that, may have quit today.

        • Here’s another story for ya.

          When my youngest son was big brother in the big brother, big sister program a year ago, the boy’s mother, even though was working a full time job, only had to pay $300 on her rent. The government picked up the rest. But she couldn’t have a very expensive place either, no more than I think $900 a month total.

          Her ex husband was in prison for possession and wasn’t going to get released any time soon, or so she thought. He got released, for about 2 weeks because he broke his probation, and guess what for, yep, same thing. The job she had wasn’t a very high paying job, so she went to the welfare office and told them her plight, and they told her she qualifies for the program. She has 2 kids to raise on her own, because he ex can’t stop with the drugs. She doesn’t want to be on welfare or get food stamps or anything from the government, but she can’t find a high enough paying job to get off of it. She can’t collect child support because he ex is still in prison.

          She even drives a small used car, one she can afford, some little pill box of a car that barely fits the 3 of them.

  18. Black Flag says:

    In “The Essence of Government,” Doug Casey concisely summarizes all a reasonable person needs to understand and accept about the institution of government saying:

    Government sponsors untold waste, criminality and inequality in every sphere of life it touches, giving little or nothing in return.

    Its contributions to the commonweal are wars, pogroms, confiscations, persecutions, taxation, regulation and inflation.

    And it’s not just some governments of which that’s true, although some are clearly much worse than others. It’s an inherent characteristic of all government.

  19. Sorry for the intrusion on today’s topic, but I thought maybe you all would be interested in this one.

    Got this off the Drudge Report, and thought I’d put it in here.

    The White House-Blog Post-Facts Are Stubborn Things

    There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control personal finances to end life care. These rumors often travel below the surface via chair or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, they are asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

    There you have it, Now they want us turned in for bitching about their health care plan. Now, I suppose they will come knocking in your door because we are against his stupid health care plan.

    Come and get me Obama, I dare you.

    • Far Traveller says:


      Perhaps they should be given want they are asking for. What might the result be if enough concerned citizens email ’em back all the “fishy” elements of their “health care” plan. Bury them in their own filth. Nothing those personality types hate worse than having their collective noses rubbed in their own deceit.

      • Far Traveller says:

        Sorry about the typo.”want” should be read “what”.

        • I think the whole thing is just ridiculous anyway. I guess now they are going to have computer spies out there going on all the sites and reporting them. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  20. Well, now if this isn’t amusing!

    These environmentalists are whackballs. They can’t ever be made happy. New bumper sticker “Fertilize and save our soil, bury an envoronmentalist”


    • Hey G

      I like the new bumper sticker, sounds good to me.

      Doesn’t matter what it is, they always have something to complain about. Heck, my car gets 24 mpg now and it’s a 95. Just another scam by the government.


      • Her’s another one, “If WE stop Working, YOU start walking”

        Sent the e-mail as well


  21. Despite attempts to the contrary, this will destroy what’s left of the auto industry if it gets enough money put into it.

    The only people taking advantage of this program, are people who would be buying new cars anyway ($4000 off of a new car price of $15000-$20000 still leaves a price much higher than any used cars, so it won’t be stealing that market directly). Thus the program gives the appearance of growth and health in the auto industry, when all it’s really doing is bringing forward future demand into the present. Once the program ends, new car sales will dry up for possibly years.

    Moreover, as has already been pointed out, the destruction of the trade-ins reduces the supply of used cars (which manufacturers (ie: government-owned GM/Chrysler) would love as they make their bank on new car sales), distorting that market as well as the other secondary effects on the repair and scrap metal markets already pointed out.

  22. theyields says:

    In my Tract The Age of Turbulence: Plea for a New Economic Order, I explain the nature and causes of economic depressions.

    A turbulence in fluid mechanic is a chaotic state of a liquid. It Owns Most of the Proprieties of The Liquidity Trap, Origin of The Crash, it is a filled with Random Phenomenon and Discontinuities.

    It proves that after the inflation of the Mother of all Asset Price Bubbles the ominous fate of this economy is Keynes’ Liquidity Trap.

    Its consequences are a new, bigger Crash causing, this time, a real Great Depression II.

    That bipolarity of the Market is the problem an person who is irrationally exuberant, as any psychiatrist would tell, is unable to understand that he will necessarily fall in a deep depression. He just doesn’t want to hear the warning no matter how many times he had that experience.

    What do we do Before The Crash?

    Preparing for the Crash, The Age of Turbulence. Proposes a strategy to profit from both the Irrational Exuberance and from the Crash.

    Using the yield curve as a predictor that strategy covers Treasuries, Corporate Bonds, Minerals (Oil, Precious Metals and Base Metals.) and Stocks.

    Its aim is to profit from both the Asset Price Bubble and Irrational Exuberance and The Crash and Economic Depression that will necessarily ensue.

    It tries, and for the time being very profitably, to accomplish Alan Greenspan Mission Impossible:

    “That is mission impossible. Indeed, the international financial community has made numerous efforts in recent years to establish such oversight, but none prevented or ameliorated the crisis that began last summer.

    Much as we might wish otherwise, policy makers cannot reliably anticipate financial or economic shocks or the consequences of economic imbalances.

    Financial crises are characterised by discontinuous breaks in market pricing the timing of which by definition must be unanticipated – if people see them coming, then the markets arbitrage them away.”


    The clear evidence of underpricing of risk did not prod private sector risk management to tighten the reins.

    In retrospect, it appears that the most market-savvy managers, although conscious that they were taking extraordinary risks, succumbed to the concern that unless they continued to “get up and dance”, as ex-Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince memorably put it, they would irretrievably lose market share.

    Instead, they gambled that they could keep adding to their risky positions and still sell them out before the deluge. Most were wrong.”

    Alan Greenspan
    The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World [Economic Order?].

    That Strategy Will not Any More be Available to the General Public as of September 1st, 2009. However the Members of My Networks Will Still Have Access to It & Will be Regularly Updated. Join My Networks Now!

    The Yield Curve – Plea for a New Economic Order.

    But what do we do After The Crash?

    I propose a plausible alternative solution to the Depression: I designed a System that will allow us, when The Crash will come, to get out of Credit Based Free Market Economy, Capitalism, and transfer to my Adjusted Credit Free, Free Market Economy and Abolish the FED:

    To participate in our new economy you need to Enter Your €5 in The Cra$h R€gi$t€r Before The Crash – It is Fr€€!..


    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

    It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice.

    But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.


    A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a public register, facilitates such assemblies. It connects individuals who might never otherwise be known to one another, and gives every man of the trade a direction where to find every other man of it.


    A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows and orphans, by giving them a common interest to manage, renders such assemblies necessary.”

    Adam Smith
    June 5th, 1723 – July 17tn, 1790
    An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
    Inequalities Occasioned by the Policy of Europe.
    March 9th, 1776

    The Tract Will be Published on September 17tn, 2009. It Will be Withdrawn from the Internet on September 1st, 2009. Buy Now The Tract Now!

    You will certainly enjoy my popular articles:

    Ron Paul vs. Bernanke.

    Ben “Systemic” Bernanke.

    The Yield Curve – Plea for a New Economic Order.


  23. Does anyone know when JAC gets back? Just curious.

  24. The Tract Will be Published on September 17tn, 2009. It Will be Withdrawn from the Internet on September 1st, 2009. Buy Now The Tract Now!

    You will certainly enjoy my popular articles:

    How can something that will be published after it is already removed? Might want to get your facts straight.

  25. Black Flag says:

    What do Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, and Harvey have in common? Well, they’re named tropical storms that occurred by August 3rd. Eight of them.

    Except that it wasn’t in 2009. It was back in 2005. The map above is from 2005, too. The journalists would tell you that the hurricanes would always be like in 2005 – maybe because of global warming.

    Except that we have moved on. It’s 2009 and we don’t hear that the current hurricane score symbolizes the future trends. The reason is simple. The number 8 in 2005 dropped to 0 (in words: zero) in 2009. The total damage, fatalities, and ACE has been zero as of today.

    So much for another AGW claim….

    I honostly do not understand our reps. We are so far in the hole we can’t pay for what we have….but we add more debt.

    • This government it worthless. But they’ll just keep on spending and spending and spending. Heck, they’re going to wear out the money printing machine before they’re done.

      • They are putting 400 billion for a new printing machine, in the next so called stimulus bill!!!

        • Oh please tell me you’re kidding. They are going to spend money in making a printing machine, so they can print more money? Now, I’ve heard everything.

          • BTW G, I answered your E.


          • I hope I am joking, buy I just laughed the most i’ve laughed in quite along time, and I really needed that. Not at you , but how simple this could become talk radio stuff, like tomorrow! I can here (even though I don’t listen) to Rush going off on this on the radio. The thought just overwhelmed me with laughter. You really made my day a better one, thanks.


            • You are quite welcome. Now, you had me laughing about Rush doing that on his radio show. But think about, just how stupid that sounds. Making a printing machine to make money.

              I wonder if we can do that too. You’d think they notice much?


              • OOH, OOH G I just thought of something. I hope they keep planting those trees so they don’t run out of paper to print that money on. The way they’re going at it now, they just might run out of paper, then what will they do?


                • Might put the paper mills back in business.

                  • I was just being silly I guess after what G and I were discussing.

                    Well AMAZED, I am off for the night.

                    Have a good night, and will talk with younagain tomorrow. Take CAre.


        • Time for some intermitent sleep, night all.

  27. Hey BF

    What do you think about that new thing the white house wants to do? About more or less reporting people to them if they don’t like the new health plan.

    I asked you earlier what is your take on that, but you didn’t get back, so now I’m asking again. Curious to know your answer. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of you know what.


    • Judy I think it is funny…maybe everyone needs to send one of those sign at the bottom emails and forward all the names to the White House. If they ever figure out we really do not want this maybe they will move on to something else. Like fixing all the programs we already have that are so bankrupt.

  28. USW, my thoughts are with you and your family. I hope I can follow your example when the time comes in my own family. Lately I have been slacking on that.
    Also, I have missed this site, I will try once again to get heavily involved.

    Cash for clunkers is a horrible program for the following reasons, some of which have been touched on already, particularly by BF.

    1) As has been repeatedly pointed out, it is a giveaway using taxpayer or inflationary (and therefore taxpayer savings) dollars. It is more money that the government does not have.

    2) It is encouraging debt. Much like the 8,000 dollar new home buyer rebate, this program is pushing people into new cars that can ill afford them. The lending practices have not improved, as was expected when the banks are bailed out. When you remove the consequences, you remove the effectiveness of the lesson.

    3) It is creating a push for new car sales now, which is likely to lead to a lull later, since people who would be buying a new car in the next 2 years are pushing their timetables. With a high percentage of new cars on the road, there will be a significant lull later. This is merely meddling in the market, rather than allowing a proper recovery, we will have a sudden boom and then a bust later, one that we may not be able to bail the car makers out of next time, or, even worse, we will bail them out. Again.

    4) As BF mentioned, it is reducing the supply of cars, a fact that will impact most heavily the poor, since the old cars are being destroyed rather than resold. This will affect those seeking cheaper transportation, and it will affect the younger crowd whose parents cannot or will not buy a new car, making transportation for teens and young adults harder. Of course, with the new minimum wage hikes, they won’t be employed anyway, so I guess that’s no big deal.

    5) It is reducing the supply of parts, making parts for older cars harder to find or forcing dealers to manufacture them. Either that or older cars will be more expensive to operate. This will impact those less able to afford their transportation costs as well as businesses who actually utilize larger vehicles. Since SUVs and trucks are the targets, businesses who actually utilize the functionality of those vehicles will see an increase in repair costs with the new lack of used parts.

    6) It is highly ecologically unsound. With the highest portion of “carbon footprint” and resource usage in the life a car being the manufacturing of the car, this program is not particularly “green”. Making a new car is a huge use of resources, and since the old vehichles are being scrapped, and the total supply of cars reduced, the amount of resources and energy consumed in making new cars will have to increase. The savings in gas mileage is not likely to offset this increase in ecological impact.

    7) Much of the new sales generated are not only going to “bail out” car makers, but it is going to foreign cars, making the taxpayers essentially pay for a bailout of a foreign car maker. The only U.S. car maker to show an increase in sales was Ford (they are the only ones who deserve it), but japanese cars are seeing sales increases as well. I am no protectionist, but my tax dollars funding this program should not be furthering our trade deficit as well.

    8) Because the car is being destroyed, the entire rebate is paid by our taxes. There is no suplementing the funding by having the value of the old vehicle. This means also that you lose the value of your trade-in. This is a loss for some, and at least a removal of value from the economy by destruction of property.

    The whole thing stinks, its too expensive, its bad for the environment, and the positives are all temporary and have bad side effects. Sounds like par for the course with this government.

    • That smiley face was supposed to be an ‘8’ and then a ‘)’. I like it the emoticon tho, it gave some levity to an otherwise serious subject. 🙂

  29. Hi there. I recently started reading when I saw a number of my Facebook friends are reading.
    I happen to have a clunker I love and I’m not trading it in. I think it’s probably greener for me to keep it since I hardly ever drive the thing anyway.
    I am bothered that your sources for your article are: 1) Fox news 2) Fox news and 3) Fox news. And that’s just not going to give you a good diverse picture of what’s going on in Washington. Neither would MSNBC, MSNBC, MSNBC.
    I believe this program is a great investment of American money because we already own part of some of these car companies. So the clunkers incentive is in part to get Americans to help get OUR car companies back on their feet, to help get OUR workers back in the factories, and to take old cars polluting the roads off the streets. (BTW, only the engines are being destroyed. The rest of the car can be used for used parts.)
    Thanks all for an intelligent discussion venue here. I hope to come back more often.

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