I hope that the Senate doesn't pass the additional $2 billion up for vote this week for the Cash for Clunkers program. Despite the "incentives" provided for trading in your old car for one that gets better gas mileage, this program is not designed to benefit either the consumer nor the environment. Cash for Clunkers, or CARS, is designed to benefit the automobile industry at the consumers' expense.
When I first heard about the program, I was genuinely excited. I couldn't wait to get in line to trade in my clunker and receive a $3500 -$4500 voucher for use toward purchasing a new vehicle. Then I did a little homework. I discovered that in order to qualify for the voucher, one has to buy a brand new car, not just a newer model. Unless you have a cool $20k laying around, that means saddling yourself with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. How is that benefiting the consumer? Its not. As a nation of persons facing massive unemployment rates and debts and mortgages we can't keep up with, I think we've learned first hand the dangers of overextending our credit.
And get this- no matter what condition your older gas-guzzling vehicle is in, it's going straight to the crusher. A condition of the program is that you agree that your vehicle will be scrapped. Even if you trade in a relatively new car in decent condition, shebang. How does this benefit the environment? It doesn't. One could argue that by getting that old gas guzzler off the road, we are effectively using less gas and thereby saving the planet. But crushing a perfectly good car is a waste of resources when you think of all the materials that went into making all of the components for both of those cars, inside and out. Not to mention the amount of fossil fuels used to ship all of the various components from around the world to the manufacturers.... Cars don't grow on trees, you know.
So if this program is not benefiting either consumers or the environment, what is it good for? Its good for pouring billions of dollars directly into the automobile industry- while funneling more money that way in the form of naive consumers who think they are doing their part to save the planet, reduce reliance on foreign oil, and help out their pocket books. I would rather see us funnel billions of dollars into better public transportation that could reduce traffic, emissions, and our reliance on oil. Cash for Clunkers is just another big industry bailout, and I'm not buyin' it.