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The Affordable Clunkcare Act

The Affordable Clunkcare Act

Hey, remember Cash for Clunkers?

We sure do, we wrote about it frequently and predicted negative unintended consequences:

Seth Mandel at Commentary Magazine has an update, Speaking of Failed Big-Government Programs…:

The ongoing debacle that is the administration’s rollout of ObamaCare has reignited debate about technocracy and big-government liberalism. But Democrats who worry that their mode of coercive politics will be discredited by ObamaCare should be thankful it took this long.

A very well-timed reminder of this arrived yesterday from the Brookings Institution. Scholars at the left-leaning think tank analyzed the so-called “Cash for Clunkers” program, the 2009 “stimulus” program intended to get cleaner cars on the road by providing cash vouchers for those who trade in older gas guzzlers and buy newer, more efficient cars. The administration patted itself on the back when the program ran out of money, apparently pleasantly surprised that people took free money during an economic downturn. But Brookings confirms that this was, of course, a terrible program. Here are their major findings:

  • The $2.85 billion program provided a short-term boost in vehicle sales, but the small increase in employment came at a far higher implied cost per job created ($1.4 million) than other fiscal stimulus programs, such as increasing unemployment aid, reducing employers’ and employees’ payroll taxes, or allowing the expensing of investment costs.
  • Total emissions reduction was not substantial because only about half a percent of all vehicles in the United States were the new, more energy-efficient CARS vehicles.
  • The program resulted in a small gasoline reduction equivalent only to about 2 to 8 days’ worth of current usage.
  • In terms of distributional effects, compared to households that purchased a new or used vehicle in 2009 without a voucher, CARS program participants had a higher before-tax income, were older, more likely to be white, more likely to own a home, and more likely to have a high-school and a college degree.

That last part just seems like pouring salt in the left’s wounds. Not only was the program a massive failure, but it was also, by the way, a taxpayer-funded subsidy for white homeowners–just in case the left reached for an “inequality” or race-based argument in a desperate attempt to shut down the debate on the program.

 We have seen the future, and it is The Affordable Clunkcare Act. 

Or Clunkcare for short.

(Featured image source: YouTube)


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Almost forgot about this early nonsense (off my own radar but immediately recognized by my youngest son as being the reason he couldn’t find a cheap used car). Now of course, we have rocket-launched jet-fueled clunkers.

You can compare it to Cash for Clunkers – but I want to compare it to the govt shutdown.

How long before Obama gets in a snit and begins Barrycading hospitals and medical clinics?

its why its hard to find used parts for one of the vehicles (crown vics) that used to saturate the used part supply chain.

as a side note report other day shows we lost at least 10 bn on the GM government theft. forgot the link, sorry.

As I Tea Party activist, I am going to have to admit I was wrong about Obamacare being a failure. It is so bad, that failure doesn’t begin to define what it is. It’s a super-massive fiasco of historical proportions…the only thing missing is radioactive debris and a tidal wave.

    rinardman in reply to Leslie Eastman. | November 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Nothing another trillion, or so, won’t fix.

    Think of it as a stimulus program for the IT industry.

    Obama’s campaign promises are about as radioactive as one can get right now, and the millions of people losing their insurance might be willing to supply the tidal wave.

    Radegunda in reply to Leslie Eastman. | November 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    “Fiasco” implies that good intentions met with failure. The intentions here were not good. The law itself is a massive assault on the American people, particularly the middle class, and an assault on high-quality medical care.

    The motivating intentions were destructive. The “fiasco,” from the Democrat standpoint, is that the destructive effects are becoming visible more quickly than they intended.

We can use the money Solyndra is repaying the Federal government to cover the cost of the Cash For Clunkers program. Wait…..

Richard Aubrey | November 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

Time for obligatory “Fingers in my ears, I can’t heeeear you, lalalalala.” comment.

RE: CARS program participants had a higher before-tax income, were older, more likely to be white, more likely to own a home, and more likely to have a high-school and a college degree.

And the people who have been financially hurt by the lower availability of used cars and their parts are the exact opposite of the above group. Once again Obama’s reality was harmful to the people he gives lip service to.

I feel a Laser Focus On Jobs speech coming soon.

NC Mountain Girl | November 1, 2013 at 10:54 am

It killed the used car market. Conscientious upper middle income people tend to trade in the older, well maintained, low mileage cars that are in high demand on the used car market. This was the group best positioned to use cash for clunkers to accelerate their purchase of a new car. As a result most used cars coming onto the market in the months after cash for clunkers tended to have extremely high mileage.

It was so bad my neighbors found the only SUV they could afford to buy when the heavy road salt used here in the mountains killed their 1997 Pathfinder was a 2007 Honda Pilot that had been driven an average of over 50,000 miles a year. Their decade new Honda has only 40,000 miles less miles in total on it than the 1997 Pathfinder.

    MagicalPat in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | November 2, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Yes it did kill the used car market. In many ways.

    First, as NC Mountain Girl mentioned, the lower mileage, better maintained used cars that the program targeted were traded in on a faster timeline than the owners usually followed. Which of course meant that after the program was over, all that was left were actual clunkers.

    But, let’s not forget, those nice condition, low mileage cars had to be destroyed. They were taken off the market completely. We’ve all seen the videos of perfectly fine automobiles having their engines blown up (environmentally nasty thing to do by the way). So now, someone looking for a low mileage, nice car, could not find one because they were being eliminated.

    The effect of this was to drive the cost of used cars up. (I started in the car business a little after the program ended. Learned a lot from the used car guys about this).

    The used cars traded in most were the ones that filled the mid range price category, $5,000-$8,000. After CFC, finding a decent used car suddenly had you spending over $10,000. Guess who predominantly used to buy under $8,000 cars?? You got it! The lower income folks and young kids just getting started. So after CFC, they had to spend more. The people who could least afford it.

    Another way CFC hurt used car sales is often overlooked. During the program, many people opted for a new car instead of a used one. If you had a trade in that on a normal day is worth $1,000, but Uncle Sam is boosting that to $4,500 if you buy a new car, then most would opt for brand new. Even if the difference was only $1,000 more, it was easier to opt for new. Plus, the interest rate on a new car is lower than used, so many used car customers turned into new car customers.

    Used car sales people would watch their customers move over to the new car lot, and to add insult to injury, the trade in would be destroyed, thereby reducing the used car inventory even more. Soon, the used car lot is empty, which made more people buy new.

    So, a temporary boost in NEW car sales, but a drop in used car sales with a net effect of zero.

    Plus, most of the buyers in CFC were in the market anyway. All they did was move their purchase decision. Most of those cars would have sold anyway.

That photo of the car brought back memories of a car that I recently traded in. It threw a rod about 6 miles from the dealer on the way to being traded in. The value plummeted from $3000 to $500.

Perhaps a little Viagra will help ObamaCare? It’s what doctors usually prescribe for ED (Enrollment Dysfunction).

Liberals like to give people fish. Conservatives like to give people the tools so they can fish on their own.

And they like to decide which fish is best for you.

By removing relatively new cars from the roads, the program insured that much older cars would be driven for years beyond their normal lifespan. These older cars emit far more carbon.

Moreover, the poor people who buy these cars are stuck with higher repair bills because of the age of the cars.