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 August, 2009


 The Cash For Clunkers Program - Unplugged

The Clunkers For Cash Program?

You just have to admit it. By just about every measure, the Obama Administration’s Cash for Clunkers Program (Cars Allowance Rebate System) is a smashing success.

Car dealers, automakers, auto recyclers, banks and, of course, consumers have all realized the benefits of the wildly popular, $1 billion program – that allows people to rid themselves of gas guzzlers by trading them in for heavily discounted and fuel efficient (from an average of about 15 mpg to 25 mpg) new cars.

Early numbers show that hundreds of thousands of new car deals have been made in a little over a week since the program started.

Thus, there’s the near universal calculus that the Cash for Clunkers program worked.
I just said NEAR universal, didn’t I?

Only moments after President Obama announced his intention to expand the program by infusing it with an additional $2 billion, some Republicans were ready with some mighty specious criticisms.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), for one, claimed that since the demand for the program has exceeded all expectations, it was an example of how the federal government is “clueless” about how to manage it.

That means it worked, so therefore it didn’t work.

It’s clear that Republicans are unwilling to view any government program, even ones that works, and especially one backed by Democrats, without the filter of cynicism.

To wit, anybody who claims that a successful government operation is an example of mismanagement – only because its success was underestimated – must be a Republican.

I can draw no better conclusion.

When President Obama sent marksmen to free our citizens from the grasp of Somali pirates last April – it was considered a successful operation.
Except for Republicans, who claimed he’d somehow “mismanaged” the situation. It worked, so therefore it was a failure.

Last week, when Bill Clinton walked into North Korea empty handed, but he left with two jailed American journalists, it was Obama who was blamed for “mismanaging” this country’s tough stance against negotiating with rogue nations.
It had involved a person named Clinton, so therefore it had been a failure.

So, the initial Cash for Clunkers money has all but run out. That was, to some members of congress, a mistake.

The only way to rectify that supposed mistake was to triple the amount of money for the program. The U.S. House acted without hesitation to achieve that end.

Contrary to what some members of the U.S. Senate would lead you to believe, the additional $2 billion won’t cause any additional taxpayer encumbrance. It’ll come by redirecting money that’s already been allocated through the stimulus.

The only requirement the Senate had was to pass the House bill without making any changes to it.

That’s where Republicans, like John Thune (R-S.D.), were attempting to slip a number of amendments into it so it would effectively cause the Cash for Clunkers program to stall until the House returns from its furlough later this month.

That, of course, would embarrass the president, and end any euphoria the country might have enjoyed about a government program that really does work.

There’s even been talk that a Republican-backed filibuster had been planned. but the potential votes just didn’t materialize.

Moments after the president signed the new Cash for Clunkers legislation, the Republicans hatched a new plan to counteract it.

Sen. Phineas T. Bluster (R-Doodyville) proposed the Clunkers for Cash program.

If passed, car buyers will be encouraged to rush to the nation’s car dealers and re-buy those gas guzzling clunkers that’d been dropped off as part of the Cash for Clunkers program.

Sen. Bluster’s bill would enable old, fuel deficient cars to be back on the road, and therefore cause a fuel shortage and the renewed cries to “Drill Baby Drill.”

For Sen. Bluster and his fellow Republicans (if not the American car buying public) that would be a win-win situation.

Fuel efficiency - or the lack of it aside - the Clunkers for Cash Program would generate lots of roadside breakdowns that would eventually lead to even more gas usage by tow trucks.

What a plan. What a plan.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net