Sunday, August 09, 2009

Criticism for clunkers

As for any other interventionist government program, I have been against Cash for Clunkers, the United States' attempt to kick life into the auto industry. The program invites people to turn in their old cars for newer, more fuel-efficient ones.

However, this skepticism has had little resonance anywhere in the mainstream media. It is quite astounding how little public debate has accompanied the program. Mainly because, besides some token Republican opposition to extension of the program in the Senate, it has been a venture that has support from both parties. Apparently, the only public policy issues worth discussing are the ones with a partisan divide in opinion. When politicians agree, pundits have nothing to say.

Which is why I had to look hard to find an article critical of the program. Here is an excerpt from one:
The first problem is that under the terms of the program, any used car that is traded in must be scrapped, and key parts like the engine and drive train destroyed. Thus the program pays people to junk cars that still have economic value.

How can it make any sense for policy to encourage the destruction of working cars? Proponents of the program offer two rationales: that the higher fuel efficiency of new cars will reduce the use of fossil fuel, and that the increased demand for new cars will rescue the failing auto industry. Neither of these defenses passes muster.

Certainly not the best written commentaries but will have to do for now. Cash for Clunkers is one of those programs on which real debate (read, finger pointing) will occur retrospectively when the extent of the inaneness is finally realized (think of how and when political debate on the Iraq war finally erupted) so one will have to wait.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

free html hit counter