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Socialized car buying? Awesome! Where are the conservatives when you need them?

Update: I've read through the comments thus far. One in particular, by MeteorBlades, was especially enlightening, in that it directed me to his (her?) diary on the same subject. Blades makes a lot of arguments on how the existing Clunkers program could be improved. Instead of summarize, I'll direct you there. In particular, he very clearly illustrates out how screwed up the incentive system is (that people who had the foresight to buy low-mileage vehicles to begin with can be inelligble, and that there aren't enough incentives to buy especially high mileage vehicles).

Second, I've posted before on the importance (and feasibility) of reducing the amount people drive, and I ALWAYS receive about 50 comments stating, "Not everyone has another option, city boy," which is funny, because I always acknowledge that fact. It's amazing that anyone could label him or herself a "progressive" and have a total inability to imagine what COULD BE, rather than what is.

Please remind yourself how much your car costs to operate, how much space it consumes (roads and parking included), what an immediate and long-term threat it is to others, and seriously consider whether there might be a better option. Even if you live in a suburb. I'm not saying lets take every car off the road -- I'm saying let's seriously consider every oppurtunity to take cars off the road.

In this case these comments are especially outrageous, because I am focusing on the fact that a Cash-for-Bikes/Public Transit system would appeal in particular to city dwellers -- and local pollution is a big problem for city folk like myself. I imagine, in these hard times (and in cities where living is expensive), a surprising number of people would give up driving altogether for $4,500 and a chance to stop paying 200-300/month for a parking space for their old POS.

Last, I'm aware conservatives have protested, in a weird roundabout way, cash for clunkers. Mostly I was being tongue and cheek on that point.

End Update

I don't like cars, and I stopped driving one a while ago, but I live in a city, so this is possible for me. I realize it's not possible for everyone, and so I try not to demonize people for simply trying to get from point A to point B. But I like to think that the majority of the government's funding of transit should be for public transit, or at least transit that does the least possible harm (say, bicycling).

It's funny to watch the conservative protests of public health care. If you look at the top ten cars traded in the Cash for Clunkers program, they're almost all American SUVs. I have to believe that at least 50% of those cars are owned by conservatives. Granted, the bulk of the protesters at the health care rallies are likely on Medicare, but hypocrisy hasn't stopped them there. So, why are they so chill about socialized car buying?

Now, onto you, progressives. Why are you so damned pleased about the success of the cash for clunkers program? Why are you OK with the fact that people  haven't been encouraged -- haven't even been given the option -- of trading their clunker in for a bicycle and money to put toward public transit. Bicycle and bus use creates jobs too. It is also a hell of a lot better for the environment than the most efficient hybrid.  

Cars take up a lot of room, and cities are crowded. It would be a huge boon to urban centers, which happen to house the majority of this country's population, if people were encouraged to lose their car. Honestly, I'd rather have a bunch of kids skating around my office than a bunch of adults parking their cars there. Public transportation systems are struggling. Bike initiatives are popular and cheap. 4,500 bucks from each car owner would go a long way.

But no -- rather than build up this country's public transit infrastructure, you're content that $4,500 of your tax dollars are perpetuating an albatross around this country's neck -- the American auto industry. You're content to reward everyone who made the horrible decision of buying a gas guzzler ten years ago with $4,500 for their troubles. Never mind that they've already made my air harder to breath, destroyed the roads I need to use too, and generally consumed far more space than any one human should. Never mind all of that.

Originally posted to superflat on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh Puleeeese... (11+ / 0-)

    another diary on the evils of auto transportation from a city dweller...we are not all just going to dwell in cities and go around on non-auto transportation...

    So lets make auto transportation as efficient as possible and still fund mass transit (which the stimulus bill gave billions towards)...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:30:53 PM PDT

    •  Protesting against good management... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dvogel001

      is so less satisfying than railing against the miscreants -- here, SUV/truck/guzzler owners.

      I'll go with Obama/Reid/Pelosi. Good management.

      Angry White Males + DSM IV Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The Base

      by vets74 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 04:34:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  they did "protest" it but not using (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, LordMike, Ckntfld, Hedwig, BYw, wikoogle

    the clear logic you did.

    They used the overwhelming success of the program to prove that government is "incompetent" because they underestimated the cost of the program - thus by wingnut logic this "proved" that govt could not possibly run health insurance or estimate its cost (although the govt already runs Medicare and the VA healthcare!!).

    But gosh, did we ever hear from these rightwingnuts how incompetent Bush was because he grossly underestimated the costs and length of the Iraq war?    

  •  Interesting to note here... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, duckhunter, BYw, Surly Cracker

    The biggest complaint from dealers, other than the red tape to get reimbursed, is the fact that many of their lots are empty.

    That's right...the same industry that was forced to variably lay off workers and cut wages/benefits is now saying that due to demand caused by the "Cahs for Clunkers" program, they are needing inventory..and fast...

    Sounds like a program to do away with to me!

    http://democratictribune.com/

    by Democratic Tribune on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:32:36 PM PDT

    •  The reason the lots are empty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duckhunter

      is that many of those dealers have no money to buy more cars, awaiting the checks that have not yet materialized.

      I won't rehash the whole thing here, but for auto dealers, this program is not all it's cracked up to be:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Dance like no one is watching with one fist in the air... We are stronger than everything they have taught us that we should fear.

      by Surly Cracker on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:36:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yea... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        I guess the alternative of tumbleweeds going across the parking lot instead of customers must really suck.../snark...

        and the fact that many large dealer groups are reporting at least 1 non-CFC deal for every CFC deal really sucks as well.../snark

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:37:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In many cities and certainly ... (18+ / 0-)

    ...in suburban areas, getting around in a car is the only option. Changing that will take a couple of decades at least, assuming the will can be found to make the change. Many progressives aren't behind the effort to do so.

    Meanwhile, making the cars we do drive greener is a good thing.

    The current CARS program, however, is deeply flawed. But we're stuck with it. Here is my proposal for restructuring it to eliminate its chief flaws and running it for a two- or three-year program: Set Up a Long-Term 'Cash for Clunkers' Program.

    Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:35:47 PM PDT

    •  Nice segway into 'Pimp my Diary'! :) (6+ / 0-)

      Rec'd for the smooth segway.

      http://democratictribune.com/

      by Democratic Tribune on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:36:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry I missed your diary yesterday (0+ / 0-)

      I'd submit that any overhaul of the program that was targeted for a long-term lifespan would need to include significant administrative tweaks as well.

      I've spent the last week trying to defend CARS to my 30-year GM Sales Manager father-in-law, and frankly, his day-to-day experiences have somewhat soured me on the program.

      He thinks, as I do, that CARS has had good effects, and certainly good intentions, but the execution has left something to be desired.

      My earlier comments explain why in more detail. I'm trying to get him to write a guest diary on the subject, from the POV of a VERY frustrated, Obama-supporting car salesman. He's got a lot of very practical, non-political complaints about CARS that should be heard, and they all sound like they could have been fixed with better planning.

      Dance like no one is watching with one fist in the air... We are stronger than everything they have taught us that we should fear.

      by Surly Cracker on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:48:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Detroit has the opportunity to lead (0+ / 0-)

      Today and for some time Detroit has had the opportunity to lead in the development of the city of the future.

      Instead of pumping out more cars through this program, how many actually come from Detroit is still unknowm, they should be throwing the plans on the table to completely redesign what we think of as urban areas.

      The rate of unemployment there is arguably close enough to the tipping point where real change in the way people live can be orchestrated.

      Turn the greater detroit area into a sustainable walking city.  Start now not after the next car crisis.    

      •  I'm all ears ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        ...but financing is only one of many hurdles.

        See my piece on New Orleans four years ago after Katrina: Eco New Orleans: 'A Shining Example for the Whole World'.

        Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

        by Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:55:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is really the issue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BYw

          If we are not going to take advantage of these opportunities, most severe economic downturn in many of our lifetimes, a city decimated, ecologically or economically, and use this as a springboard to develop the city of tomorrow in one of these areas, then we likely never will.

          We will spend the money that could do this elsewhere instead of doing the heavy lifting now and absorb it.  We will always want to prop up our existing failures and say "next time" in "that city", "Not ours."

          What can we say the future terrifies us.  We love the devil we know.

          Where are the pioneers of today?  

    •  Families. Any green transport needs to address (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, happy camper, aehmnm

      families. I'm convinced the sudden jump in SUV sales coincided with new child restraint laws. Americans have bigger families than Europe and Japan so it would follow Americans would need larger cars. Visit a retirement community or college campus and you'll see small cars. Pass by an elementary school and you'll see SUVs and mini vans.

      So many of the green cars are tiny tiny little fellas. The Smart car. Tiny (and if you ask me, it's cheating to just chop a car in half and call it green technology). The Prius is getting there, but try putting three child seats abreast in the back, especially if one kid is an infant.

      I'm willing to bet trollies of old were designed for a lifestyle where the Woman stays at home and watches the kids while the man hops onto the trolly or bus to get to work and back. Any packed mass transit these days would need to account for the tendency for a parent to want to be seated adjacent to their own kids.

      And bikes...fuhgedaboudit...infant, bike, snowy January. No way.

      I believe if the modern family needs and lifestyles are addressed realistically, mass transit and green transport will go down MUCH easier.

      What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

      by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:00:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd also like to add that here is where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happy camper

        a Socialized Health Care system and green transnport would coincide.

        Parents also tend to imagine they need a way to get to an emergency room RIGHT NOW in the event their child swallows borax and a bottle of grape flavored baby Tylenol. So an emergency getaway car needs to be in the background...not waiting at the corner for a bus.

        Yes, we COULD call an ambulance, but without the immediate threat of danger, when academically pondering  the pros and cons of mass transit I tend to think "Gah! An ambulance ride is, like, $3000"

        What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

        by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:06:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Smart car matches demographics. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw, Muskegon Critic

        I love the Smart Car.  I have been bitching at Detroit for 20 years to make this vehicle.  I'm a single guy.  98% of the time, I'm the only one in my car.  Why do I need a 16 foot long vehicle?  9 feet is all I need, I can guarantee.

        Detroit has bee a one-size-fits-all town for so damn long it's sick.  They mouth lies about market studies and choice, but never produce the cars like the Smart Car  that show they are paying any attention at all to anything people want.

        There are at least a dozen different Smart Cars that I've seen here in Austin, and I cheer every single time.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:26:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You kiddin'? The Aveo has been around for 7 years (0+ / 0-)

          That's not a one size fits all car. And it's a good little car. Now...if it was Just Me, I'd probably check out the Smart Car, too. But GM has had a small car offering for many years. And the Ford Escort and Ford Focus are excellent cars. My 98 Escort has been low maintenance for many years.

          And the sub compact Ford Fiesta has been around since the early 1970s...they stopped selling it in the US back in the 90s I believe because nobody was buying 'em. Though they're bringing them back to the US next year when the factory opens.

          What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

          by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:41:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not arguing that everybody should ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Muskegon Critic

            ...give up their cars or give up their big cars. But in some urban areas, possibly suburban, a family could get along with a SmartCar (or some other smallish, fuel-efficient vehicle) most of time, supplementing with public transit and do auto-sharing on those occasions when they needed something bigger. Co-ops would be good models - unlike health care - for this.

            To reiterate, I am not saying everybody can do this. I think the complaint about one size fits all is apt, but too often that is just taken to mean one size/kind of car - rather than something that changes ownership/usage patterns in a broader, social way.

            Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

            by Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:45:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That makes sense about the one size fits all (0+ / 0-)

              notion of ownership and usage.

              I'm starting to get the impression that the really irritating/impressive thing about cars is they're so darn modular and versatile and as you and Odysseus say, one-size-fits-all-ish. Once we start talking about moving away from cars, all sorts of region and circumstance related transportation issues start to show their heads.

              It solves a lot of logistical transport issues for everybody just to have their own damn internal combustion engine and people can use it how they need it.

              But good god is it inefficient. I'd love to see more rail and bus transportation options, especially since I only use our car for local transport these days. But I don't think mass transit can look backwards for answers...I think it needs to creatively address modern lifestyles -- from my standpoint and current position in the life cycle: families.

              Now...the Mazda 6 is a NICE little UAW made car and my bro fits all 4 of his kids in there. Gotta say, that's an impressively thought out small sized car. And the turn radius...to die for.

              What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

              by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:25:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  AND...AND! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          It may be a fine car. I've drooled over the Smart Car myself. I've eyed them up in parking lots, breathing heavily as I thought "It's so..............efficient..." (And crazy safe, too, apparently).

          But...still, cutting a car in half is cheating ;)

          Reduce car weight, increase mileage. Nice and elegant. But not a technological wonder. Now the first Honda Insight was pretty cool to see. But again, it was impractically small. Toyota really budged ahead of Honda in Hybrids by offering the first PRACTICAL hybrid.

          What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

          by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wait a sec - is this a diary wisfully advocating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff

    winger aggression?

    What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? Waving your powers around...

    by Muskegon Critic on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:38:56 PM PDT

  •  It's good for business. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    'All I really want to say, is they don't really care about us' MJ

    by publicv on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:40:02 PM PDT

  •  You don't need an incentive to switch to a bike. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, happy camper, Fiddlegirl

    If that's an option for you based on your travel needs and the weather where you live, you don't need the incentive. The bike is way cheaper, so go for it.

    These things are not mutually exclusive. The diarist should go back and read the stimulus bill (ARRA). There's lots of new money in that, and in the regular budget, for transit. Meanwhile, we're getting some clunkers off the road.

    Where I live, transit is not an option except in a very limited area. We have to drive long distances. Encouraging is to drive the necessary miles in a high efficiency car is a good thing.

    Or put another way:

    Just because you should turn out the lights when you leave a room doesn't mean that you shouldn't also have a compact florescent bulb installed for when you need to have the lights on.

    This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:40:54 PM PDT

    •  Gas went to $4 and what happened... (0+ / 0-)

      "Where I live, transit is not an option except in a very limited area. We have to drive long distances. Encouraging is to drive the necessary miles in a high efficiency car is a good thing."

      No matter how you look at it, gasoline usage as a whole went way down when gasoline went to $4 per gallon. Across the board. Not to say that every single person drove less, but is is hard to rebut the assertion that even some people in areas where transit was underserved drove less. Either they moved, changed their lifestyles, combined trips, carpooled, whatever...

      Now... imagine that gas goes up 25% back to $4 per gallon. But all these people have new cars that get 25% more fuel economy. The disincentive for driving more than was necessary has gone away. Drivers will get better mileage but drive more, using the exact same amount of gasoline. So in the end, we do not reduce gasoline consumption and all the ills that come with it, but transfer $3B of wealth from people who did not participate in the program, to those who did and to the auto companies, many of which are not based in the United States.

      Brilliant.

      •  "snap back" is a small factor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        Yes, when people get better gas mileage they may allow themselves to drive a few more miles. But price elasticity (the response to price increases)analysis will show that the snap back is nowhere near as great as the number of miles no longer driven.

        So your answer is to keep the clunkers on the road longer so that people will feel the huirt more when gas goes to $4 again?

        Where I live, some habits changed permanently, others slip back to the way they were, but peoples travel patterns definitely changed.

        More efficient cars is a good thing under any circumstance. Getting people to drive less miles is a parallel goal, not in conflict.

        And as a side note: I don't care where car companies are "based." That means nothing in a global economy. My Subaru was built in Indiana, and General Motors is not an American company any more.

        This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

        by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:11:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  allow me to retort (0+ / 0-)

          "Where I live, some habits changed permanently, others slip back to the way they were, but peoples travel patterns definitely changed."

          They're still building big houses in the suburbs.

          And there is no doubt that transit funding has suffered, while $3B goes to this program. And when transit sucks, people drive. And bus drivers get laid off. Regardless of where your Subaru was built or whether GM is American, a bus driver is a job lost that would never be outsourced.

          •  transit funding has not suffered... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw

            ...because of the clunker program.

            Transit funding is seeing increases now. The suffering was in the past. They are not mutually exclusive, as I said.

            No bus driver jobs are lost when someone on a dirt road in rural America gets better gas mileage.

            This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

            by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:24:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Limbaugh-esque comment (0+ / 0-)

              "Transit funding has not suffered"

              This is what is commonly known as a "lie".

              In the SF Bay Area, every single transit system has had a fare increase and a service decrease yet still cannot balance their budgets. On MUNI alone that is 700,000 passengers who are paying more and getting less. ONE system, equivalent to the number of people who will benefit from Cash for Clunkers.

              BART is on the brink of a strike trying to close a funding gap, despite service cuts and a fare increase.

              And if we want to translate that to "stimulus", Caltrain is full of employees of Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and the students/employees at Stanford. When the train breaks down due to crappy maintainance - a result of underfunding - the cost to society of those worker's lost productivity is a lot higher than what we get from line workers in Detroit making a few more cars - the aforementioned people participating in a segment of our economy that is growing more jobs, not shedding them.

              •  I don't think you read. You just write. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vets74

                The problems of the SF Bay area transit systems are accumulated problems of years and years of underfunding.

                They are NOT (aka "not" or not) the result of underfunding in the first 6 months of the Obama admisnistration which has proposed significant increases in the annual federal budget as well as the one-time investment for transit in ARRA.

                This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

                by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 06:11:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Way down? Total miles driven fell 6%. (0+ / 0-)

          Gas usage barely moved at all despite $4 gas.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:28:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't they euthanize the clunkers too? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, BYw, Misterpuff, itzik shpitzik

    America has the best healthcare that no one can afford

    by wry twinger on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:46:00 PM PDT

    •  yes n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

      by itzik shpitzik on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:52:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vets74

      Drain the oil. Fill the engine with sodium silicate solution. Start `er up, and run until the engine seizes up. What a waste of good auto parts...

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:53:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The rest of the car (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duckhunter, BYw, itzik shpitzik

        can be recycled by used parts dealers. Only the drivetrain cannot be reused.

        "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

        by happy camper on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:10:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except the engine... (0+ / 0-)

          ...is the big-ticket item for all auto recyclers, and this program has the dealers turn it into a big, dirty hunk of scrap metal. They could just as easily pull and dismantle the engines, and ship them away from their original bodies.

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:39:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not really... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vets74, BYw

            A used engine, especially one from these oldies but goodies, is only worth a couple hundred bucks or so. Interior parts, body panels, door assemblies,trim, steering and suspension pieces and such have much greater value for fixing collision damage than the actual mechanical parts, which are likely to be worn out.

            "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

            by happy camper on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:54:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Noes, The Dealers are running out of cars! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper

    Cash for Clunkers is another botched program!

    Jeez, Demand is up for new more fuel-efficient cars and the Guvmint screwed up again.

    Duh, this is the problem that Automakers dream of.

    Get those Hybrid production lines cranking, buy more parts from your suppliers, let those cars salesmen get sales bonuses, get the service departments full again.

    Why do Americans and the MSM demand every problem be solved in the blink of an eye?

    Just to clear the decks. I own no monkeys.

    by Misterpuff on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:46:51 PM PDT

  •  I am so pissed at Cash for Clunkers (0+ / 0-)

    That I cannot even compose myself to compose the needed diary.

    This thing is so weird, the primary beneficiary of cash for clunkers are the sweet spot of the Republican party, yet the Republicans have opposed it and the Democrats are trumpeting it. Brutal.

    •  I've given thought to trading in my van. I'm not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, BYw

      a Republican, but if I did trade in my van for cash for clunkers, I'd get a much better deal than if I did it when the program wasn't running.  It's definitely attractive as an incentive.  

      In any event, I actually think it's a good idea for a program, and I support it.  And don't forget that the American people now own a big chunk of some of the automakers whose business we're trying to stimulate again.  This is a stimulus program after all.

    •  CARS is not really a partisan issue (0+ / 0-)

      Sure some will disagree, but for the most part this is simply a government giveaway.  It has some benefits, eliminating older cars, reducing carbon emissions,  some drawbacks, running up debt, 3-4 billion is still 3-4 billion.

      People on either side of the aisle are not immune from letting the government, their neighbor, pay $4500 or so toward their next car.  It is a good deal for those purchasing a new car.  

      Not a panacea for an economic downturn

  •  It's an incremental improvement. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, itzik shpitzik

    First, it can be safely assumed that these cars are being held by frugal people;  $4,500 is a moderate slice of a $20,000 car.  It is safe to assume that they hold on to the car for five years.

    To qualify, a car must get 18 mpg better mileage.  The fleet average is around 23 mpg, so this is a move from 14 to 32 mpg.  

    So, for every 10,000 miles driven:  

    Old car:  714 gal gas = 1760 kg C
    New car:  313 gal gas = 773 kg C emitted

    Over a 60,000-mile life cycle, that's about 6 metric tons of carbon emissions (or 22 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions averted.

    At $3 billion, approximately 667,000 cars will be traded in, which means a savings of 4,000,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over six years.  That's a large number to be sure, but about 0.022% of America's annual carbon emissions.  

    The effect that the program has upon the demand for new cars is obvious and stimulative.  

    It should also be noted that 400 gallons of gas not purchased means that $700-$1000 is diverted from the oil companies into industries and services that are in greater trouble this recession.  The anti-tax crowd can take solace in the fact that the Federal Government will lose about $100 in gas-tax revenue and most states will lose somewhat more.

    2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

    by Yamaneko2 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:56:54 PM PDT

  •  How would that play out? (0+ / 0-)

    Would they say the President is conspiring to cause more traffic jams?

  •  I didn't know the bicycle industry was an........ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik

    almost integral part of the American economy like the auto industry.  I didn't know it was in trouble either.

    "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin

    by duckhunter on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:16:16 PM PDT

  •  LOL..."trade a clunker for a bike" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74

    OK...that sounds like a good deal!

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    by SFOrange on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:18:31 PM PDT

  •  Some people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, itzik shpitzik

    just can't take 'YES!' for an answer.

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