Satirical and beautiful! Harsanyi opens up the hood to see what "Cash for Clunkers" is really all about:
Then again, in Washington, a place where elected officials are astonished -- astonished! -- when a program doling out free cash is popular, success often translates into higher costs and fewer results.
A survey of car dealerships found a relatively small differential in fuel efficiency between cars traded in and those replacing them. A Reuters analysis concluded -- even with the extended program in place -- "cash for clunkers" would trim U.S. oil consumption by only a quarter of 1Hmm. So you're telling me that destroying perfectly-functioning automobiles for government-preferred "green" cars won't boost the economy or "save" the planet? And it also hurts the poor and charities?
As an economic stimulus, the plan is equally impotent. As James Pethokoukis, a columnist at Reuters, succinctly explained, "The program gets much of its juice via stealing car sales from the near future rather than generating additional demand." . . .
This week, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood claimed that "cash for clunkers" had benefited domestic car companies, particularly Ford. When The Associated Press requested data to verify this contention, the most transparent administration ever to grace God's soon-to-be-unblemished Earth refused to release the data.
Sounds like hope and change to me.