Karen De Coster
LRC Blog
July 31, 2009

This morning I reported that the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program ran out of cash, meaning that people had to keep their clunkers and give up the cash. Congress just voted to refill the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ trough. The Wall Street Journal just reported:

The House voted 316-109 to approve the transfer of $2 billion in emergency funding from the $787 billion economic-stimulus plan to the “Cash for Clunkers” program, ensuring it has sufficient funds to continue. The Senate won’t consider an extension until next week. At a news conference Friday afternoon, President Obama praised lawmakers for moving quickly to rescue the popular program, which he said has succeeded beyond expectations.

The move follows a scramble Thursday after news emerged that the initial $1 billion in funding may have been close to exhausted after just one week. The National Auto Dealers Association said it was given “specific assurances” by the Obama administration that all deals secured on Friday will be honored, though the NADA’s chairman reiterated concerns that some dealers might not be reimbursed for rebates extended to customer.


It seems that Congress is stealing stolen money from some energy programs to honor its clunker promises, so now House Chief Nancy Pelosi is concerned about how they will steal additional money to reimburse the stolen money from the energy program. Let the steal-o-rama begin.

For those new to libertarian ideas, notice the multitude of comments in this story regarding the “success” of a failed, centrally-planned policy that needed emergency funding to keep its failure successful. Whereas businesses within the free market gauge success and failure through the means of profit and loss, here’s how a government determines success.  

“Both sides of the aisle, people acknowledge the effectiveness of this initiative,” Ms. Pelosi said on the House floor, adding that early evidence showed that the program was exceeding its environmental targets.

How is this “effectiveness” quantified? “Exceeding” its environmental targets? How is that determined? There’s more…

…In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Sens. Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) asked for a slew of data about the initial program.

“The tremendous number of sales in the first week of this program demonstrates that the ‘cash for clunkers’ act has succeeded in increasing new vehicle sales, but Congress needs this data in order to determine if the fleet modernization program delivered significant fuel economy gains and oil savings,” the lawmakers said in the letter to Mr. LaHood.

So if Lew Rockwell, proprietor of my home on the web, LewRockwell.com, engaged the mafia to help him steal a load of Toyotas coming off of the docks, and gave one Toyota away to every consumer who agreed to give up Huffington Post for LewRockwell.com, that would be a success! If he ran out of Toyotas in the first week or on the first day, he could just get the boys together and steal more. Now here’s another happy, happy “success” story:

AutoNation Inc., the country’s largest chain of car dealerships, said Friday that it has sold more than 3,000 vehicles in the past week through the program.

“It’s been a huge success,” Chairman and Chief Executive Michael J. Jackson said in a brief interview. “I think there has been a psychological effect and gotten consumers to start buying cars again.”

I’m sure that any government-subsidized program that increases your company’s sagging sales and brings in easy revenues must be a “success!” If this whole blog post you just read sounded like a Larry, Curly, and Moe skit, you read it right.

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