Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cash for clunkers

Sometimes it seems that the US Congress just can't do anything right, or even sensibly. A bill advancing on Capitol Hill would provide a $3500 subsidy to any American who trades in his car (owned for at least a year) for one with a gas mileage improvement of 2 mpg. What an aspiration! Under such terms, an old, inefficient, 12-mpg Hummer can be traded for a new and marginally more efficient 14-mpg Hummer--or a Dodge Ram, which is probably the vehicle the pols actually have in mind. (The subsidy is worth $4500 if the improvement rises to 5 mpg.) The WSJ today does a delicious number on this bit of Congressional stupidity, harking back to the Depression days when we slaughtered pigs so as to raise the price of pork. (A policy I remember vaguely as "plowing under the pigs," which no doubt conflates two different programs.) The editors end thusly:

'A far better cash for clunkers idea would be if Members of Congress gave themselves a $1 million voucher each in return for retiring. Then we could start all over with fewer economic dunces.'

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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