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Wednesday, August 05, 2009



The economy is stalled, this is a way to funnel funds quickly and efficiently into the coffers of US manufacturers.

As a society we want to use less oil, primarily for 2 reasons.

1.) we want to slow and reverse global warming.
2.) we don't want to prop up petro-dictatorships

Even though this is regressive, it helps us toward both those goals and does not have a huge opportunity cost or place any economic hardship on businesses or consumers.

I can't understand what republican principle this violates besides being an example of a well run federal program.



Good points. I think, (and I'm sure KB will correct me;-) that it fits the conservative philosophy of less government, especially at the macro levels. Remember, the Che of the modern GOP is Reagan. And the Great Communicator preached less government (and didn't practice it, of course). Remember, the mantra, "government is not the solution to the problem, it *is* the problem."
KB is absolutely right about the regressive nature of the program though.



What's "conservative" about destroying perfectly good, affordable transportation?

Ivan Goetz

Who's paying for this? How can this be a well run program, when most of the profits are going to foreign countries. Four out of five of the cars sold under this handout are foreign. It's brilliant, we borrow money from foreign countries
to pay for this and then turn around and give it back.


simply enough, "cash-for-clunkers" is unconstitutional. the federal government is without autority to redistribute tax dollars to people, based on their ownership of clunkers. if we ought to be upset about anything, it's that.


What's conservative about supporting oil dictatorships like venezuela, iran, saudi arabia, sudan, burma, etc by wasting oil?

What's conservative about ignoring the effects and causes of global climate change and global warming?


you mean, "global cooling," don't you?


No, I don't.


lexrex, I'm hearing this word "unconstitutional" thrown around as frequently and inaccurately as "socialist." The government has been redistributing money for years. If you're prepared to make the case that Medicare, Social Security, farm subsidies, economic development grants, and probably half of the rest of the federal budget is violating the Consitution, by all means, enlighten us....

And Miranda, dear Miranda, please, don't misrepresent my words. As I noted in an update yesterday (your comments didn't appear to be on then), what I said was that we incur the same impacts of junking these cars now as we would years down the road while making a small gain in fuel conservation. Harming the environment is not o.k. just because it boosts the economy; boosting the economy in a way that does no additional harm to the environment and promotes fuel conservation is defensible.



caheidelberger, i'd be happy to talk about all those other subjects, when they become topics, but let's just stick to this one, if you don't mind. i will indulge you slightly, and comment that just because something has been done "for years," doesn't make it right. the government has been redistributing our tax dollars to abstinence programs for years, but that doesn't necessarily make it right -- i.e., constitutional.

but back to the topic, at hand, can you tell me where the constitution gives authority to the federal government to implement this program?


Lexrex: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause


ya fs, i know what the commerce clause is. so how do you explain that the commerce clause gives the feds the authority to redistribute tax dollars to fund cash-for-clunkers?


Are you going to pay me to tutor you?

Why don't you do a little reading?


Maybe you and the distinguished congresswoman from Minnesota's 6th district should take that class together.


I did not intentionally misrepresent your argument. You poked fun at me by saying that my "spidey" sense went off and I poked back by accusing you of sounding like a Republican.
That part was meant as a joke.

However, you did admit that the destruction of the vehicles would be environmentally damaging and in the same post, and you seemed to be indicating that you believed it was still a good program, because it was boosting the environment. I did recognize that you thought that the same environmental harm would eventually be done, so I'm not sure that I agree that you were misrepresented. Nevertheless, I apologize.

If it turns out that this program is worse for the environment than letting a car live out it's life, will you oppose it?


The cash for clunkers bill is a fine example of the limitations of government solutions to such problems as economic decline and global warming. Yes it puts cash into the pockets of the auto industry, which would be a long term good if it helped put that industry back on the track to health. It won't.

It can't be an effective economic stimulant overall because it just moves wealth from one part of the economy to another. And given bureaucratic costs and inefficiencies, it represents a net economic loss. And there is the fact that we are destroying a lot of perfectly serviceable automobiles, which represents another net loss.

The environmental benefits are dubious. Cars have to be junked and more cars have to be built to replace them. Will all that wash out in favor of the environment? I don't think anyone can know, and that is bad enough. I am guessing not.

Finally, the program rewards people who bought less efficient vehicles and penalizes those of us who have purchased more sensible cars for decades. In light of these considerations, I cannot call the program an unqualified success.


Well, Republicans are not always conservative, but many of us are. And the plan does violate a number of conservative principles, for instance:
Conservatives favor Laissez Faire economics. This is the opposite. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, while liberals tend to believe in societal responsibility. This is one of those plans that tries to make society cure the problems of individuals. Conservatives also believe that when someone works hard, they ought to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This plan takes money earned by taxpayers and deposits it in the pockets of a select group of people that can afford to buy a new car with a little help with the down payment. It does nothing for anyone who is poorer, nothing for anyone with a perfectly decent car and nothing for someone without a car. All of these people are taxed, so that others can have perks.

But what's more interesting is that it violates liberal principles as well.
It is regressive, it squanders resources and I believe that it is more harmful to the environment than allowing cars to be used for their entire lifespan, as destroying them before they are done means that more cars will be produced and then destroyed.


the answer, fs, is that nothing in the constitution, not even the commerce clause, gives the feds the authority to implement cash-for-clunkers.

if it can redistribute tax dollars for "clunkers," it can do it for just about any reason. a government with a limitless commerce clause is a dangerous thing.


Ok... you think that what is currently law is dangerous, that's fine, but it's perfectly legal you baffoon.


good debate, fs. stay classy!


"it squanders resources and I believe that it is more harmful to the environment than allowing cars to be used for their entire lifespan, as destroying them before they are done means that more cars will be produced and then destroyed."

- That's a fine argument, if you're not just pulling it out of your ass. Do you have any reason to believe this?

And we're talking about societal problems, not curing individual problems. I guarantee you the point is not to give well-fare cars to people, it's to improve gas mileage and reduce oil consumption, with the added benefit of stimulating local economies.

Improving gas mileage and reducing oil consumption has the two aforementioned benefits of slowing global warming and withholding money from petro-dictatorships like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Sudan, Burma, etc.

Those are societal problems, not individual problems, and have societal cures.


Well, if you can explain to me how the production and destruction of a greater number of vehicles is better for the environment than the production and disuse or destruction of fewer vehicles, I'm willing to listen. Otherwise, common sense tells me that the fewer cars that are destroyed, the better.

Obama disagrees with you about whether or not the program is meant as a welfare type program.

“Businesses across the country – from small auto dealerships and suppliers to large auto manufacturers – are putting people back to work as a result of this program,” he says in the following article:


It's government trying to solve the problems of a select group of individuals.


Also, Lexrex, thanks for your comments. I always enjoy them.


By well fare cars I meant the people receiving the cars... reread my statement with that understanding.


your welcome, miranda. thank you for the stimulating topics and for staying civil. you fascist/socialist friend could learn a thing or two from you.


But those things would not include grammar, spelling or anything intellectual honest.


"Well, if you can explain to me how the production and destruction of a greater number of vehicles is better for the environment than the production and disuse or destruction of fewer vehicles, I'm willing to listen. Otherwise, common sense tells me that the fewer cars that are destroyed, the better."

Well, your sense is not common and also nonsensical.

Since the vehicles have different mileages and each person only drives one vehicle at a time, if they are driving a more efficient vehicle they use less fuel.

Over the life of that vehicle, say 200,000 miles, instead of burning fuel at say 15 miles per gallon, instead they burn it at 30 miles per gallon.

That's 13,333 gallons of gasoline used vs 6,666 gallons of gasoline used per vehicle.

Now, let's say we do that for $3,000,000,000/$4,500 = 666,666 cars.

That's a saving of 4,443,995,556 gallons of gasoline! Hawt Damn!

Let's say a gallon of gasoline costs 2 dollars...

That's 8.88 BILLION dollars in savings! Holy shit!

8.88 billion dollars less spent on gasoline over the life of the cars, and 8.88 billion dollars less of demand for a fuel that causes global warming and feeds funds to the detriment of the stability and safety of the world in the form of petro-dictatorships.

That is common sense.

So the question is:
Is whatever impact building 666,666 more cars has on the environment in the form of global warming greater than burning 4,443,995,556 gallons of gasoline?

I'm quite certain you do not know the answer to that, neither do I, but I would be willing to bet that powering a car for its life-span takes more fuel than the initial construction of it, but I'm not an expert so... anyway...

What we do know for certain, is that it is having a positive effect on our enemies (lowering demand for oil), setting a trend for consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles, a drop in the bucket of starting our conversion to a less carbon based energy economy, and is improving our air quality in our cities.

Was that hard to see? I mean, really?

Miranda... someone has done a real number on you.

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