Originally Posted by dfiler
I voted for Obama and generally support the liberal agenda... but can't get behind the cash for clunkers program.
Destroying perfectly good automobiles and convincing people to buy an unneeded replacement is not a good idea in my book. New cars typically require monthly payments too. It all strikes me as very similar to how we got into the real estate fiasco, convincing people to buy things that they don't really need.
Producing the new vehicles required a huge amount of energy, energy that I'm not sure will be made back by driving a more fuel efficient car. The program also encourages people to continue driving cars, which is one of the worst things that a government can do to the environment.
Pouring these same resources into other programs would have been a better option. A truly forward looking America would have rethought its transportation agenda rather than encouraging people to take on debt just to buy an unneeded car.
Think about all the human labor and natural resources that went into producing the vehicles that were scrapped. All of that labor was thrown away. We might as well have just burned huge stacks of money and thousands of acres of rain forest.
But I suppose some people got a shinier car to park proudly in their driveway. And I suppose we perpetuated a couple of poorly run and non-optimal industries.
Here's something interesting to consider: The entire structure of automobile retailing is horribly inefficient. Having parallel distribution channels for every brand is a waste of money and human productivity. If every dealer had access to every brand and model of car, there could easily be fewer dealers and we would all pay less per vehicle. Modern, computerized information systems make this a viable model for the industry.
Just one alternative... We could have paid for the training of tens of thousands of people to specialize in weatherizing of homes. We could have offered tax incentives for property owners to have an energy audit and repairs made. Simple weather stripping of windows and doors would have saved more energy and money than the cash for clunkers program. This plan would have provided long-term jobs and also wouldn't have involved the scrapping of millions of hours of human labor associated with perfectly good automobiles. Ensuring that all the building in the nation are well maintained is a simple way to save money in the long run while being environmentally friendly at the same time.
What we did is the equivalent of paying people to burn down their home and buy a new one. Pure idiocy!
(Which reminds me, I need to have storm windows built to fit my 100 year old window frames. Properly made wood storm windows will last 100 years or more and are just as efficient as vinyl windows that last a mere couple of decades. The same is true for original double hung windows. We need an army of contractors that know how to do maintenance instead of ripping things out and replacing them with short-lived petroleum based products. It would help the environment, level the distribution of wealth, save home owners money... everyone wins! That is, except for replacement window manufacturers, corporations with advertising budgets being used to convince us that local laborers can't fix those old windows.
Yep, if I were president, I would have started a national program for the training of contractors. We should be fixing things instead of throwing them away. Fixing things provides jobs, good paying highly skilled jobs. Throwing things away and buying new tends to support corporations with less-well compensated employees.)