Cash for Clunkers: Does Haste Make Waste?

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it "has worked better than any other stimulus program that was conceived." Starting slowly on July 1, "Cash for Clunkers" then exploded through almost $1 billion in the ten days. The House quickly approved another $2 billion before leaving for vacation, and this week the Senate appears ready to go along.  Auto dealers are ecstatic, but students of car culture say the summer jump in sales would have occurred anyway, without any government subsidy. One skeptic says trade-ins might end up costing taxpayers $20,000 apiece; others complain that past gas guzzling is being rewarded. We look at the unexpected benefits and unintended consequences of CARS.




Warren Olney