I like to start my day with a cup of coffee, and if my wife Rhonda is hanging around the kitchen, I am also offered a tall glass of tomato juice. I don’t really like tomato juice, but I drink it because my wife poured it for me, even if it causes me to shudder and shiver as I swallow it.
I get the same convulsive reaction when I try to swallow the economic elixirs sold by modern day snake-oil salesman dressed up as politicians. They travel from town to town where they put on their town-hall meetings. There they promote their products which promise to cure everything from hair-loss to job-loss, recession to depression, and stomach gas to greenhouse gas.
The Cash for Clunkers program is our federal government’s latest con in their attempt to get us to voluntarily transform our country. For the last couple weeks I have been scrutinizing my vehicles. Within my stable of V-8s I think I may have a clunker or two. That is of course if I am to embrace the government’s new definition – which of course I will not. A vehicle with a model year of 1984 or newer which gets 18 miles per gallon or less is now considered a clunker by our federal government. They want to get these large, safe family-sized vehicles off the road – and they will take your money to do it.
I know people who have taken advantage of this new plan – I don’t blame them. But let’s consider the future consequences of this program. When a vehicle is sacrificed to appease the environmental gods, the government requires that its engine and drive-train be ruined.
Never mind that good quality used cars and trucks are being destroyed in the name of progress. Never mind that some people simply cannot afford to pay for a new vehicle – even with a sizeable trade. These disadvantaged folks, who working two jobs in an attempt to make their own way, will no longer be able to find that “good-used car” down at Bob’s Bargain lot, because that car has been wrecked by the government with your tax dollars.
Never mind that the local repair shop will have fewer older cars and trucks to work on. Never mind that the used car market will be screwed-up for years to come. Better gas mileage is a noble aspiration – but it should not be forced. When the government artificially inflates a market it blows up. The housing market’s bubble burst, the same will also be true in an artificially inflated auto market.
The idea of trading in cars and trucks for more than they are worth really took hold with some people. People like a bargain, especially when their government is the one being loose with the purse strings. But the folks in Washington grossly underestimated the response to their offer. The Federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program, which started with $1 billion of your money, has now tripled the amount to $3 billion. Please remember this ridiculous margin for error whenever anyone talks to you about government controlled anything (health care, bail-outs, taxes etc.).
If this pattern of hope and change continues unfettered we will someday realize that when we traded our clunkers for cash we unwittingly gave away our freedom and liberty. The government is tightening its grip on what kinds of cars and trucks are built, sold, driven and destroyed. When the last big block Chevy Truck is silenced slap yourself in the forehead and say “I could have had a V-8, but I let the government take it away.”