Friday, August 07, 2009

Distinguishing Between Popular and Successful

The main-stream media and the left are teaming up once again, this time to proclaim CARS (popularly known as Cash for Clunkers) an Obama administration success. It is really quite an acting job, but here are the players in this comedic drama:
Wherever you turn, the watch word is success. It is all over the leftosphere what a success they think the Cash for Clunkers. They want to Declare Victory, throw a couple more billion at it, and keep throwing money at it.

How do we really measure success of Cash for Clunkers? I don't know, because we were never given a goal, we have no criteria to measure the program. There is nothing in the law that defines the criteria for success. The left likes it that way... they hate actual numbers... because they are so confused by them.

Remember President Obama's erroneous unemployment predictions? He was really wrong about that. With this program, by not specifying a criteria he can declare victory with any result. Clever, huh?

Anyway, just what is the goal? Are we trying to subsidize the auto industry? Are we trying to get people reliable, cheap or efficient transportation? Are we trying to reward losers who drove gas hogs for years and years? Are we trying to irritate the people that bought fuel efficient cars with their own money because they like the idea of 'going green'? Whatever it is, the method is to interfere with the natural progression of events.

Yes it is a popular program, clearly anytime the government takes money from our grandchildren and starts handing it out, well people will stand in line. CARS is not a successful program, because $1 billion cannot really do anything good for America, but it can do some harm. Here is a short list of the harms:
  • By selling cars at artificially-depressed prices, it subsidizes weak dealers who will be able to keep their doors open and compete against stronger dealers.
  • By artificially increasing demand now, it will artificially reduce demand in the future.
  • By artificially reducing the supply of used cars, It will artificially increase the demand for and price of the remaining used cars.
  • By mandating the destruction of used cars, Cash-for-Clunkers will unintentionally distort the market for spare parts and auto repairs.
  • By providing what is, in effect, a $4500 tax cut for those who can afford to purchase a new car during a recession, it punishes those who may need help the most.
It is easy to measure the failure of a government program: (1) It generates fraud, waste or abuse, and (2) It creates or fosters a dependent constituency.

If this program is so popular, why not make a 'cash for clunker computer' program? A 'cash for clunker television' program? Yes CARS is a popular program, like Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare are all popular. None of them are a success.

It is important to know the difference.
More: Several bloggers suggest Cash for Codgers and Silver for Seniors as the next Obama administration programs. Let us not forget the all too familiar Cash for Congress.

Still More: from Reason Magazine: Here's an idea: Let's give $50,000 to anyone looking to upgrade to a brand-spanking-new, environmentally friendly home. All we ask in return is that you burn your previous residence into a heap of smoldering cinder.


OBloodyHell said...

> Yes CARS is a popular program, like Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare are all popular. None of them are a success.

Good point. I'm sure "Free money for stupid answers to simple questions" would be a very popular program.

Whether it would serve a useful purpose is a different matter.

Bob in Los Angeles said...

The goal of the President is to gain and maintain power. CARS is a way of buying votes.

Tom Carter said...

This really has to be near the top of the list of stupid government programs, for all the reasons you list.

And what happens when they finally run out of money for C4C? It clearly can't go on forever. But "clunkers" will still be the great evil they seem to think they are, so will it then become illegal to own a clunker? The stupid possibilities are endless.