On the surface the Cash for Clunkers program seemed like a great idea. The government offers $3500-4500 to folks who turn in their old inefficient cars, they use that cash to help fund a new efficient car…lets see, new car sales soar and we get shitty old cars off the road. Wonderful. Except that the program was so successful there seems to be an issue of the program being suspended since all the cash is gone or close to it.
There is also an issue around what qualifies, see the Spousal Unit and I have a clunker, its an 11 year old Nissan Sentra but when I checked the other day, it seems we get better mileage than what is allowed so despite being old, it most likely doesn’t meet the requirement of being a clunker, at least the way I am reading this program.
Now I don’t mean to be Miss Grumpy pants, but all week as I heard about how wonderful this program is, I couldn’t help thinking that for folks who are truly driving a dangerous hunk of shit, this program probably would not benefit them. Last time I looked, a brand new car is not cheap, maybe I am slow but I haven’t seen any 2009 cars for less then 12K. So say you get the maximum rebate of $4500, with a 12K car you still need $7500 either in cash or to be financed. Most folks who are living hand to mouth driving a clunker tend to be folks who either lack good credit (at least enough credit to get financed by a mainstream bank or dealer) or if they have good credit may lack enough income or even proof of income to satisfy the requirements to buy a new car.
I mean lets face it America is a car culture and unless you are like my husband who cares nothing about cars and wouldn’t spend money on decent car when he had the cash, most folks who are driving a hunk of shit are doing so for a reason. Instead cash for clunkers is one of those feel good programs that the few remaining middle class folks in America can participate in but that single Mama working 2-3 jobs driving a 95 Geo Metro can’t participate in….I’m sorry but Cash for Clunkers seems like a bad idea. Then again maybe I am just cranky that my clunker is too damn efficient!