An Overheard Conversation
By Beverly Hicks Burch
*I’m posting this here for those of you that don’t follow my political blog Uncommon Sensibilities.
Last night while on the way in from work, Tall & Handsome stopped to pick us up a bite of supper. While waiting for the food he happened to overhear a very interesting conversation.
Sitting next to T & H was a guy who worked for a local car dealership that sells (foreign) cars. He and another person were discussing the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
The guy who was part of the conversation not in the automotive industry was asking how the program worked and Mr. Car Salesman was more than happy to tell him…well, kinda…sorta…
But first, let me ask you…do you know what counts as a “clunker” for a trade-in?
· The vehicle must have been made within the last 25 years from the day of the trade-in, but in the case of category 3 vehicles (trucks or vans) the vehicle can’t be made later than 2001.
· The combined city/highway fuel economy must be 18 MPG or less.
· Be in drivable condition (!)
· You must own it at least a year before you trade it in.
So what do you have to do to get that whopping $3,500 or $4,500 into your grubby little hands? Well, read on:
· You must purchase or lease the new vehicle for five years.
· The new vehicle must sell for $45,000 (and who the heck can afford that in this obamination of an economy?!) and get at least a whopping 22 combined MPG.
· If you want $3,500 your trade-in must best your old vehicle by 5 – 9 MPG, but if you want the $4,500 cash for clunkers your new vehicle needs to get 10 MPG or more better than your old “clunker”.
So, according to these standards, these “clunkers” may not be that old, are in perfectly good running condition…and in many cases paid for! So, for $3,500 – $4,500 the Obama Administration wants you to go into debt…guess they don’t want a bushel of apples falling too far from the little apple tree…
Now, back to the overheard conversation…
Mr. Car Salesman said it was a great program for young people…who usually end up buying “throw away” cars and that the dealership “adjusts” the price of the vehicle to reflect the “clunker” money…in other words folks…as the old timer would say, “Ya ain’t getting that good of a deal.”
According to Mr. Car Salesman, when John Q. Public brings in his “clunker” the car dealerships across the country are required to pour a liquid into the works of the “clunker” to permanently disable it and make it forever undrivable. That means we have crushed “clunkers” stacking up like cord wood in salvage yards across the nation at a rate of 10 – 20 cars per day…so much for the environment…and all for a few more miles per gallon! Think of the energy it takes to shred all of those thousands or millions of clunker. And, where does the plastics, tires and chemicals like engine fuels and refrigerants end up? Often in landfills and as hazardous waste that need to be disposed somewhere.
And remember that liquid a dealership has to run through the vehicle to permanently disable it? That liquid is a lethal sodium silicate solution. According to the Automotive Waste Recycler’s Association that process just creates more waste making heretofore salvageable parts worthless and costing the salvage yard a loss of profit of about $700 to $1200 per vehicle. Many environmental groups and watchdogs are concerned about these factors of the program. Please take the time to read the article Does Cash for Clunkers help the environment? It’s Debatable
And what has this “cash for clunkers” program done for the economy? Well, by July of this year (2009) the government had burned through almost $950 million they had set aside for the program. (I don’t know about you, but in my household we’d benefitted a whole lot better it the government tit had just sent us a check in the mail for what they were doling out…) Just to make sure the program will continue, President BO has signed a $2 billion dollar measure that will infuse, extend and engorge this particular government tit for a little longer…
This was done because of a dirty little secret…right now the government is rejecting about 85% of the “Cash for Clunker” claims that dealerships are filing. One dealer is owed $1 million by the government and a dealer in California has filed 92 claims and has been reimbursed for 3. Folks, that means there are a whole lot of dealerships not receiving money supposedly guaranteed by the Obama Administration (unless of course the administration keeps perpetually “infusing” the program at our expense with our tax dollars)…and that translates into working US citizens who could lose their jobs if the dealerships have to lay off because of lack of funds…
Once again…I’d rather see a onetime check in the mail if President BO is flushing all those Benjamins down the toilet…wonder if he knows what D-E-B-T spells? We could take our checks and pay off our debt or give it back to the government to pay if its debt…novel idea, huh?
©2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.