America, You Asked For It!

Political News and Commentary from the Right

Getting Screwed by Cash 4 Clunkers?

Four days after it came to life, the allotted funds were expended.  Our elected enlightened ones never expected so many to line up to take advantage of free cash from Congress.  Wait a sec…could this be a parallel we’ll see if Obamacare comes to life?  Let’s save that for another article.

When I first heard of Congress’ Cash-for-Clunkers (C4C)  scheme I didn’t like it, but for the wrong reasons.  I guess I made the mistake of literally interpreting the word “clunker” in the title.  Why I thought our government would be so transparent as to title their program to clearly communicate its intent I’ll never know.

I wrongly assumed that scammers would rush to junk yards, pay a couple of hundred dollars for piece of junk, drag it or pull it to a dealer, and use it for a $4500 downpayment on a shiny new car.  Voila!  Scam the government.

Well, it turns out the genius’ in Congress thought of that and included requirements to stop such abuses before they happened.  But in the process, this intrusion into the free market, like all government programs intended to fix problems the government created, spawns several more catastrophes we’ll feel the effects of down the road.

Let me start by saying I’m debt-free.  My home, my cars, and everything else I own are paid for, free and clear.  This didn’t come to be by luck or accident, but by sacrifice and well-laid plans.  Thanks to C4C, a key strategy I employed in those plans will no longer be available to me or others who might wish to take a similar path in order to enjoy a life free of monthly payments and negative net worth.

You see, the last new vehicle I purchased was in 1988.  I was 21 at the time.  Two years later I needed to sell that vehicle after enlisting in the Marines.  I was upside down and had to pay an extra $300 to relieve myself of ownership of that ride.  I swore that would never happen again, and it hasn’t.  Since that day, I’ve never owed more on a vehicle than what it was worth.

To avoid that undesirable predicament, I purchased older vehicles with high miles–that I could pay cash for.  The first was a 1982 Ford Courier with just under 100,000 miles that I paid $700 for at a Southwestern Bell equipment auction.  It was ugly as hell, but well-maintained.  I drove it for two years, and taught myself to work on it.   When the starter went out, I bought a book, some tools, a new starter, and replaced it.  I sold this truck and bought a full-size 1980 Chevrolet pickup for $1500.   It took me where I needed to go for two more years.  I repeated this numerous times over the years and haven’t had a car payment for a vehicle on which I was the primary driver for the past 19 years.

Thanks to the social engineers in DC, a life without car payments may no longer be possible after my current vehicle wears out.

If this program is still in place (Remember the words of Ronald Reagan, “The closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a government program.”) when I’m in the market for my next car, it will artificially add $3,500-$4,500 to the price of every car I’d otherwise be interested in purchasing.  At best, a comparable vehicle to one I’d have purchased a year ago with $2,000 won’t sell to a private buyer for less than $4,500.  It won’t last me any longer than the one I’m driving now, but thanks to the government it’ll cost me more than 3 times as much to drive it.  And the difference between paying $2,000 and $4,500 will force many to finance these cars when they could have paid cash if our intrusive government would have just let the market work.

But $4,500 likely won’t touch one of these cars either, because our genius’ in Washington are also drastically depleting the supply of such vehicles.  Though the cars taken on trade in the C4C program must be driveable, our government is mandating they be rendered inoperable and destroyed.  So far, a quarter of a million driveable used vehicles have been taken off the road.  The most basic law of economics, supply-and-demand, guarantees an increase in price will result from this program.

These cars will no longer be worth buying at their government-inflated prices.  That will leave me with the choice of buying even older cars or buying a new car.  Of course, if too many people turn to buying those (really) old clunkers, that really are gas-guzzlers, I’m sure our brilliant social engineers in DC will change the rules to take away that option also.  Eventually, that will leave me with no choice but a new vehicle that I’ll almost certainly be forced to finance.

I’ve spent my adult life carefully plotting to keep from having a car payment.  Silly me, I considered this responsible.  Now the Socialist social engineers that run our government have identified folks like me as part of the problem.  They’ve designed and implemented a scheme intended to strip from me the freedom of living life without car payments.  They’ve determined that I no longer have the right to be debt free.  That it’s only fair that I too am forced to purchase a vehicle that I’ll have to finance.

After all, in our Obamatopia, if anyone must make a car payment, it’s our collective responsibility to share that burden.  You see, if we’re all forced to buy new cars, the newly acquired taxpayer owned auto companies can continue selling unaffordable cars with affordable payments for a little while longer.  In effect, by forcing me to buy a new car, it will lower the payment of those who got themselves over-extended by buying cars they couldn’t afford.

You know, back to that spread-the-wealth thing Obama loves so much.

The House of Representatives has already voted to spread another $2 billion of your wealth to help screw me and others like me over.  This should take another half a million good, operable, used vehicles off the road and into the scrap heap.  Luckily, the US Senate is balking at handing another $2 billion to the auto companies and taking the next step to permanently increasing the cost of new and used cars by $4,500.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has threatened to veto any extension of the program and Senator Jim Demint (R-SC) says he’s weighing options and will fight if there’s a chance to stop it.  But Republicans aren’t the only obstacles to expanding one more government giveaway to subsidize the American auto industry.  Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on Twitter tweeted today, “We simply cannot afford any more taxpayr $ to extend cash for clunkers. Idea was to prime the pump, not subsidize auto purchases forever.”  Other Dems are opposed because they say the program doesn’t mandate enough increased fuel economy.

Bottom line, if these Senators hold the line and refuse to make C4C a permanent program, and if I can make my 12-year-old car with 140K miles last another couple of years, I just might be able to keep living life without car payments.

But not if President Obama has anything to do with it.

August 1, 2009 - Posted by | Obama | , , , ,


  1. […] Read the original: Getting Screwed by Cash 4 Clunkers? « America, You Asked For It! […]

    Pingback by Lionheart Assurance Scam Prevention Toolkit | Getting Screwed by Cash 4 Clunkers? « America, You Asked For It! | August 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Getting Screwed by Cash 4 Clunkers? « America, You Asked For It! By John Allison, III Of course, if too many people turn to buying those (really) old clunkers, that really are gas-guzzlers, I'm sure our brilliant social engineers in DC will change the rules to take away that option also. … America's Best Choice … America, You Asked For It! – […]

    Pingback by How Old Is America | All Days Long | August 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Great post, John! You hit the nail on the head. I don’t think they want us buying used cars anymore; they want us all in little GovMoters clown cars.

    I’ll drive my toyota 4-runner for as long as I or somebody can keep it running.

    I’ll also drive my RV whenever I want, until they make them illegal.

    Comment by Conservative Pup | August 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Pup!

      Ain’t it great having the government run a huge chunk of the auto industry. When people don’t buy what they produce, they just create a program to get rid of what folks do buy, leaving no choice but to buy their inferior product.

      Ah, Socialism.

      Comment by John Allison, III | August 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. be afraid, be very afraid. not only will we not be able to buy older vehicles, what if we won’t even be allowed to have them repaired? or if the repair are so cost prohibitive that we can’t afford it? our Government Motors vehicle just may need those repairs after our “vacation”. So what are people supposed to do? You can’t f*****g walk everywhere!

    Comment by HELEN | August 3, 2009 | Reply

    • So right Helen. This admin’s agenda isn’t about health care, green energy, job growth, etc. It’s about increasing government control over peoples’ lives.

      Comment by John Allison, III | August 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!

    Comment by johnny | August 7, 2009 | Reply

  6. thank you! I really liked this post!

    Comment by teinby | August 10, 2009 | Reply

  7. Charity car donation centers have seen a decrease in the number of running cars donated since this program started.

    Comment by cars4charities | August 10, 2009 | Reply

  8. Don’t forget that pre-1983 cars weren’t eligible for the rebate, thanks to an amendment added by “lobbyists for the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a Diamond Bar, Calif., group that represents companies that sell parts and services to classic and antique car collectors. The group, as well as classic car enthusiasts, have opposed cash for clunkers because they don’t want older vehicles to be destroyed.

    When the proposals for a clunker buyback program surfaced early this year, SEMA opposed the entire concept because such a program could shrink the size of the market for aftermarket parts. SEMA eventually succeeded in getting lawmakers to adopt the age restriction.”

    How stupid was that? My old ’82 pickup really should be taken off the road, but I can’t afford to buy a new one. I hope that got a big campaign contribution for that! But as for adding $3500-$4500 to the price of a used car, I don’t think so – the program expired pretty fast, so if you didn’t great rid of your clunker than, it just isn’t worth that much more. True, supply was cut a bit by the program, but it really won’t have much effect.

    Comment by Peter | October 27, 2009 | Reply

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