Why Trash For Clunkers?
Old doesn't mean useless
But with consumers racing into participating dealers to capitalize on the remaining government-supplied stimulus cash in this federally sponsored demolition derby before it all ends Monday, let’s end the pretense: This isn’t about saving the planet via reduced pollution or gas guzzling. Cash for Clunkers is a plaid-jacket come-on designed to sell cars, the type of big-ticket spending that has pulled the country out of past recessions. And that’s fine. But scrapping these so-called clunkers still seems wasteful to me. Sure, some of these cars had one foot in the scrapheap anyway, but others are the used-but-useful machines that younger drivers traditionally count on for their first car or trusty college transportation. And let’s not forget workers and families who just can’t afford a new vehicle. Department of Transportation figures suggest that the first 250,000 cars scrapped under the program, at a cost of $1 billion, saved, at best, roughly a four-hour supply of gasoline in America.
Send the real beaters and smoke-spewers to the crusher. But can’t we find honest work for the cars that could provide service for years to come? Give cars to charities, to displaced autoworkers, to struggling families who need wheels to get to work or find a job. The move would also add some bang to this big-buck program by providing stimulus on both ends of the deal: the new-car sale and the old-car donation. Even an old Mustang that gets 16 miles to the gallon can help someone who helps the economy – even if they do have to fill up a bit more often.
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