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Gene Mierzejewski

Maddow Reports on Bizarro World's "Cash for Clunkers"

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Posted on August 23 2009 5:00 pm
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America’s economy is thrashing about like a mastodon in a tar pit, and the nation’s leaders are resorting to reading goat entrails in efforts to solve the fiscal crisis. Thus, it’s only natural that the most popular attempt to pump up the economy is a silly, self-defeating program.

So it goes in Bizarro World.

Cash for Clunkers, I admit, sounds good on the surface — it’s designed not only to get gas-guzzlers and polluters off the road but also to boost gimpy auto sales. But you know, of course, that nothing good ever happens when the brain trusts of Detroit and Congress tackle a “solution.”

The worst part of C-for-C is that it ultimately reduces America’s wealth. Forget about the $3 billion going out to buy the clunkers — think of the “clunkers” themselves. From what I’ve seen and heard, a good percentage of the 700,000 or so targeted cars are still serviceable vehicles. Surely a provision should have been crafted to salvage the best ones for public use instead of the junkyard.

My daughter, for instance, drives a 1995 Honda Civic with about 180,000 miles on the odometer. Its radio doesn’t work, its air conditioning doesn’t work, and its rear defroster (a necessity in Michigan) doesn’t work. She’s spent an average of $600 a year for the past five years to keep it running. Still, she can’t even dream about participating in C-for-C unless she plans to live in a tent and eat from Dumpsters for the next five years.

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That’s only a minor annoyance, though — think of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the working poor who would love to own my daughter’s car, let alone one of the better “clunkers” turned in to the government. Perhaps a better idea — if the auto and federal bureaucrats had even bothered to think about C-for-C’s repercussions — would have been to allot useable cars to local anti-poverty or job-training agencies across the country. Provisions could have been made to assign the cars to the poor so they would have access to jobs. In fact, if a participant earned enough to buy his own vehicle, the “clunker” would be returned to the agency for another poor person’s use.

I guess green highways trump jobs for the needy these days.

But what do I know? I’m only a heartless conservative.

Other than Michigan politicians, auto execs and UAW honchos, one of the biggest cheerleaders for C-for-C is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. She’s so enamoured of the program that she recently (8/21) hailed an honest-to-God capitalist … for inventing a quick and easy way to trash car engines.

Hans Blatter of Castle Products is the proud inventor of the Clunker Bomb, which can destroy an engine in seven to 10 minutes. Just replace a car’s oil with the Bomb (billed as an “engine grenade”), and let her rip. Voila! From functioning machine to waste metal in mere moments.

Maddow praised Blatter for inventing a product that expanded his workforce and wished him continued success in the future. Left unsaid were the facts that Blatter added a mere six new employees, and the C-for-C program expires Monday (8/24) night. Think there’ll be a great call for a car-killing program once the feds stop shelling out $4,500 for older cars?

I don’t think so, but anything can happen in Bizarro World.

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