I know, I know. Enough all ready with the clunker stuff. But these clunker programs are such clear and convincing examples of how politically driven and dysfunctional our government has become that I can’t seem to help myself.

And could anything says it better than this cartoon?


If you wondered, why, oh why, the CARS program was frantically rushed into place before manufacturers (particularly the taxpayer supported ones) could put their best foot forward with fuel efficient inventory of cars or the planning of the program could be more fully thought out and implemented? Wonder no more.

As Forbes points out about the Cash-for-Clunker CARS program:

The timing of the government program was politically convenient. One of the most significant beneficiaries is the third-quarter gross domestic product, which will be released in October.

Yes, timing is everything. And for the politicians, it seems, this program was timed perfectly! Unfortunately, GM and Chrysler found out the hard way that badly timed help can be worse than no help at all.

Industry-wide sales topped 14 million units in August as Americans ate up $3 billion in government incentives, but the beneficiaries were mixed. Ford Motor ( F – news – people ) and Toyota Motor ( TM – news – people ) saw sales rise 21.5% and 10.5%, respectively, while Chrysler fell 12.2% and General Motors dropped 17.1%.

Now with the “clunkers variable” removed, there is little to keep Americans buying cars.

So nice to know that congress is really dedicated to maximizing our investment dollars.

And still, the dealers are none to happy. According to Auto News, the National Auto Dealers Association survey from August 27th:

The first national survey of dealer reimbursement under the federal cash-for-clunkers program shows that rebates have been paid on 5.7 percent of the transactions submitted.

The survey also found that 6.3 percent of the claims had been rejected, 2.3 percent had been approved but not yet paid, and 2 percent had no status, said Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association.

Some dealers have complained that they have not been reimbursed for claims filed as early as July 27, suggesting that some applications may have been pending for more than five weeks.

Which leaves, according to my calculator — 83.7% of rebates still pending. Ouch!

Let us not forget about that little $300 million Cash for Home Appliances program that is scheduled to start this fall. You know the one that congress passed on their way out the door for their August break. Less than 30 days later and before the program even has a chance to do its stimulative magic, Whirlpool announces a plant closing in the US.

From Market Watch:

Whirlpool Corp. announced Friday it will close its Evansville, Ind., factory next year, moving the plant’s production of top-freezer refrigerators to a facility in Mexico.

Citing the need to trim manufacturing capacity, Whirlpool said the mid-2010 plant closure will eliminate 1,100 full-time jobs.

…The company said it is also considering relocating its Evansville refrigeration product development center, a move that would affect another 300 jobs. “A decision is expected in the near future,” the company said.

No doubt, the government will decide to raise the ante on the clunker program by a billion or 2 to help “save” other appliance manufacturing jobs as they exit the country.


Now, this one is new, at least to me. There is $28 billion (that’s with a b not an m) in requests for a Cash for Clunkers-type stimulus to expand high-speed Internet service.

From the Sun Times:

The federal government said Thursday it had received requests for a total of $28 billion from groups that want to expand high-speed Internet service in the U.S. The government has $4 billion in loans and grants initially available.

The 2,200 requests came from states, counties, Indian tribes, nonprofits, phone companies, libraries, universities and other groups.

The money will be used to connect rural homes to the Internet, stimulate interest in getting Internet service among groups that don’t use it much and expand Internet access in public locations like schools and libraries.

The bulk of the requests — worth $23.2 billion — are to build out Internet lines
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service will pick the winning applicants and announce them in November.

Wow! They “will pick the winning applicants.” It sounds like the government is running a $23.2 billion lotto!

And not that I mean to be picky, but if only 23.2 out of 28 is going to build out internet lines, where is the other $4.8 billion going. I know its a drop in the bucket by comparison, but I have to say, money sure seems to be burning billion dollar size holes in our governements pocket.

Any other CLUNKERS out there that I’ve missed?

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  • V

    Evicted from Your Brand New Clunker (Sept. 7, 2009)


    Roger Wiegand of Trader Tracks Newsletter finally says what I always figured: “Cash for Clunkers was a real clunker. One out of four auto buyers using this program is having buyer’s remorse as they just signed-up for so many new payments they cannot afford.”

    Full article:


    The used car lots are about to swell again, this time with a high percentage of the 690,000 vehicles sold under the Cash For Clunkheads program that have already cost the US taxpayer an additional $3 billion. If 1 in 4 can’t afford their new payments, which represents 25% of the buyers, this equals 172,500 cars that will now have to be reposessed, auctioned off to wholesalers and will end up on used car lots or as rentals cars.

  • tango

    Oh and here’s another possible way for the Federal Government to collect and spend more taxpayer money -the Federal Housing Administration might need a bailout due to increasing defaults and decreasing reserves:

    “It isn’t clear how the rising losses may affect home buyers. Options for the agency could include politically unpalatable choices, such as asking for taxpayer funds to boost reserves or increasing the premiums borrowers pay for the insurance offered by the agency. Agency officials say if there is a shortfall, they don’t have to do anything except report it to lawmakers. But some mortgage and housing analysts see trouble ahead. “They’re probably going to need a bailout at some point because they’re making loans in a riskier environment,” says Edward Pinto, a mortgage-industry consultant and former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae. “…I’ve never seen an entity successfully outrun a situation like this.”


  • TexasMirth

    CASH FOR CLUNKERS! One more method employed by Congress to spend money they don’t earn. They are so consistent in their bankrupt-America-behavior.

    “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money [to spend].” – Margaret Thatcher

  • tango

    The NAACP has issued a statement in support of Van Jones.

    “It is sad and unfortunate that our nation’s precious airwaves and cable television time are being occupied with the unscrupulous, diversionary tactics launched by right wing extremists such as Glenn Beck. These desperate tactics divert America’s attention and intellectual resources away from issues affecting our families and communities. These life-and-death concerns are being overshadowed by employing ruthless attacks against Van Jones, White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs and dedicated advocate for safe, clean and healthy communities.

    Van Jones has established himself through his many years in public service as a hardworking advocate for positive, progressive change. He is a devoted husband and father. Mr. Beck and the other news services’ portrayal of Mr. Jones to the contrary is not only distracting and disingenuous but harmful and destructive.”

    I don’t remember a NAACP statement issued in support of conservative, black, Kenneth Gladney after he was injured at a health care town hall meeting. The NAACP did issue a national statement condemning the opponents of health care reform for “deplorable antics” and “racially offensive tactics”. But so far it seems the people to be on the receiving end of injuries are opponents, not supporters so that kinda blows their theory out of the water that it’s opponents causing all the trouble. I also loved how the St. Louis NAACP when asked why they didn’t publicly issue a statement in support of Mr. Gladney replied “he didn’t ask us too”. I bet if Mr. Gladney was a liberal, a statement of support would’ve been issued whether Mr. Gladney asked or not.

    • TexasMirth

      The NAACP has issued a statement in support of Van Jones.

      No surprise there.
      I heard earlier today on FoxNews a clip of Van Jones saying only white kids would commit a Columbine. The lecture had something to do with defining evil.
      Jones obviously felt qualified to determine which race has the more evil offspring. I wonder if the NAACP will come out in support of that racist comment.

  • You did forget one Clunkers program that we need to begin immediately, if not sooner. The Clunkers we call the entire federal government. I demand a rebate!

    Tired of having to take screen shots of the ever increasing, suddenly disappearing, incriminating Obama websites? How would you like a tool that allows you to capture a whole web page that you can then incorporate into your blogs so that everyone can read the whole story?

    An End to the Disappearing Obama Act

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but this so-called stimulus thingie just ain’t working out too well for me.

    StimuLESS: The Sequel

  • HARP

    Van Jones Joins the Global Struggle Against America:

    “Who’s the real terrorists? Uncle Sam.” That according to a record put out by Freedom Fighter Music, a label created by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which Van Jones founded.

    Van Jones appears for his cameo (at the 3:50 mark). Jones rants against the “Israeli occupation,” calls for the right of return of the Palestinian people and then puts himself squarely on the side of America’s enemies:


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  • Ferd Berfle

    Thanks for the great commentary, Linda.

    The real problem here is that these obamabozos (and the bushbozos) are only concerned with how THEY will appear–style over substance. None of them have done any homework at all, which should include, by necessity, a fundamental analysis of what their pandering programs will do to the economy in the long run. No, they throw one program out after another, seeing which one piques the public’s curiosity and which creates a thud-like sound. Someone who really wants to solve a problem looks at the process in its entirety, finding areas where improvement can be made, where no improvements are necessary, and where redundancies and dead-ends can be eliminated. It isn’t glamorous work but it is necessary otherwise the stick gets re-invented constantly and the wheel loses its requisite roundness. Frankly, I’m no longer surprised with the shenanigans–the people running this country are bereft of any competence. All they can do is string a collection of words together, which sound pretty but hide the rot contained therein.

    • Linda Anselmi

      Well said Ferd!!

  • Tammy

    I hope she gets a couple of million.
    At least the money is going to a good cause, and not into the pockets of the scum that are running this country.

    These idiots can’t even run a simple cash for clunkers program. Fire all of them. Complete morons.

    Has Obama even gone back to work yet, or is he vacationing from his vacation?

  • tango
    • sowsear

      Too rich for the average Jane…

  • Tricia Spiegel

    We are SO screwed!

    I did a much better deal on my own with buying a new car and it didn’t cost the taxpayers a cent. I sold my old but still good enough car to a private party for $4,500 and bargained $5,000 off the price of a new car.

    I was pretty sure Obama’s lack of experience, making him vulnerable to all sorts of pressures from power people, would spell trouble for all of us. I never dreamed it would be this bad.

    Thanks Linda–great post.

  • betty

    That cartoon is priceless! I am going to make a copy, blow it up and glue a cut out of Betty McCullum’s face on it.

    Although she zig-zaged the whole month of August so that no one could question her, come October she will be mighty visible patting us on the head to get our vote.

    Wait till she sees that poster on a stick. On the back side I will just write:

    Retire the clunker!

  • Sassy

    Any dealership that has depleted a large portion of their inventory and remains unpaid to date is probably having night sweats.
    Whirlpool could do me a favor by picking up the three appliances I purchased from them. What junk! Haul them to Mexico!

  • Diana L. C.

    Linda A.

    Thanks for the post. The cartoon says it all. Our Congressmen are so oblivious to the way they’ve created this problem that they are all into PR mode, doing their best to maintain some type of “popularity” with the rest of the country. It’s a dismal outlook right now for our country. I keep hoping for some clear, intelligent, financially sound leadership somewhere.

  • oowawa

    Cash for Quitters. It appears that there is a large portion of the population that has simply given up. They have been jobless and without prospects for so long that they have quit looking for work; or they have been physically or emotionally disabled and can no longer compete; or they are too old to participate in active society and are really good for not much except for rocking back and forth and dreaming of the olden days. These “people” are no longer useful or productive and are a huge drain on family and community resources

    Bring ’em in for some bucks! The Cash for Quitters program will pay @50,000 for every useless non-functioning human being you turn in to our regional processing centers. And best of all–no questions asked! What happens to them? Our policy is strictly “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Contribute a Quitter Today!

    • candymarl

      Perhaps we can encourage these Quitters, drain on society that they are, to make an end of life decision. Problem solved.

      • sowsear

        Well, we might as well get some money out of the old coots.
        I sent my 90 yr. old uncle a copy of the Cash for Old Codgers Program and he e-mailed back, “What do I get if I turn myself in?”

      • oowawa

        Hmmmmm–yes candymarl, if they decide on their own and turn themselves in to Quitters Central, there should perhaps be a cash incentive–say $60,000 rather than $50,000. O boy–what a great advertising campaign there could be–kind of like the ads for depression drugs, but with a different end in mind: “Feeling worthless? Why not do something good for your family (laughing toddler) and your country (flags wave behind noble O visage). This may be your last chance to get it right! Erase the ‘Quitter’ stigma forever. Be a hero to your loved ones and in the eyes of your country! (Amazing Grace plays over Arlington cemetery). Vince Offer (ShamWow guy) appears holding a fistful of hundred dollar bills–“Call now, cuz you know we can’t do this all day folks . . .Here’s how you can get yours now!”

        • sowsear

          Hey, I’m pretty depressed about our government and thinking about quitting myself!

          • oowawa

            Well sowsear, the new Cash for Quitters program can turn that noble desire to take a restful time-out from the political rat race into a Big Plus for Society and your Whole Family! Let Cash for Quitters turn that sow’s ear of dubious value into a silk purse for all of your loved ones!

            • sowsear

              My Grandpa told me long ago, You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. My moniker was born of the BO presidency.

              • oowawa

                In the BO presidency, the O faithful are going to behold a disturbing sight: the extravagant silk purse is going to turn back into a sow’s ear. The golden carriage is going to turn back into a pumpkin. The glorious strutting king is going to be seen by one and all to be nothing but nekkid. Here it comes: Presto Change-O! Now that’s the kind of change I can believe in–fantasy back into reality!