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Monday, February 09, 2009

Cash for clunkers? No, cash for Japan!

Well, as everyone knows, the federal government bailout program, Cash for Clunkers, ran through a billion dollars of our (taxpayer) money in one week. Good or bad? Well, it was good for those who got $3500 or $4500 for getting rid of a car they didn't want, but it sure wasn't good for the car manufacturers. Or at least not those in the United States.

Want to know the facts? The top 10 clunker trade-ins were all American-made cars: 1. 1998 Ford Explorer,  2. 1997 Ford Explorer,  3. 1996 Ford Explorer,  4. 1999 Ford Explorer, 5,  Jeep Grand Cherokee, 6. Jeep Cherokee,  7. 1995 Ford Explorer,  8. 1994 Ford Explorer,  9. 1997 Ford Windstar and 10. 1999 Dodge Caravan. Every single one of them American-made vehicles.

Compare that to the top 10 vehicles bought, and you'll find that only four of them were American-made, the rest were all foreign:
1. Ford Focus, 2. Honda Civic, 3. Toyota Corolla, 4. Toyota Prius, 5. Ford Escape, 6. Toyota Camry, 7. Dodge Caliber. 8. Hyundai Elantra, 9. Honda Fit and finally, 10. Chevy Cobalt.

So, yes, there will be some savings in gas mileage. And yes, the new car dealers made some money. But how did we, as a nation and as taxpayers come out? Not so good. Most of the billion we spent went right out of the country, overseas.

And what happened to our "investment"? The cars we bought? Many of them were still in great shape, operational and with at least some potential in the used car market. They were all immediately made inoperable, and will be destroyed.

Now that's what I call a huge, miscalculated boondoggle! How many of you are driving cars much older with much lower mileage than even the trade-in clunkers? Wouldn't you have liked your tax money to help you get into one of those cars, and get rid of your older, pollution-causing one?

Now, how much pollution do you think was eliminated by us financing this deal for a few fellow Americans? You guessed it, over the entire lifetime of those cars, it won't be a single day's worth of smoke from one wildfire. In fact, if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases entirely, today, it would be hundreds of years before even the slightest change in "global warming." The world has gone through warming and cooling cycles as long as earth has existed, and will continue to do so. Here's an interesting statistic: for the past 10 years the climate has been cooling—it was the 10 years before that when it was warming.

Yep, you're right. The direction this country is going can only be described as "multiple": the White House is going off in every direction it can think of, hoping that something will hit the mark and actually help. So far, nothing has helped, and everything is confusing, misdirected, and not working. Very similar to the track record that the federal government has on record, in everything it managed or run: a dismal failure.

The only problem here, is that these boondoggles are leaving us and our kids with multi-trillion-dollar deficits that someone down the line has to pay back. And we're already over a trillion, and it hasn't helped a bit. Try putting that into "known" dollar figures, and everything you have and ever will pay into the federal tax system in your entire lifetime probably won't pay for even a minute portion of any of it. Scary.

At least we can still afford a tank of gas to get to the nearest lake or stream, or hunting area. And that's exactly what folks are doing now, staying close to home. Thanks to every one of you for sticking by us here at Western Outdoor News. It's pretty obvious that you, our readers, realize that what we provide in one neat package every week you wouldn't even be able to find on the internet, even if your surfed a hundred sources!

Keep your letters and photos coming! And we'll keep WON coming!

Reader Comments
The US House of Representatives just voted in committee 26-16 to bring to a full house vote The Migratory Bird Habitat and Investment Act. This would raise the duck stamp to $25 with provisions for older and younger hunters to pay the alloted $15 for this season. Republicans were not happy about this bill, and were no doubt the 16 who voted against it. Next time you are on your right of the ATILLA THE HUN attitude remember Democrats PROPOSED this bill and made sure there were enough votes to see it voted on the house floor. Do yourself and the readers of WON a favor and keep tabs on which party sees this through to become law.
Jon Clark
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