I've got no money and it's breaking my heart, but I've got a federal handout and that's a start.
The cash for clunkers program is far exceeding the government’s expectations. Congress has approved another $2 billion on top of the original $1 billion that was quickly used up.
Under the program, people who, for lack of money, have been holding on to old, gas-guzzling vehicles, can get up to $4,500 to purchase new fuel-efficient cars. This is modeled after programs created by no longer existing financial institutions, which gave people the illusion they could afford homes beyond their financial means.
Though this plan is government sponsored it is also remarkably similar to the recent housing market driven swap in which newly unemployed folks are able to get as much as 10 cents on the dollar for their old home and move into living spaces made entirely of recyclable materials, such as cardboard.
Some have likened this program to the bailouts received by banks and brokerages. Officials point out that it is completely different because in the CARS program the government knows exactly where the money went. “Dealers have to submit forms to get approval. We know exactly who is getting every dollar. We didn’t need to do that with the bank bailout money.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask you all, why the heck not? Why don’t you know where the bank bailout money went?”
“The bank bailout was just a few hundred billion dollars that went to large, failing institutions run by responsible, competent people. These are people experienced in financial finagling with very close ties to the current and former administrations and the Treasury Secretaries – literally intimate friends of Ben Bernanke and many members of Congress over the years. The CARS money is THREE BILLION DOLLARS going to ordinary people on the street. We can’t just GIVE it to them.”