Cash for Clunkers

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Has the Cash for Clunkers program been a success?  Justin Fox serves up this tidbit:

By all accounts the program has driven a rush to car dealers. Auto sales in July were at their highest pace in 11 months. In an e-mail to clients Monday, Credit Suisse economist Neal Soss revised his economic growth forecast for the third quarter from 1.3% to 2.0%, and for the fourth quarter from 2.0% to 2.5% — all on the basis of cash for clunkers’ success.

I guess that’s pretty good.  If it’s true, anyway.  My own view has always been that although CfC would normally be a fairly lousy use of taxpayer money, the fact that I, the taxpayer, now own most of GM and Chrysler makes it a little more palatable.  I’m basically using my own money to help keep my own companies from collapsing.  Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  According to Jalopnik, here are the top-ten cars purchased so far under CfC:

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
10. Chevy Cobalt

So we’ve got a single Chrysler model at #7 and a single GM model at #10.  Not exactly a groundswell of support for taxpayer owned auto companies.

Oh well. I just hope Soss is right.  Even if GM and Chrysler aren’t getting much of a boost, an increase of half a percent of GDP for two consecutive quarters seems like a pretty decent return for an investment of a billion dollars or three.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate