Monday Miscellany

August 10, 2009

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Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers is definitely drawing its fair share of ink, and many people have negative opinions of the program.  I’m not going to defend it in its entirety, because I do believe that the program has flaws, particularly with the low threshold for the $3500 rebates.  However, I will address two comments that seem to pop up a lot.

The first is the comment that this is resulting in perfectly good cars being destroyed – cars that would be a good first car for a teen, or a car for someone who couldn’t afford something nicer.  I get the impression that people think that this is an unintended consequence that was a result of congress not thinking enough about the impacts.  However, this is not the case.  This is exactly what congress intended – to avoid having the useful lives of these cars extended, and getting them off the road.  Whether a 15 mph car is being driven by a 45 year old man, or a 19 year old college student, it’s still a 15 mpg car.  I might be one of the minority who thinks that car with 18 mph or worse combined highway/city mpg is pretty bad.  I’ve never had a car that has come anywhere close to this mileage, and I don’t drive small cars.  Our current cars are in the high 20s.

The second comment I hear is a questioning of the stimulative effect.  In my opinion, Cash for Clunkers is an environmental program with a possible economic impact, not vice versa.  Realistically, there cannot be much direct stimulation as a result of the program.  In the grand scheme of things, three billion dollars is not a huge amount of money.  The best case scenario would be for the program to revive interest in cars, and get people without clunkers to think about buying a car.

Mel Martinez

Senator Mel Martinez of Florida has announced that he will be stepping down before his current term ends.  This puts governor Charlie Crist in an interesting predicament.  Crist had previously announced his intentions to run for Martinez’ seat in 2010 (Martinez had previously announced that he would not seek another term).  As is the case in many states, the governor has the authority to appoint the interim senator.  Crist has said that he will not appoint himself, which gets him into a bit of a pickle.  Whomever is appointed by Crist will be an incumbent for the 2010 primaries.  Incumbents always have a leg up on the opposition.

Crist has a few options.  The first option is to appoint someone who will be a strong representative for the state of Florida – someone who represents that views of the citizens of the state and works hard to achieve results in the Senate.  This candidate could be a tough adversary for Crist in the primary.  Alternately, Crist could appoint a weaker candidate who would be exposed by  a short stint in congress, and would be a sitting duck against Crist in a primary.  The danger with this is that the citizens might not be pleased having sub-standard representation in congress.

I suppose there’s also the third option – that Crist does indeed appoint himself, reneging on his earlier statement.  I’ll give Governor  Crist the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s not dumb enough to try that trick.

It will be interesting to see which direction Crist will lean.  The citizens of Florida would be well served to pay close attention to this process, as it may tell them much about the sort of man Charlie Crist is.

Patrick Kane

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was arrested in Buffalo for robbery, criminal mischief,  and theft of services after an early morning altercation with a cab driver.

The story being told by the cab driver is that Kane and  his cousin paid for a $13.80 cab ride with $15.  The cab driver claimed to only have $1 in change, rather than the $1.20.  The Kanes then allegedly took back the $15 and punched the cab driver in the face.  Police confirmed that the cab driver suffered cuts to the face and broken glasses.

Kane is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.  Perhaps the allegations are unfounded.  If the allegations prove to be true, then Kane suffered a monumental case of bad judgment.  Were he and his cousin owed the 20 cents?  Certainly.  However, this was definitely not the best way to handle the situation.  Noting the cab driver’s cab license and reporting the incident to the proper authorities would have been a better route.  Risking a prison sentence over 20 cents  just doesn’t make sense.

What did you miss over the weekend?

  • Friday featured the first part of the short story Superstar – the tale of a young music sensation.
  • The conclusion of Superstar appeared in the Saturday edition.
  • Tyson Turner pushed Winnipeg front and center on Sunday, selling the city as a tourist destination.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HP
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:51:14

    Good info.
    .-= HP´s last blog ..Work At Home Idea Bin =-.


  2. patti
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:52:06

    My beef with Clash For Clunkers is that the government is using my tax dollars to buy cars for those who chose to buy gas hogs in the first place. That’s the problem with America…citizens not making smart choices and the government bails them out. How are we ever going to get on track if the government keeps bailing out the uninformed masses?


  3. kosmo
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 13:35:58

    Patti – yes, that’s definitely one of the flaws I see with the system. The only good thing is that it’s relatively small (compared to other government programs).


  4. Evan
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 18:49:05

    I’m not sure how I feel about Cash for Clunkers. As a skier, the warm winters we’ve had here over the last several years have me all for some environmental causes. I do cringe at the money our government spends, though. Of course, if the government bails out Wall Street and other big companies, bailing out the little guy for buying an old clunker pales in comparion.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Evernote Windows Hack: Clip Web Pages as PDFs =-.


  5. Jeff from Colorado
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 13:13:59

    Cash for Clunkers probably stems from good ideas but as you point out it is destroying cars that could be used by people that aren’t economically in strong standing. If any administration is in touch with those less fortunate, I thought this was supposed to be it.

    Billions of our hard earned tax dollars are being spent to buy and destroy these cars. Why not limit this program to US owned auto manufacturers? If it is truly meant to stimulate OUR economy, lets at least keep the money here.

    I think the intent was likely good at some point, but we don’t need good intent; we need results. Come on Congress, you can do better than this.


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