Why restrict Cash For Clunkers to auto industry?

cash for clunkers
cash for clunkers

Lost in the gloating over car sales figures tied to the Cash For Clunkers program is the original intention -- to help clean up the environment by purging the roads of exhaust-belching jalopies.

Instead, the legislation has become a handout to the auto industry, or, more accurately, another handout to the auto industry.

The short-term stimulation to the market only demonstrates the most intractable problem facing the auto industry; its cars run are too good, so we don't need as many as it produces. When the vehicles it builds will run for 15 years and 200,000 miles +, how can they convince people to give them up early?

These clunker drivers apparently are willing to drive cars for a long, long time, and now that they have new cars, you can cross them off the customer list until 2025 or so.

If we intend to use such programs to both improve the environment and boost retail sales, perhaps we should spread the wealth around.

Rather than drop another $2 billion gift on the car industry, how about a "Cash for Clunker Refrigerators" program that replaces inefficient, freon-eating monsters with new energy star models?

Or expand the "Cash For Clunkers" program to include motorcycles? Taking two-strokes machines off the trails would be a big improvement to our air quality.

The powerboat industry, the motor home manufacturers and retailers, school bus builders, lawnmower retailers, and many other industries could use the help of such a program, and offer ways to replace polluting products with ones much friendlier to the environment.

Haven't we dumped enough money into the auto industry? There are a lot of other workers around the country that could use a stimulus boost, if the administration is determined to drop another $2 billion into the pool.