Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dumbest Fools That God Put Guts In

This is freakin' criminal.
The thing that makes the world better now, compared to 100 years ago, is our "stuff".
Once "stuff" is created, it doesn't have to be re-created for each new user.
Outside of Washington, this is called Progress.
These really are the dumbest fools that God put guts in.

This is a video of how the "clunkers" are destroyed.
Has anyone on that Ship Of Fools considered what this practice does to the used car market, the market that poor people rely on? (As supply drops, prices rise, etc. ?)
Has anyone in that Parliament Of Whores considered the value to the environment of saving 5 mpg, vs the environmental costs of destroying and creating a perfectly good vehicle?

Make your kids leave the room, turn down the volume, and watch this (a fresh coat of Whitening to the GOC for the link.)

I've written 3 consecutive posts about this abortion, and every time I think I'm at a loss for words, something else about it comes to mind. Or I find that Denny at the GOC has posted some Vandal Porn like this.


Jackie D said...

The original funding lasted 8% of the time they thought it would, but they couldn't possibly be wrong about any of their other predictions.

Massive auto loan defaults and a new credit crisis in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Tim Lebsack said...

This video drove it home - it makes me shake - a perfectly good car destroyed. Of course, if you own the car, it's yours to destroy.

The U.S. Congress cannot be this stupid. The only conclusion I can draw is that they are evil. Or am I wrong? Is there some factor I'm not considering?

Co-worker Debra's family of five has 4 vehicles among three drivers. Only the 2004 pickup with 35K miles qualifies.

I own one vehicle, a 19 year old Mazda B2200, 240K miles - does not qualify.

Insane program.

Jackie D said...

I am rather stuck on this issue as well...

As a parent, considering their SAFETY, that used Volvo would have been a great and affordable first car. Low MPG seems like a good tactic for limiting a teen's driving! (Thereby reducing teen accident and fatality rate, resulting in lower insurance costs, etc., but no, fuel economy is more important). My first car was a 'check the gas and fill the oil' type.

Now Mr Transparent Government won't release DOT data on the clunker catastrophe.

Stupid, evil and insane. Does the Congressional Health Plan cover mental illness if it is a pre-existing condition?

Stephen M. Smith said...

Killing every third pig and plowing under every third row of corn.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I work with a group called "Family Pathfinders" that tries to help people make the transition from welfare.
The client before our current one REALLY needed a car.
I look at this disaster, and I look at the needs for transportation, and Tim, I'm like you. As far as the scale goes, the only thing worse is war footage.

Dr Ralph said...

The goal of the program was to get gas guzzlers off the streets and have people buy more energy efficient cars. This reduces pollution and gas consumption, and has shown to increase domestic auto sales (though the program doesn't limit buyers to domestic cars).

It's been wildly successful and has accomplished its goals.

What the hell are you bitching about?

We imported over 4.5 BILLION barrels of oil last year. It probably would have been more but crude hit $140 a barrel and we paid $4 a gallon.

What do you think that's doing to our economy?

The air in the Ft Worth / Dallas area is so filthy it looks like dirty cotton when flying into DFW Airport.

What do you think that's doing to our lungs (not to mention health care costs)?

And yet you consider a car that gets less than 18 mpg perfectly good?

Don't cry crocodile tears for the poor who will be denied your ratty ass gas-guzzling cast-offs. The same people bitching about this bitch about subsidizing public transportation.

Spare me.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

As usual, we disagree on fundamental assumptions. Let's take it paragraph by paragraph.

1) The goal was to reward The Big 3, Detroit, The UAW, and Auto Dealerships.

2) If you start selling dimes for a nickel, you too will be wildly succesful. I also believe this program has accomplished its goals, but only if you buy into premise #1. Riding around in a car, no matter how fuel-efficient, uses fuel. Lots and lots and lots of it.

3) If the imported fuel is cheaper than the local stuff, it's helping the economy quite a bit. But not nearly as much as it would help if those dingleberries would let us drill someplace besides the Gulf Coast.

4) Ever flown over Detroit, where they're busy cranking out the new sanctified cars?

5) Agreed. Burning fuel isn't helping lungs. But if you can trade in an 18 MPG for something that gets 22 MPG, the difference in negligible. Esp. if you consider the offset needed to negate manufacturing a new one and shredding the old one. I'll ask our maintenance department.

6) No car is perfectly good, but I would be delighted with a pickup that got 18 MPG.

7) You're confusing me with someone who would subsidize ANYTHING, anything at all. I generally don't want you to have to subsidize anything that you don't want to, except my Usual Suspects: streets, court system, a little bit o' common defense. All else is vanity, vanity.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

One other thing.

I was shocked, SHOCKED that a goverment program that was designed to give something away ran out of money faster than anyone in Washington anticipated.

Yes. Outstanding achievement.

Dr Ralph said...

Negligible? Let's do some math.

250,851,833 registered passenger vehicles in the US. Of those, roughly 38% are older than 10 years. Let's pretend only half qualify as guzzlers (I'd be willing to be the figure is actually higher) putting us at roughly 47 million cars - average annual mileage of 12,000 miles.

At 18 mpg, this driver will burn 666 gallons of gas annually (auspicious, no?).

At 22 mpg, this driver will burn 545 gallons annually, a difference of 121.

Multiply this by 47 million gas guzzlers. By my calculations this is over 5.5 billion gallons of gas annually.

Negligible? Hardly.

You may not believe in subsidizing (perfectly within your rights) but to mischaracterize the impact as "negligible" is laughable at best.

I'd say more but I have to go burn hydrocarbons in my 12 year old 27 mpg Saturn...

Stephen M. Smith said...

So if we pay $4,500 per car to get all of the 47,000,000 gas guzzlers off the road, we can save 5,500,000,000 gallons of gas a year? Cool. Gas today costs $2.49 per gallon. Over 5.5 billion gallons, that's an annual fuel savings of $13,695,000,000. If we assume all the new cars last 10 years, that's a total fuel savings of $136,950,000,000.

But spending $4,500 47,000,000 times to accomplish this not-insignificant fuel savings would cost $211,500,000,000. Even if every non-gas-guzzling car lasts 10 years, this "savings" will result in a net loss of $74,550,000,000 over the life of the new cars.

Can't imagine why the Feds are losing $2 trillion a year.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

I think all of you Doc detractors are forgetting that Doc and his fellow "Progressives" possess the Magic Keynesian Money Tree, so only a cursory look at the costs of any government program is required.

And the highly concentrated carbon output from the "clunker" in that Volvo snuff-film(and presumably the long row of other snuffed cars shown)?

Unfortunately, it appears that the "Unintended Costs and Consequences" chapter was omitted from the Feel Good Progressive Manual.

Dr Ralph said...

WS - I love it when you dissect me one line at a time. It give me chills just to think of it.

1. Rewarding the Big Three, UAW, etc? Seeing as the US auto industry is in the toilet, I believe the word you meant to use was "stimulate." That's what a stimulus package does. Would you rather all those people be on the dole?

2. So -- staving off unemployment and reducing fuel consumption and a significant source of air pollution is a waste? I guess we will need to disagree here. Yes, driving uses fuel. Your point is? So come out in support of subsidized public transportation.

3. Whether imported or domestic, fossil fuel consumption is still consumption. Reduce it.

4. Yes, I have flown over Detroit. I've driven in Detroit. Not a pretty sight, either way. Your point is?

5. Glad we can agree. You ask your maintenance department, I'll ask the guys who maintain our network. They are about equally qualified to offer an opinion.

6. No car is perfectly good, but a lot are perfectly awful. Are you telling me you drive a pickup that gets significantly less than 18 mpg? Do you regularly haul a trailer or a dozen day laborers?

7. I love you just the way you are, man.

PS: Stephen, not everything is just about the dollar savings. Lowering consumption reduces pollution and health issues. Besides, your figures are based on a constant $2.49 a gallon. 10 years ago, the average cost of a gallon of regular was around $1.10. Remember when gas spiked up to $4 a gallon last year?

If the cost of gas dips back to $1.10 a gallon, we *only* save around $6 billion a year - times 10 years is $60 billion. If it spikes up to $4 (or higher), the annual cost is $22 billion, or $220 billion over 10 years.

Which way do you think prices will go?

PPS: Browncoat - sorry, my money tree doesn't look so good these days. Not enough water. Of course I'm not about to spend the money to water it, so...

Stephen M. Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen M. Smith said...

I agree that not everything is just about the dollar savings. It's also about the immorality of taking money by force from some people to subsidize other people's cars. We've had that conversation enough times in the past, and I know that this doesn't concern you, so I won't bother pursuing it any farther.

And I would expect gas prices to go up over time, but you were the one who starting slinging fuel consumption statistics as a defense of the program. I was merely following your logic to its conclusion, and doing some math as you suggested we do. The breakeven price of a gallon of gas for this program over a ten-year period is roughly $3.85. (At $1.10/gallon there is no savings of $6 billion. The net loss merely grows to $151 billion over the ten-year period).

I wouldn't be at all surprised if gas prices returned to the $4/gallon level at some point over the period in question, but the argument you first put forth is undercut by the fact that gas prices aren't higher than $3.85 now, but the program is in place now.

Dr Ralph said...

Stephen -- alas, we must agree to disagree and respect our differences.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doctor, Stephen,

The difference of opinion seems to boil down to motivations on the part of our Washington employees. Is Cash For Clunkers intended to clean up the environment, or is it intended to help Detroit and local auto dealers?

If it's the former, would it not be more effective to spend a comparable amount of money to take the worst-offending vehicles off the road WITHOUT us having to give a gift certificate to everyone who wanted to buy yet another machine that consumes gasoline?

Dr Ralph said...

WS -- I could be (and frequently am) wrong, but my understanding is that the program's primary purpose is to reduce consumption/carbon footprint and increase fuel efficiency.


This *will* have the additional effect of reducing pollution, and reducing oil imports.

It will no doubt help car dealerships and their workforce. Since it does not specify or require the new car be domestic, it's not a complete wet kiss to Detroit (though it's not going to hurt them).

Still, both of these are secondary benefits. Primary stated goal is to reduce consumption/improve efficiency.

Has anyone bothered to read the exact terms? The official site is http://www.cars.gov but this site has a good summary.

In a nutshell: if the new vehicle is a passenger car, it must get 10+ mpg better than the old vehicle to qualify for the $4500 rebate, 4 - 9 mpg better to get $3500. Different (bullshit in my opinion) rules for trucks, but I guess they had to mollify the bubbas.

Based on this information, I'd say the numbers I argued with earlier would make for an earlier break-even point, but I realize that's not a selling point with you, my homies.

Jackie D said...

Either you are wrong, the environmental experts are wrong or the government has whiffed on their 'primary stated goal' (your words).

Environmental experts say the program — conceived primarily to stimulate the economy and jump-start the auto industry — is not an effective way to attack climate change.

"As a carbon dioxide policy, this is a terribly wasteful thing to do," said Henry Jacoby, a professor of management and co-director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change at MIT. "The amount of carbon you are saving per federal expenditure is very, very small."

Paying up to $4,500 per clunker means the government is spending more than $160 for every ton of carbon dioxide removed over 10 years, said MIT's Jacoby, co-author of the book "Transportation in a Climate-Constrained World."

That's five to 10 times more than the estimated per-ton cost of carbon dioxide for power plants in the cap-and-trade system passed earlier this year by the House.

"Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who examined the clunkers program in an academic journal, said there are far better ways to cut energy use and greenhouse gases.

"It's not that it's a bad idea; just don't sell it as a cost-effective energy savings method," he said. "From an economic standpoint it seems to be a roaring success. From an environment and energy perspective, it's not where you would put your first dollar."

From here .