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Cash for Clunkers

August 4, 2009 - Cathy Moore


This week the economy was stimulated by the "Cash for Clunkers" program. Some thought it was good and some thought it was bad for stimulating the economy. As for me and my husband we took pride in having a 1991 Cadillac Brougham for the past 10 years and planned to drive it into the ground (or until I was buried into the ground-whichever came first.) The reason my husband and I bought it was that we just wanted an inexpensive quality, low mileage used car, it didn’t matter what brand. It just so happened to be a Caddy owned by the Methodist minister’s father that took great care of it and only drove it to church. Typical used car story.

Then the day my husband heard about the clunker program, he said “We are the poster-child of clunkers, we could get $4,500 easily!”
Luckily, I wasn’t enthusiastic about it because the process was a roller coaster and I wasn't emotionally tied to any form of transportation. I would ride a tricycle or donkey to work if I had too.
So, we walked onto the lot at Tri-Lakes Ford and picked the red car out of the options available under the program. We told the salesperson, Gary, that we would take it. He said it would be ready to pick it up after the weekend, then we got the phone call that the program ran out of money. Is the deal off?

After that, he and every auto dealer in the country was confused and frustrated as the details of the program unfolded. The cars.gov web site was overloaded with inquiries and rumors that money was almost gone. One day it’s on hold, the next Congress is asking for more money. One thing I can say is that auto dealers were running around and working harder than they had since the recession. Cars were flying off the lot one minute, on hold the next until they got word that they would be reimbursed. We were told the money was coming, so we rushed in and got our new car.

 It was sad knowing our old Caddy was going to be crushed when it probably had a few good years left. They even have to put sugar in the gas tank to make sure it is never put on the road again. I felt as though I was leaving my 10 year old dog at the pound that had been part of our family.  But, it had served us well. At least now we will be using less energy, even though the process sapped the energy out of us.

I’m curious how you feel about the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Do you think it stimulated the economy? Do you think the government should have done it before the bail out or not at all? Did you have your own experience with the program? Let me know your comments.

 
 

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