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Car Culture

Ad Nauseam: What “Cash for Clunkers” Hath Wrought

10:52 AM PDT on July 24, 2009

The government's Cash for Clunkers program officially begins today,
but car dealers have been running ads like this one for a while
already. They have to keep the public informed: Now you can trade in
your old car and buy a brand-new SUV or pick-up truck with a hefty
assist from Uncle Sam.

Here we have the government spending
a billion dollars on about 250,000 vouchers for individual car buyers.
Ostensibly, the purpose is to save some jobs and cut some emissions.
Meanwhile, we're in the middle of a budget crisis affecting transit agencies serving 22 million Americans. Green jobs
and emissions-reducing transportation are on the line. When DOT
Secretary LaHood holds his press event on Monday touting the roll-out
of Cash for Clunkers, someone should ask him how the Obama
administration can justify this dubious car industry subsidy while
hanging transit riders out to dry.

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