Friday, August 28, 2009

Meany Greenies--The Democrats and the lessons of the Cash For Clunkers program

They are not my lessons, but Irwin Stelzer lays them out in the Washington Examiner. I like point out two:
Second, the government's talents, whatever they might be, do not include efficient administration of its programs. The 135 pages of rules setting out what dealers had to do to recapture the refund money they laid out, were constantly changed, the web site they were to use to apply to get their money back frequently crashed, and some had to drop out of the program because they had run out of cash.

The Department of Transportation assigned 2,000 workers to process dealer paperwork, but they seemed unable to get the money to dealers who, having laid it out in response to promises of prompt repayment, desperately needed the cash. So if you think the President's plan to "reform" health care will make it easier to cope with the paperwork surrounding hospital and doctor's bills, think again.
That such a matter needed to be pointed out should go without saying. I have heard a lot about health care and the government's poor administration of health care for Medicare and/or the Veteran's Administration. If you need another example, how about this one in which between 600 and 1200 (depending on who you believe) veterans were mistakenly informed that they had ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) because of a computer coding error. That the DOT is not any better than the bureaucrats at the VA shouldn't come as any surprise.

But this lesson from Stelzer is priceless:
Seventh, programs such as Cash-for-Clunkers have no regard for lower-income consumers. By mandating the destruction of trade-ins, Congress removed 700,000 cars from the used-car market, inevitably driving up prices of the cars that lower-income consumers tend to buy.

And by ordering that a trade-in's engine be destroyed by replacing its engine oil with a sodium silicate solution (which turns out to be in short supply!), Congress sharply reduced the salvageable used parts that are bought mostly by poorer consumers to keep their cars running.
That's right, the party that is supposedly the champion of the poor and downtrodden has just dramatically increased the price for poor people to get used cars or to keep the ones they have running. Nice, real, nice.

So the Democrats need to start calling themselves the Meany Greenies since they have been hijacked by the environmental movement rather than moving to help the poor and downtrodden.

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