Yeah, we all love the sight of the government paying people to turn in their gas-guzzlers for fuel-efficient cars — it’s the perfect combination of targeted economic stimulation, government incentive for responsible consumer choice, capitalism and socialism, and it’s great to see Republicans stammering as they try to justify their opposition to such a popular program. But: studies indicate that, factoring in the energy involved in making the new cars, and all the many more miles people will drive now that they have to spend less on gas, cash-for-clunkers is at best an inefficient way of slighting reducing emissions over the course of several years. It’s a net positive, for sure — but it looks better than it works.
Arguably more pertinent, though, is the implicit message of what is after all an incentive to buy cars: it trains us to think that the answer to waste is more consumption.
Plus, you know, as we learned from Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal fuel-efficient cars are for pussies who hate Springsteen and America.