Cash for clunkers: high-cost chase of high-minded goals

11/11/2013
A furious controversy over stumbling health-care law provides useful context for assessment of an earlier meddling by the US government in economic behavior. Of course the Car Allowance Rebate Scheme of 2009, better known as cash-for-clunkers, was far smaller than the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Like Obamacare, though, the CARS program pursued high-minded goals with incentives to buy products the government deemed superior to what Americans already owned. With CARS, the ideals were economic stimulus in service to job creation and energy-use abatement in service to mitigation of climate change. The program offered $3,500-4,500 to motorists trading in vehicles for new mo...
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