Posts Tagged ‘auto’

Obama Causes Official End Of The Nation Of Makers

April 4, 2011

This is something that conservatives saw coming from the very fist days of the Obama administration.  From Cato, February 26, 2009:

Cato begins that article with a quote from Obama from a couple of days previous: “As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day… Not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t. Not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.”

But like virtually everything else, it was a lie.  Obama’s own proposed massive increase in federal spending proved that.  And since Obama took office, he has spent as no government has ever spent in the history of the human race.

And thus is it utterly no surprise at all to anyone but ignorant fools that we are now here:

APRIL 1, 2011
We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers
More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined.

By STEPHEN MOORE
If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That’s less than half of the state’s 1.48 million government employees.

Don’t expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren’t willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn’t pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we’ve gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to “win the future.” The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

California?  Unions?  Consider this from the Los Angeles Times:

California’s $500-billion pension time bomb
The staggering amount of unfunded debt stands to crowd out funding for many popular programs. Reform will take something sadly lacking in the Legislature: political courage.
April 06, 2010|By David Crane

The state of California’s real unfunded pension debt clocks in at more than $500 billion, nearly eight times greater than officially reported.

That’s the finding from a study released Monday by Stanford University’s public policy program, confirming a recent report with similar, stunning findings from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

The People’s Republic of Kalifornia was cursed with a R.I.N.O. governor who championed abortion, a $6 porker giveway for stem cell research, gay marriage, and a whole bunch of other liberal crap.  And the legislature is one of the most overwhelmingly Democrat in the country.  And the only things that have changed is that the People’s Republic is now officially under a Democrat Governor (Jerry Brown) and they actually added a Democrat seat in the legislature.

Illinois was described by NBC as having the worst unfunded pension crisis in the country.  Maybe they didn’t know how bad California’s really was when they reported that.  But more likely, they probably had no idea how bad Illinois’ problem truly was and is, either.

The United States is so screwed it is absolutely unreal.  And that is largely due to unions and the Democrats who support those unions in exchange for votes.  It’s an unAmerican scheme that works like this: labor unions give Democrats big campaign donations and provide the muscle and infrastructure for the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.  And in exchange, Democrats give unions other peoples’ money to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  They don’t give a damn about the 88% of Americans who AREN’T in unions.

Unions are parasites that have sucked the blood out of every industry they have ever seized their vile little talons onto.  Autos, airlines, manufacturing, education government at every possible level – you name it; they’ve ruined it.  And the rest of America is the host that the parasites feed off of.  And Democrats care about the parasites, and not one damn about the rapidly dying host.

And Barack Obama is far and away the most pro-union president ever.  And that was true BEFORE he signed three new hard-core union-agenda executive orders into law.

Obama has just gotten caught red-handed using his ObamaCare to give huge payouts to unions and corporations that advanced his agenda (fascism alert).  Remember that G.E. – one of the corporate beneficiaries of ObamaCare, not only paid zero taxes but actually got money from the taxpayers.

Do you remember Obama’s preacher for over twenty years said, “No, no, no, not God bless America.  God DAMN America.”  And then said that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost”???

You need to understand our actual situation and look at our real debt to understand that AMERICA is the chicken – and Obama has cut its head off and thrown it into a pot of boiling water:

News from globeandmail.com
The scary real U.S. government debt
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NEIL REYNOLDS

Ottawa — reynolds.globe@gmail.com

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report. “Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP.”

This sum is equal to all current U.S. federal taxes combined. The consequences of the IMF’s fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling – and possibly worse than appalling. […]

Without drastic reform, Prof. Kotlikoff says, the only alternative would be a massive printing of money by the U.S. Treasury – and hyperinflation.

As former president Bill Clinton once prematurely said, the era of big government is over. In the coming years, the U.S. will almost certainly be compelled to deconstruct its welfare state.

Prof. Kotlikoff doesn’t trust government accounting, or government regulation. The official vocabulary (deficit, debt, transfer payment, tax, borrowing), he says, is vulnerable to official manipulation and off-the-books deceit. He calls it “Enron accounting.” He also calls it a lie.

Every single one of these massive entitlements that is poisoning America they way Japan’s tsunami has poisoned her nuclear reactors with toxic meltdowns came from the vile minds of DEMOCRATS.  And it is DEMOCRATS who will cause the once mighty America to shortly go the way of the Dodo bird.

Social Security was a ponzi scheme from the outset.  And the only thing that has kept it going was that it is a really, really BIG ponzi scheme.  We find out that FDR – who wanted a massive takeover of the private sector by the federal government – worked hard to kill an amendment offered by a Democrat (Senator Bennett Champ Clark): ” It would have allowed workers to go with the new government system or, if they wished, to have their money put into a private-insurance plan. Either way, the contributions would be mandatory.”  Had that amendment been allowed to pass, it would have forced the government’s filfthy paws off the “trust fund” that they subsequently ripped off for the next seventy years and beyond:

We wouldn’t be saddled with today’s fiscal disaster. Hundreds of billions of dollars that politicians have “borrowed” from the Social Security trust fund for all sorts of pork spending would not have disappeared. Instead, all that capital would have been invested in the economy, leaving us a lot more prosperous. Moreover, the Clark Amendment would have been a model for state pension plans, which are now bankrupting local governments, as well as for other nations.

There was a much better idea from the private sector – but in the end Democrats wouldn’t have it.  They wanted their government fascist control instead.  They didn’t care about the American people; they wanted to be able to raid those retirement funds for their own partisan ideological ends.

Then there was the much more colossal failure known as Medicare.  Ronald Reagan famously warned America about that fraud in 1961:

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Medicare now represents the largest share of our unfunded liabilities today.  The private market could have done a much better job at a much lower cost, but again, Democrats wanted socialism, and they were hell bent upon getting their socialism.

Now we face collectivist bankruptcy.  We were previously told that if current trends held, Medicare would go broke by 2017.  But current trends didn’t hold, because Obama robbed Medicare of $500 billion to fund the ObamaCare boondobble that bears his name.

As the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  And voilà, here we are.

When it comes to how John F. Kennedy viewed the socialist redistribution of wealth via “progressive taxation policies,” you will find that Kennedy was solidly on the side of fiscal conservatives today.  As it stands, today’s vile Democrats are fundamentally at odds with the man widely recognized to be the greatest Democrat president.

As we speak, Republicans are trying to cut a tiny fraction of the bloated, totally-out-of-control federal budget.  And Democrats are demonizing them at every turn for it.  Because Democrats have been using government spending to massively pad the coffers of the government-sector unions who make their elections possible.  And to be a Democrat means you don’t give a damn about America’s future; you only selfishly want – to put it in John F. Kennedy’s famous words – “what your country can do for you.”

God HAS damned America in the person of Jeremiah Wright’s parishoner for 23 years.  And the most ignorant generation in America’s history voted for it.

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Labor Unions: A Century Of Genuine Evil

October 5, 2010

If you’re like me, you never heard of this evil event that was reported in an Los Angeles Times editorial below.  It has been hidden from you, just as the truth about so much history has been hidden by the teachers and historians who were supposed to teach the truth, but instead have fed us on propaganda and lies.

As terrible, and as evil, as the following event was, which has been deliberately omitted from virtually everyone’s history books, it represents only one of many evil and ugly incidents in the history of labor unions.

The blast that rocked labor: The bombing of the Times Building 100 years ago set off a chain of events that devastated America’s unions.
by Lew Irwin
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Page A27, Los Angeles Times

Shortly after 1 A.M. on Oct. 1, 1910, 100 years ago Friday, a time bomb constructed of 16 sticks of 80% dynamite connected to a cheap windup alarm clock exploded in an alley next to the Los Angeles Times.  It detonated with such violence that for blocks around, people ran panic-stricken into the streets, believing that an intense earthquake had hit the city.

The explosion destroyed the Times building, taking the lives of 20 employees, including the night editor and the principle telegraph operator, and maiming dozens of others.  Two other time bombs – intended to kill Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, the publisher of the newspaper, and Felix J. Zeehandelaar, the head of a Los Angeles business organization – were discovered later that morning hidden in the bushes next to their homes.  Their mechanisms had jammed.

Eventually two brothers, J.B. McNamara, who planted the bombs, and J.J. McNamara, an official of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union who ordered the attacks, were arrested, convicted, and imprisoned.

In it’s day, The Times bombing was equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.  It was called “the crime of the century,” and it remains the deadliest crime to go to trial in California history.  It would lead to investigations, arrests and trials of union leaders across the country who, it turned out, funded hundreds of terrorist bombings at mostly nonunion construction projects between 1907 and 1911.  They included officials of the California Building Trades Council in San Fransisco, the ironworkers union and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Indianapolis, the Machinists Union in Syracuse, N.Y., and the Building Trades Council in Detroit.  Hirelings of the union involved in executing the bombings were also brought to trial – 46 members of the ironworkers union alone.  In addition to the McNamaras, who were sentenced in 1911, 39 men were convicted and sent to prison in 1912; five others received suspended sentences.

The testimony during their trials and their convictions devastated the American labor movement, virtually paralyzing it until the New Deal. […]

The terrorism that gripped America 100 years ago is barely mentioned in California history books today…. The bombing is now regarded as an embarrassment to organized labor, which has never gotten around to an unequivocal denunciation of it.

A 1996 history of the Ironworkers Union says that … “The international officers stretched the limits of zeal in a righteous cause.” […]

Former President Theodore Roosevelt reacted against those “foolish sentimentalists” who urged that the McNamaras be regarded with sympathy because they were struggling in a war on behalf of their class, pointed out that all of their victims had been “laboring people.”  “Murder,” Roosevelt said succinctly, “is murder.”

“Bomb.”  “Violence.”  “Murder.”  “The equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.”  The “the crime of the century.”  “The deadliest crime to go to trial in California history” to this very day.  Labor unions.  All of those words and phrases go hand in hand together.

A century of evil.  That’s the legacy of labor unions.

Interestingly, the article points out that the American labor movement was virtually paralyzed until the New Deal.  So let’s pick up with the New Deal.  From “Why Did FDR’s New Deal Harm Blacks?“:

By giving labor unions the monopoly power to exclusively represent employees in a workplace, the Wagner Act had the effect of excluding blacks, since the dominant unions discriminated against blacks. The Wagner Act had originally been drafted with a provision prohibiting racial discrimination. But the American Federation of Labor successfully lobbied against it, and it was dropped. AFL unions used their new power, granted by the Wagner Act, to exclude blacks on a large scale. Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey were all critical of compulsory unionism.

From violent terrorist bomber murders who committed the crime of the century equivalent of the 9/11 terrorist attack to racists who hurt poor blacks.

Thirty years later, the unions got a second chance.  And they were still genuinely evil.

Let’s also point out that while labor unions were being violent racists in America, they were in the process of being the source of the greatest evil in human history in Europe.  It was the labor unions that formed the core of Lenin’s violent communist movement.  The Marxists started out in 1898 by forming the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.  Just as labor unions formed the core of Hitler’s National Socialist German WORKERS Party.

From a 1935 German magazine:

A Socialist Workers’ Government has achieved a workers revolution in Germany without resorting to, tho in some respects it approximates, CommunismAdolf Hitler has done it by wiping out all class privileges and class distinction, but the economics foundation of property rights and private capital has been left almost intact – for the present time.”

“The Third Reich, under Hitler, has wiped out corporate trade-unionism by forcing all workers to join one great government union, the National Socialist Union of Employers and Workers…”

While American labor unions were basking in the light of FDR’s pork barrel political favoritism and doing everything they could to keep poor blacks down, their European counterparts were at work preparing to set the world on fire.

So far, I can’t say I’d be proud to be a member of a labor union.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently appeared before an audience of fellow socialist travelers and said:

“…we need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That’s a long-term job, but one we should start now.

I Hate the Media points out the scary parallels to the ugly history of the past:

“Re-establish”? Wouldn’t that imply that there had once been popular control over private corporations?

Richard. Mr. Trumka. Sir. Pardon our impertinence, but we believe that what you’re talking about here is National Socialism.

As in Adolf Trumka.

Meanwhile, while AFL-CIO head Trumka was flirting with National Socialism, recently retired SEIU president Andy Stern was kissing up to socialism’s more famous sister, communism, saying:

“Workers of the world unite – it’s not just a slogan anymore.  It’s the way we’re gonna have to do our work.”

But let’s get back to Richard Trumka.

Of course, Richard Trumka isn’t just our next budding fuhrer; he’s an incredibly violent and evil man.  Here’s the short version of one story about Trumka:

On the orders of the United Mine Workers (UMW), 16,000 miners went on strike in 1993. One subcontractor, Eddie York (who was not a UMW member), decided it was important to support his wife and three children and crossed picket lines to get to his job. He was shot in the head as he left the job site to go home. UMW President Richard Trumka (now Secretary-Treasurer at the AFL-CIO) told The Washington Times that “if you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you’re going to burn your finger.” UMW strike captain Jerry Dale Lowe was found guilty of weapons charges and conspiracy in York’s death, and York’s widow Wanda sued the union for her husband’s wrongful death. The UMW fought the lawsuit for four years, but settled with Wanda York only two days after federal prosecutors announced that they would share evidence from the criminal trial with York’s attorneys.

The short version doesn’t include the fact that Richad Trumka’s union thugs – in addition to shooting a good family man in the head and murdering him – threw rocks at the rescue workers who showed up to try to save Eddie York’s life as he lay dying.

As head of the United Mine Workers, Trumka ordered a nationwide strike against Peabody Coal in 1993. On July 22, a non-union worker, Eddie York, was shot in the back of the head and killed as he attempted to pass striking coal workers. Picketers continued to throw rocks after York was shot, preventing his would be rescuers from assisting him.[14]. Trumka and other United Mine Workers officials settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Mr. York’s widow out of court in 1997.

And it was following that vicious display of supremely ugly violence that Richard Trumka delivered his “he got just what he deserved” remark.

The executive summary of a 31-page report titled, “Freedom From Union Violence” states that:

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) has recorded 8,799 incidents of violence from news reports since 1975.

And that report was dated 1998, meaning that we’ve very likely witnessed a lot of violence since.

That report is filled with separate accounts of violence.

I could go on and on and on reporting incidents of union violence.  But I want an article, not a 10-part collection of books.

So let’s move on to the newest form of labor union violence: economic violence.

How does an unfunded gap of $3.23 TRILLION in public sector union pensions sound to you?

From The Hill:

Businesses and unions planning to meet on possible $3 trillion pension disaster
By Jay Heflin – 09/05/10 09:04 PM ET

Labor groups will be invited to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to talk about an alarming shortfall in state employee pension plans that some believe could lead to a new government bailout.

Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, told The Hill the total shortfall for state pension funds could run as high as $3 trillion.

That doesn’t count the private sector unions, which are so deep in unfunded pension debt it’s unreal.  SEIU’s unfunded liabilities represent more than 80% of the union’s total assets, for just one example.  And that is just part of a bailout movement that could – gulp – top $100 trillion.

And when the system can’t pay the unions, there will be blood.  We’ll see the kind of violence and outright anarchy that has been gripping Europe in recent months.  Only we’ve got a lot more guns in America.

Labor unions have destroyed every single industry they have ever been allowed to contaminate.  From manufacturing (airline, auto, steel, textile, etc.) to teaching.  And Superman aint coming, because labor unions are the strength-sapping, lethal Kryptonite.

Labor unions have represented genuine evil for more than a century.  And if we don’t vote out the Democrats who use public money to keep their voter-turnout apparatus going in a sick game of political patronage, they will murder this country.

Car Sales Fall Back To Historic Lows, Proving Cash-4-Clunkers Was A Clunker

September 30, 2009

The problem with the liberal-glorified cash-for-clunker program was always obvious to anyone who would but contemplate: the spike in sales merely robbed future sales, or delayed past ones.

My own parents waited for at least a couple months to buy a car for the program to go into effect.  Ultimately they walked away from it due to the massive aggravations of the program (my father is a very patient man unless and until things stop making sense – at which time he starts to lose it) and decided to keep their “clunker” until they needed to buy a new car.

The funny thing is, they very likely would have already bought a new car had it NOT been for the cash-for-clunker program.

September Auto Sales Seen Slumping Post-‘Clunkers’
Published: Monday, 28 Sep 2009
By: Reuters

U.S. auto sales likely fell in September back to the nearly three-decade lows of early 2009 without government incentives to spur buying, leaving in doubt the timing and pace of a recovery for the battered industry.

Nearly 700,000 new cars and trucks were bought by U.S. customers through the government “cash for clunkers” incentive program from late July through the first three weeks of August, a leap from recession-stunted sales earlier in 2009. […]

“There are still a lot of obstacles out there,” she said. “I think we are still going to see the hangover from ‘cash for clunkers’ both in September and almost potentially through the end of the year.”

Sales Drop at All Major Automakers

U.S. auto industry sales rose 1 percent to more than 1.2 million vehicles in August from a year earlier under the “clunkers” program, the first time monthly sales pierced the 1 million mark in a year.

However, none of the largest manufacturers are expected to post sales gains in September, and Edmunds has forecast a 23 percent industry sales decline for the month.

Edmunds expects Ford Motor to post a 9.7 percent sales drop, GM a 46.1 percent drop and Chrysler a 48.7 percent decline among the Detroit automakers.

Edmunds expects Toyota Motor to post a 9.7 percent sales decline, Honda Motor an 8.3 percent drop and Nissan Motor a 1.1 percent drop among Japan-based automakers.

The August sales gain represented a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 14.1 million vehicles, but did little to turn the tide on annual sales. U.S. auto industry sales were down nearly 28 percent through August 2009 versus last year.

Global Insight expects U.S. September auto sales to come in at a 9.33 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate, or well below the 12.5 million unit rate from a year ago when credit markets froze in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The median forecast for U.S. auto industry sales was 9.5 million vehicles from 41 economists surveyed by Reuters, while J.P. Morgan believes the annualized rate could drop to 8.9 million vehicles — the lowest month since December 1981. […]

This comes as no surprise to people who had a clue.  For example, John Quelch predicted in August:

C4C disrupted the even flow of supply and demand. New car buyers held back in advance of the launch of the program; in fact, many prenegotiated with dealers to do so. And, now the promotion is over, expect year-on-year sales to be lower than they would have been because so much consumer demand has been concentrated in the promotion period.

The Daily Plunge predicted:

The auto industry received a short-term “sugar high” at the expense of lower future sales when the program is over. The program apparently boosted sales by about 750,000 cars this year, but that probably means that sales over the next few years will be about 750,000 lower. The program probably further damaged the longer-term prospects of auto dealers and automakers by diverting their attention from market fundamentals in the scramble for federal cash.

And whaddyaknow?  That’s basically exactly what happened.

In addition, the fuel savings came at a very high cost.  In fact, in order to save $815 million in oil via the better mileage of the new cars, the U.S. Treasury had to pay out $2.877 billion.  In other words, for every dollar saved in fuel, the taxpayers lost $3.53 cents.  Some savings.

Poor people – who couldn’t afford to buy a new car with the cash for clunker incentive – will also now lose out on billions of dollars’ worth of used cars that were destroyed under the program.  The price of the cars that would have improved their lives (and their mileage) were shipped to China as scrap metal.  And law of supply and demand guarantees that the price of used cars will go up for the people Democrats always say they’re trying to help.

The cash for clunkers program ought to sound eerily familiar to people who’ve done any reading about the Great Depression, because it was the same kind of program that led to the slaughter of hogs under the Agricultural Adjustment Act (which was intended to raise hog prices but led to famine instead).  The issue here is the same one as back then: the profound arrogance of economic planners who think if they just get enough data, and they turn all the diodes exactly the right way, and if they get all the right memos and all the right forms, that they’re going to be smarter than free market would be.

Big government liberals invariably believe they know how to allocate resources better than markets do — just like the Marxist economic planners did.  And the problem is like that fairy tale about the old woman who swallowed a fly; every single solution they come up with just creates another problem, and then you get this continual snowball effect that just keeps getting more insolvable.

And thus it is with the cash for clunkers thing.  Maybe some of these people who bought a new car didn’t really need a new car; what they really needed was a new refrigerator or a new washing machine – but they got such a great deal on that car!  The government knows better that they needed to buy a new car more than they needed to buy a new refrigerator or a washing machine or a host of other products.  And so the government artificially incentivized people to buy the car that they really didn’t need.  And instead of buying all the things that they really should have bought and WOULD have bought anyway WITHOUT the billions in taxpayer dollars, now people have taxpayer-funded cars they really didn’t need to buy.

So, as an example, were told that “Durable goods orders show unexpected decrease in August,” but it shouldn’t have been “unexpected” at all.  What it was was the opportunity costs due to all the people buying cars instead of other goods.  Like refrigerators and washing machines.

And at the same time, all we’ve really done is rob demand from a couple of years down the road, where these people were almost by definition ultimately going to buy new cars anyway.  Why?  Because they have CLUNKERS, dammit!