But how can someone call an abject failure and waste of tax dollars one of her biggest successes?
Cash for Clunkers, which cost taxpayers $3 billion, was created to give a much-needed jolt to the U.S. auto industry, while also removing older, less fuel-efficient vehicles from the road. In July and August 2009, approximately 690,000 car buyers took advantage of the program.
The gimmick created a short-term spike in auto sales. But long-term, it had some less than desirable effects:
- The program was supposed to help the U.S. auto industry. But a foreign automaker, Toyota, was the sales leader during the Cash for Clunkers program. Almost 20 percent of cars sold under the program were Toyotas.
- The program actually helped foreign automakers increase market share in the United States, at the expense of market share for struggling U.S. automakers like GM and Chrysler.
- A University of Delaware study determined the CFC program was a net DRAIN on the taxpayer, with costs outweighing economic benefits by $1.4 billion.
- There was no long-term benefit created by the program. There was no evidence of new jobs being created, minimal economic stimulus effects and the U.S. auto market suffered a 7 month slowdown following the program that erased any gains achieved during July and August 2009.
Let's be honest here. The evidence shows Cash for Clunkers was a dud, expensive and totally unnecessary. The end result was that YOU paid taxes to purchase cars for other people and U.S. automakers suffered market share losses.
This is Betty Sutton's crowing achievement as your representative - spending your tax dollars, contributing a few billion dollars to the budget deficit and helping foreign automakers.