Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A critical look at Betty Sutton's failed pet project, Cash for Clunkers

Betty Sutton's campaign frequently points to 2009's Cash For Clunkers program as one of her major successes while serving in the House. Sutton was the sponsor of the House version of the bill and was instrumental in its design and passage.

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:

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.

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