Cash-For-Clunkers: The Lunacy of C4C

This is insanity.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the WSJ concerning the C4C destruction program:

What Mr. Mueller discovered is that sodium silicate is the designated agent of death for cars surrendered under the federal cash-for-clunkers program. To receive government reimbursement, auto dealers who offer rebates on new cars in exchange for so-called clunkers must agree to “kill” the old models, using a method the government outlines in great detail in its 136-page manual for dealers: Drain the engine of oil and replace it with two quarts of a sodium-silicate solution.

“The heat of the operating engine then dehydrates the solution leaving solid sodium silicate distributed throughout the engine’s oiled surfaces and moving parts,” says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication. “These solids quickly abrade the bearings causing the engine to seize while damaging the moving parts of the engine and coating all of the oil passages.”

The article notes that at one dealership the cars that were rendered forever inoperable included a 2002 Ford Windstar, a 1999 Jeep and a 1988 Dodge van. The van’s engine took the longest of all to seize.

Dispel yourself of any notion that this has a thing to do with the environment. This is a give-away to the auto industry and a lucky few car owners that happened to be ready to buy a car anyway. In the process, perfectly good cars are being destroyed in order to perpetuate a “green” myth.

If anything, this program represents in spades the American propensity to over consume at the expense of considered conservation. The political class is simply demonstrating that they have no clue as to what the road forward should be and in lieu of a plan they choose to fall back on a strategy that encourages the acquisiton of new goods when the existing model is perfectly serviceable.

The real tradegy may be the success that the program is experiencing. One would have hoped that we would have learned a lesson from the past year. Apparently not.

About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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