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Snap Poll

Readers split on Cash for Clunkers’ economic impact

55% say trade-in program is good for environment

Readers were divided right down the middle when asked whether Cash for Clunkers is good for the economy, while a slight majority says the program will help the environment.
President Barack Obama signed a bill last week that adds $2 billion to the U.S. government’s Cash for Clunkers program, saying “now more American consumers will have the chance to purchase newer, more fuel-efficient cars and the American economy will continue to get a much-needed boost.”
Under the program, a customer who trades in a vehicle rated at 18 miles per gallon or less qualifies for a government voucher of $3,500 or $4,500 to purchase a new car rated at 22 mpg or more. Officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, the program ran through its initial $1 billion in a matter of days.
RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents were divided equally when asked if the program is good for the economy. Of the readers who responded, just 6 percent have personally participated or plan to participate in the program.
Roughly 625 readers took part in this week’s poll, which was conducted Aug. 10 and 11.

In your view, is the Cash for Clunkers program good for the economy?

No: 50% Yes: 50%

In your view, is the Cash for Clunkers program good for the environment?

Yes: 55% No: 45%

Have you personally participated-or are you likely to do so-in the Cash for Clunkers program?

No: 94% Yes: 6%

Comments:

The program essentially sucks the majority of future auto sales to current days. The auto sales will plummet for months to come after the program is over. … Now the new-car dealers are doing great business at the expense of the used-car dealers and auto repair shops. When the program is over, the new-car dealers, used-car dealers and the repair shops will all be in the dump.
-Patrick Ho

I happened to stop at two car dealers yesterday. I was amazed at how few new cars they had available. The salespeople said they were pretty much sold out because of the Cash for Clunkers program, which was tremendous for their business. If that isn’t the biggest stimulus to get automotive manufacturing cranking up, suppliers busy and people back to work, I don’t what is.
-Rick Corey, Penfield

(Given) the reality of where the profits of the new vehicle sales are going-Japan, Korea and other foreign nations-this is of no help to our already struggling automotive industry. I have spoken to more than one domestic auto dealer in the area who considers this program to be a nightmare.
-Steven G. Poyzer

Our biggest problem now is that people are sitting tight, hunkering down. This is a program that moves the consumer. Should the taxpayer pay to get the consumer moving? Yes!
-Jay Birnbaum

Like other “quick-fix” ideas, no one has calculated the economic and environmental impacts, positive or negative, of the Cash for Clunkers program. A few years back, we had a rush to ethanol production because it was “renewable energy,” only to find out that the price of corn and corn products skyrocketed.
-Thomas Mulford, Genworth Financial

Job incentives and creation are the best programs. However, the Cash for Clunkers is the first program to directly affect the average public. It’s good for the public, good for car dealers and good for the overall economy.
-Ed Schlueter, president, Medgraph Inc.

Cash for Clunkers is welfare for car buyers. The government has no business taking my hard-earned money and giving it to someone else to buy a car. If people cannot afford new cars without this program, they have no business buying them. Meanwhile, I’d like to use my earnings to support my family as I see fit, such as saving for a new car.
-Debbie Gleason

Cash for Clunkers is a nice idea; however, I’m not sure how likely it is to be effective. It will be good for the environment only if people choose to use their rebates toward significantly more fuel-efficient cars and drive in moderation.
-Rosalie Mangino-Crandall

Disposed of our 12-year-old minivan a year earlier than anticipated by successfully negotiating a deal for a new domestic car (Ford). With rebates, C.A.R.S. program and discounts, we saved the equivalent of a year’s worth of car payments.
-John Osowski

While it is good to get more efficient cars on the road, I question whether the long-term costs to the taxpayer are a good investment in our future.
-Mark Rothrock, HM Cross & Sons

08/14/09 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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