No Cash For Clunkers

The news flash was certainly a jolt to the mental solar plexus on Thursday night, as the popular Cash for Clunkers program has run out of money, after only being in operation for a week.

Yep, you read that right.

The program, which offered consumers vouchers of either $3,500 or $4,500 to trade in their older cars for more fuel efficient and lower emission cars and trucks was such a huge success, that it was in danger of running out of money.

Originally, Congress wanted to fund a $4 billion program, but Democrats instead stuffed the plan into a war funding bill earlier this year, making it a four month, $1 billion dollar effort.

Well, that one million was going fast, like real fast, so fast that the Transportation Department on Thursday night was calling Capitol Hill with the message that the program was being put on hold.

As I write this just after midnight, there are efforts underway to find new funding for the program.

I don't know if that means extra money being coughed up by the Congress.  If so, then lawmakers will have to act today, because the House is about to go out of town on the August recess until after Labor Day.

Of course, I'm sure a lot of people would say that there's billions in money from the stimulus law sitting around still, which could just be transferred over to the Cash for Clunkers effort.

Oddly enough, this program was poo-poohed by a lot of people as something that wouldn't work. 

Instead, it really spurred demand, and got people to buy new cars.

And in my world, it got car dealers to buy advertising again on the radio.

I can't see Congress letting it expire.  We'll see what happens today.

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