Even though the “Cash for Clunkers” program has been deemed a rousing success in the USA, I am opposed to it for two very different reasons.
First, we need to realize that creating an incentive to purchase a car in the short term does not increase the total number of autos bought over the long haul; the government’s initiative only affects the timing of purchase. Furthermore, this artificial boost will certainly delay the auto companies from developing a sustainable model for their industry. And didn’t government intervention via FEMA and Freddy Mac end up distorting the “free market” in the housing industry not so long ago?
But the larger issue for me has to do with precedent. If “Cash for Clunkers” works today, won’t this inevitably lead to a “Dough for Dowdy Dads” tomorrow? Adolescents who tire of their paunchy paters will demand the government play a role in generating what marketers will soon be calling “parental upgrades.” I can hear my own sons’ demanding, “Get me a cool one this time, please!” And what’s to stop spouses from joining in on the fun? Tired of watching Homer spend his Saturdays watching NASCAR while he drools into the popcorn? No more left hand turns for you! Turn that guy in and take advantage of the government’s lay away plan. “Bucks for Baldy” will give women the chance to ditch their follicly challenged partners without the cost or hassle of painful surgery.
UCC students will soon enjoy the “Change for Chums” program. The next time that guy from Martlands starts talking about his summer stay “at our place in the Vineyard,” turn him in for a twoonie. One IB2 student was overheard saying, “Talk about being ‘ignited’!I can’t wait to see all my friends next month. I just wish they’d have brought the Grade 7 guys up the hill, too!” Some may scoff and say that a few coins isn’t worth the emotional cost of brotherly betrayal, but if you’ve got enough friends… then you’ll understand what we mean by “change you can believe in!”