Forget about replicating the success of the surge in Iraq: Whoever came up with “cash for clunkers” should be put in charge of everything. The clunkers program ended Monday — under budget — after moving almost 700,000 new fuel-efficient cars through an auto industry in the grip of rigor mortis. To put things in perspective, the whole program cost less than 2 percent of AIG’s bailout.

Handouts to those who surrendered their gas guzzlers in buying new cars totaled $3 billion — chump change by Washington standards. Multiply that figure by 1,000 and consider the impact that the money spent on the financial bailout, including guarantees, could have had. — PS

Los Angeles Times:

Dealers submitted 690,114 applications for rebates totaling nearly $2.9 billion through Tuesday’s deadline, the department said. The program, which offered rebates of $3,500 and $4,500 to motorists trading in a gas guzzler for a more fuel-efficient new car, proved wildly popular. It burned through its initial $1-billion allotment in about a week when it began late last month, causing Congress to quickly authorize an additional $2 billion.

Obama administration officials had hoped the money would keep the program running through Labor Day. But concerns that it would go over its budget led LaHood to announce last week that it was ending on Monday. Dealers could not have been reimbursed for rebates once the program reached its $3-billion limit.

Read more


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.