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Cash for Clunkers, R.I.P. – for now

By Michelle Malkin  •  August 20, 2009 11:01 AM

What a disaster.

A disaster from which Washington will learn absolutely nothing:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood assured car dealers Wednesday that they will be reimbursed for sales made under the cash-for-clunkers program and said the department would soon offer plans to wind down the popular car incentives.

LaHood said the department will announce by Friday how it intends to discontinue the program that offers car buyers rebates of $3,500 to $4,500 for trading in older vehicles and buying new, more fuel-efficient models. Department officials met with car dealer trade groups Wednesday to discuss complaints over a backlog of rebate payments to dealers and how the program will eventually end.

“I know dealers are frustrated. They’re going to get their money,” LaHood told news reporters.

And where is the money coming from? Y-O-U. GM is providing cash advances to dealers waiting for their C4C reimbursements. Via Autoblog:

According to GM, that should give each dealer enough liquidity to keep operating while waiting for the government to cut a check.

Of course, since GM accepted billions of dollars in federal loans to avoid bankruptcy and then, after entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy anyway, emerged as partly owned by the U.S. government, the money’s really all coming from the place. It just seems that GM has a better accounting department than the U.S. Treasury.

And this is how the government defines “success.”

Cash for Clunkers may be ending — for now. But I guarantee you, the architects of this auto entitlement subsidy will be back. The redistributionist impulse is incurable.

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