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In Case You Missed It: ‘CASH FOR CLUNKERS’ BOONDOGGLE IS NEW HAMPSHIRE NIGHTMARE
08.04.09

In Case You Missed It: ‘CASH FOR CLUNKERS’ BOONDOGGLE IS NEW HAMPSHIRE NIGHTMARE

Reports coming in from across the state call the program ‘inefficient, ‘poorly executed, a ‘horror show’

 HOW CAN THE FEDS RUN HEALTH CARE IF THEY CAN’T SELL CARS?
 
By Ali LaFay
August 4, 2009
 
“New Hampshire residents are flocking to local car dealerships to trade in their gas-guzzling vehicles for more energy-efficient ones, thanks to the federal government's Cash for Clunkers.
 
“The program, which began a week and a half ago, was almost shut down over the weekend because of a rapidly diminishing money supply — but local car dealerships said that's not the only problem.
 
“Emmett Horgan, owner of Rockingham Toyota Nissan in Salem, described the program as ‘nothing short of a horror show.’
 
“Although Horgan has sold more than 75 vehicles through the program, which offers buyers a $3,500 to $4,500 cash allowance for trade-ins, he said it's been poorly executed.
 
“’There's a lot of unanswered questions,’ Horgan said.
 
“One of those unanswered questions is how much of the program's $1 billion budget has been used up. Technical errors have prevented dealers from submitting required forms, so the government has been unable to track the number of cash allowances spent.
 
 
“Horgan said one of his main concerns with the program is not knowing if the federal government will be able to pay him back.
 
“’How do you know when the money is going to run out?’ Horgan said. ‘The frustration is high and, unfortunately, the consumer doesn't really have the full story right now.’
 
“Troy Allen, president of Allen Motors in Derry, said his biggest problem has been filling out the forms.
 
“’We've got about two or three people here and we're all sitting with the form up on the computer screen in front of us trying to figure out how to do it,’ he said.
 
“Allen said he called several government agencies but hasn't heard back from any because they are so overwhelmed with phone calls from other dealers.
 
“Another concern for dealers is the fact that the cash allowances given to buyers are considered taxable income.”
 
 
By Lynda Bettcher
Op-Ed
August 4, 2009
 
 
“On Tuesday, our salesman calls saying computer glitches are preventing them from completing deals and it will be another day before we will own the 2010 tricked-out Corolla. On Wednesday, the news is dire; computers are crashing faster than drivers at the Indy 500. We aim for Thursday. By Thursday afternoon the media is reporting that money is drying up fast and I am fretful. But, finally our dealership has managed to put through two deals successfully and we have an appointment for Friday, July 31 to pick up our ride. Then IT happens. The program is being suspended, or not, or maybe, or something that is not good. Our salesman calls Friday around noon to say the dealership is ‘putting the brakes on and scrapping the clunker program,’ in those metaphors car people use. Our deal is dead; our joy ride on the rebate express is over.
 
 
“Maybe what Barack Obama actually had in mind was a program that would stimulate the health care industry by making everyone crazy.”
 
 
Editorial
August 4, 2009
“By the standards of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, spending $1 billion to get a quarter-million Americans to buy cars that get four more miles per gallon is the very definition of a successful government program. And so Cash for Clunkers is proclaimed a huge victory.
“But Congress forgot to kick the tires on this baby. On the positive side, sales are up at auto dealers. Yet auto industry analyst J.D. Power & Associates figures that 200,000 of the roughly 240,000 purchases made under Cash for Clunkers would have been made anyway. People who were already shopping for a car simply grabbed free government cash.
 
“And where does the money for this program come from? Oh, yeah. Washington borrowed it. To subsidize new car purchases mostly for people who would have bought one anyway, we are going to pay interest on at least $1 billion, possibly $3 billion -- for decades.”
 
 
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