Cash for Clunkers: Reward for the Shortsighted

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2009 10:52 PM CDT
Vehicles traded in as part of the government's "cash for clunkers" program are parked at a junkyard in Sun Valley,Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file)
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(Newser) – Anna Shaff drives a 1986 Volvo station wagon that is a clunker in every sense of the word—except the official one. It doesn't qualify for the Cash for Clunkers program, and that has Shaff a little ticked. After "almost 24 years of frugality," she'd love to get rid of the creaking, dripping mess with the help—or reward, maybe—of a $4,500 rebate, she writes in the Washington Post. Instead, she has to sit back and watch as those who bought newer Hummers and monster SUVs cash in.

She doesn't get the logic: "If you have been so socially irresponsible or economically privileged that you bought anything on four wheels that averages below 18 mpg within the past ozone-depleting decade (or, innocently, during the 15 years before that), you get a second chance," she writes. "You win the brass ring for social disengagement and lack of foresight. If, on the other hand, you have scrimped and saved and made do for the sake of greater priorities, you draw a dunce cap."