Cash for Clunkers: Why it was a flop

Cash for Clunkers may be the poster child for how it seems to be bad news anytime everyone in Washington, D.C., agrees on something. It was proposed in the midst of the flurry of stimulus programs during 2009, and sailed through both houses of Congress largely because it appealed to a variety of groups – it was supposed to boost U.S. car companies, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gases. It was a politician’s dream bill, and it was a total flop.

Today, after a few years to study Cash for Clunkers’ impact, we know it was anything but a success. Multiple organizations across the political spectrum have found the environmental impact to be negligible, the paltry 3,000 jobs created cost more than $1 million each, and the cars sold would have been sold anyway.

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