Cash for Clunkers Returns

by Eric Peters

Bad ideas set bad precedents – the thing usually gets done again, or gets expanded on. So it’s no big surprise that Colorado has decided to emulate the federal “cash for clunkers” program that was conceived and implemented by Uncle to “stimulate” demand for expensive new cars by destroying as many affordable used cars as possible.

Of course, it’s not being presented that way – the honest way.

As before, it is being framed as an Earth-saving measure. Anything not new – with the latestemissions control equipment – is ipso facto “dirty,” in the brilliantly deceptive demagoguery of the government -corporate nexus.

And yes, it is a nexus. The both of them, hand in hand – skipping together toward The Future.

The car industry used to be at odds with the government – fought or at least resisted Uncle. But like the character Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984, the car industry has come to love Uncle, the difference being that torture wasn’t the necessary inducement.

All it took was money.

The car industry saw that Uncle could put money in its pockets with less effort than it took to convince people to freely exchange it for something of value to them. This transitioning took place beginning in the ‘90s, when the industry realized it was less work – and more profitable – to install air bags in cars (as many of them as possible) rather than oppose the government’s mandating them.

Since then, the industry not only hasn’t fought Uncle, it has eagerly suggested new mandates at regular intervals – the latest being Volvo’s near-demand that a fatwa be issued decreeing that all cars be programmed such that they cannot exceed the posted speed limit.

But there is a fly in the soup.

These things cost money. New cars wax unaffordable  – even when the payments are extended over as many as seven or eight years, as has become typical. People “cling”  to their older – and paid-for – cars.

Enter the crusher.

But first, there is PR work to be done. See the earlier business about characterizing practically anything that hasn’t still got plastic on its seats as “dirty” – and shaming those who drive them, in order to try to get them not to.

If it were true, one might not object.

The problem is that “dirty” is to the cars threatened with destruction as “denier” is to the “climate change” shibboleth. Once you shovel away the hysteria – and the deliberate exaggeration – you find some facts.

With regard to “climate change,” there is the fact of an approximately 1 degree measured “change” in the “climate” – which may or may not be the result of human activity. There are other possible factors, such as solar activity cycles, which have been dismissed because they don’t fit with the preconceived theory (in the scientific sense) which preceded the hypothesis (also in the scientific sense) which was foreordained to be a theory – like the theory of gravity  – before it was actually confirmed scientifically.

We are instead practically burned at the stake if we don’t just believe.

In any event, 1 degree.

It isn’t much but it’s been hystericized into Imminent Planetary Catastrophe unlesssomething is done right now – preferably before people have had time to think about it. This is always a sound plan. It is also the impetus for the EV Agenda – and that ties in to the crush those clunkers agenda.

They must go – because they are “dirty,” the demagoguery used to paint them as literally unsanitary, mechanical bacilli that must be exterminated.

That language isn’t new, either.

A certain mustachio’d fellow was very fond of using similar verbiage to justify the getting rid of people he didn’t want around; but of course that was just the pretext – as it always is, whether we’re talking about human beings or vehicles or any of innumerable other things.

The object is always – power.

And if you can make some money in the process, all the better.

As regards this “dirty” business. It is of a piece with the 1 degree business. It is true older cars emit more of various emissions. But it is only very slightly more – that qualification never added when this issue is discussed in the general press. The difference in harmful emissions emitted between a circa 2000 model year vehicle and a 2019 model year vehicle is as meaningful as the 1 degree difference in temperature undergirding Planetary Catastrophe Theory – which by the way is only a decade away, according to the most hysteric priests of the cult.

The Environmental Protection Agency finished its work back in the ‘90s – when more than 95 percent of the harmful effluents of internal combustion were cleaned up. Observe the absence of smog, the ubiquity of clear skies everywhere.

So make-work had to be invented.

The public had to be lied to – or at least, not told the whole truth, which amounts to the same thing. Fractional differences in emissions were – and are – characterized as Great Leaps Forward. We have cut tailpipe exhaust pollution by 50 percent! Yes, indeed. But the very fine print – if there were any – would explain that this “reduction” is 50 percent of 1 percent, or even less than that.

And – conversely – that the emissions of not-new cars are vastly greater and implicitly – now explicitly – a Mortal Threat to the Planet – and accordingly, these “dirty old cars must urgently be gotten rid of.

Enter Colorado.

Or rather, the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. It has created a “nonprofit” entity, the Clear the Air Foundation – which funds the crushing of “dirty” old cars so as to prevent their being available for purchase by people who cannot afford a new one – or who prefer not to be saddled with debt for the next 6-7 years for the sake of owning one.

“I care, too,” says one of the Clear the Air Foundation’s principals, Lee Payne – who also happens be the owner of a couple of mega-dealerships – Planet Honda and Planet Hyundai – that have an obvious financial interest in getting as many used cars off the market as possible.

“As the technology gets better, you have to replace it,” says Payne – who will be pleased to finance all that new technology.

He adds: I see those same cars (those “dirty” old cars) getting stuck on a truck and going out to rural Colorado…”  in other words, re-sold to people of modest means (or who prefer to live within or even below their means) outside the Big City and beyond the orbit of mega-dealerships and their low, low financing.

“I don’t want to leave a filthy” world for (his) “kids and grandkids,” says Payne.

But a large trust fund would be just the ticket.

The Clear the Air Foundation has “collected” (and destroyed) at least 3,760 “dirty” old cars so far.

The one good thing about this scam is that it’s not funded by taxpayers – and no one is being forced to hand over their “dirty” old car.


But, Colorado is becoming – is almost – another California, less the beaches. It wants the same – or very similar – “stricter” emissions standards and “zero emissions” (i.e., electric vehicle) mandates that CA has, which will amp up the pressure to get rid of those “dirty” older cars – in order to nudge people into new ones.

Financed for you by your friends at the Colorado Automobile Dealer’s Association.