All Good Things Must Come to an End
Including Cash for Clunkers. This sentence sums up the experience:
President Barack Obama said in an interview Thursday that the program has been “successful beyond anybody’s imagination” but dealers were overwhelmed by the response of consumers.
Giving out free money (or paying above the market rate, which amounts to the same thing) is a wildly popular policy. No one should be surprised by consumers’ robust response to the opportunity to get something (cash) for nothing (a clunker, by the program’s own admission).
It’s strange to call a program “successful” when it did little more than squander wealth — and so quickly that even Washington politicians realized it couldn’t continue.
Although Cash for Clunkers will drive into the sunset on Monday, the idea lives on in a multitude of other policies that offer attractive payment in exchange for ubiquitous antiques. Like gun buybacks, for example.