The Morality of Cash for Clunkers

I received an email from a friend recently talking about how they traded in their old car for a brand new one and made use of the government’s cash for clunkers program to sweeten the deal by $4,500.  My first reaction was to sarcastically think to myself, “I’m glad my taxes could help you get a new car.”

This got me thinking about  the morality of cash for clunkers, and if I would have the fortitude to turn down such an offer if I had a car that qualified (which I don’t). Since then, I have been debating myself on the pros and cons of participating in the cash for clunkers program.  Below are my thought; I’d be interested to hear yours.

Argument Against Cash for Clunkers

As a conservative, classic liberal, and constitutionalist, the cash for  clunkers program is nothing more than a re-distribution of wealth.  The only way for the government to have money to fund this program is by taking it from other Americans.  Cash for clunkers is an unnecessary expansion of the power, scope and reach of the federal government.  It is just one more step down the road to socialism our country has taken.

Argument in Favor of Cash for Clunkers

But while I would never enact for such a program and I would never support a politician who did, it would be very difficult not to participate in this program.  The program exists and will be utilized whether I participate or not.   They take my money, through taxes, without my permission, so I would feel justified in taking some of it back.

And besides, where do you draw the line?  Every government program is funded by tax payers (well, except the trillions in spending the China is funding, but we’ll get to that in a minute).  Is it immoral to receive any benefits from the government?  What about Pell Grants?  Those got me through college.  What about driving on publicly funded roads?  That would be silly not utilize those services that our tax dollars fund.

A Line Must be Drawn

But a line must be drawn somewhere, or our already out-of-control government will continue to grow larger and larger, and erode more and more of our freedoms.  This year’s federal deficit is projected to be $1,800,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 1.8 TRILLION dollars). President Obama’s pork-filled stimulus spending is one of the primary reasons for this tremendous debt being inflicted upon all Americas.  (see US deficit forecast to be four times last year’s record)

Experts say the poor economy and lower tax revenues is the other main reason for the shortfall, but if you ask me the two are linked.  Studies have shown that ill-conceived government programs prolonged the Great Depression and this is exactly what is happening again.

Asian Countries Benefiting Most from Cash for Clunkers

The problems with cash for clunkers and other excessive government programs doesn’t end with power grabbing US politicians.  Just today I read this story by Stephen Manning of the Associated Press called Asian companies see Cash for Clunkers boost.  It turns out that when people turn in their clunkers, eight of the top-10 vehicles purchased in exchange are made by Japanese and South Korean companies.

This means that the money used to fund cash for clunkers, which was borrowed largely from China, is flowing right back out of America into Japan and Korea.  In other words, cash for clunkers isn’t jump starting the American economy, but it is helping China, Japan, and Korea.  It seems our country is committing suicide, and supporting evil Communist regimes like China in the process.


With every government program that spreads the wealth, as Obama admittedly wants to do, we become a little more addicted to big government.  Socialism and Communism have failed everywhere they have been tried, but that’s not stopping China and other countries from benefitting from our countries sharp turn left.  Obama, the Democrats, and Socialists that support his agenda are saddling Americans for generations to come with massive debt and government control that will be difficult to ever scale back.

I know it’s a hard choice to make, but let’s do everything we can to fight unnecessary expansions of federal government like the cash for clunkers program.

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