Monday, August 31, 2009

Rebut follow up

This is a follow up to my original cash for clunkers posts. For those that can’t seem to write a comment without racial or ethnic slurs, I moderate my pages on the web and delete that type of screed. If all you want to do is scream F bombs at the top of your voice I delete that type of thing as well. Bring facts to the discussion and the occasional swear is part of the language, shouting obscenities because you have no ideas is par for the conservative cause I find it tiresome.
The program was a huge success. 690,000 cars were sold in a month due to the program but auto sale were pushed above the rate of 10 million for the year for the first time since 2008. This has reduced inventories and sped up production for several auto makers. This was the primary purpose, Temporary filling of the demand gap caused by the recession. Will it last? We will have to wait and see. The car lots here are empty of New small fuel efficient vehicles.
The average fuel economy increase was 58 % from 15.8 to 24.8. We did better at 70% but the total while better than nothing is small in the total scheme of global warming.
I was surprised at the hatred shown for a couple of disabled veterans. The idea that those living on fixed incomes are some how irresponsible. The idea that a couple of guys that took responsibility for defending the nation are not responsible enough to pay their bills seems counter factual.
The economic activity that the program produced was huge but it did point out some problems that need to be addressed.
The contacting out of services has been a total disaster. The private sector is so incompetent that it cannot seem to do anything. that’s right the private sector. All this complaining about bad web site design and poor service should be directed at the Citi Group, a private contractor doing a typically haphazard job just as the private sector always does.
The car dealers that knew they would have to front the cars were typical corporate scum and screwed the consumers to the wall. It was not the government screwing up at every turn but the vaunted private sector.
The Idea that 1.4% of the market would have a devastating effect on a market that was already 22% off seems preposterous on its face. This is the CARS is killing the poor and destroying mom and pop used car dealers.
People are getting rid of all these great cars for the 4500 dollars is the most common lie I come across. In 2005 I bought X good mileage car and my neighbor bought Y gas guzzler and he can trade his in and I can’t get a new car and I am paying for his. Bull from the jump. As you only got 4500 dollars maximum the trades were crap. Every time the blue book proved them to be misinformed ,to be kind ,although most of these sock puppet commenter’s were simply lying to create propaganda.
Could it have been done better? Yes, but large bureaucratic structures are not conducive to rapid movement. The economic modelers are either no good or are not being listened to. The bill was written very craftily to encourage rapid movement and to require the industry to bear part of the risk. The Dealers being skanks was obvious to anyone outside looking in. Car dealers are conservatives, they hate the government that hands them subsidies hand over fist so they want Obama to fail but they will of course profit from it. That and gap financing would have eaten into the profits and good capitalists always externalize the cost. I can understand them not getting this as they are not the kind of people that deal with corporate scum from the bottom.
The not being ready for the panicked rush is about their models. They built in the uncertainty factor to maximize the multiplier effect. They simply would have had to include the line that all compliant deals within the time frame would be honored but they deliberately didn’t. Having taken that step not being ready for a stampede shows that they had a bad model or they ignored what the model told them. We need to find out which. These guys are supposed to be the best around but they can’t do a little math. They had $50 million for overhead, band width and servers are cheap but profit maximization corporations step in on a no bid contract and we will now never be able to find out what the truth is.
The losers in this are not entirely clear but some of the complainers would seem to be attributing things that aren’t there. The charity car market crashed when they stopped allowing you to deduct book value for cars that were trash. As soon as they began only giving realistic deductions the adds went away overnight. The crashing of the used car market was in place long before this program began. The program has not helped it but numbers do not support it.
The arguments against stimulus lost at the ballot box and in the legislature so either you do not like democracy or you are just a bunch of sore losers. Either way I do not expect the facts to have any effect on the vast majority. I can only counter with what facts I can find and see what happens.
Those that complained that they had a clunker that didn’t qualify I tend to be sympathetic to your plight. If a second stimulus bill is proposed I would alter the program to include a larger range if the improvement is 50% MPG improvement or better. I do not favor another bill. The current bill has at least 18 months remaining so it is way too early to asses the effectiveness of the total package. That and the technical economic data show that it might be working as well as it can and consumer confidence is already beginning to rebound.
As to the buy American Buchanites out there you lost that battle when Nixon went to china. Nissan employs more Americans than Chrysler . Everyone at the dealership was an American worker. Our local credit union employs American workers. The concept that one corporation is American and for America and that some other corporation is a foreign devil against us is just so much nonsense to me.
It was not a good buy from an environmental standpoint and we should have spent the money on transit or renewable energy. The standards could have been tougher but the majority went way beyond the minimum standard anyway . Taking the money for the additional 2 billion from renewable funds was a bad idea but that happens in a compromise bill. The amount of funds that could be spent quickly on transit was finite.
Poor people that have to drive shitty cars. They may have less choice in their old beaters but there will be a glut of non drive train parts. I still maintain that the percentage of the market in used cars is so small as to be negligible but when you are poor it is the cumulative effects that keep you down.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Putting myself on the record as saying this is the beginning of a whitewashing of the war crimes of the Bush years. By limiting the scope and not allowing it to go up the chain to those that wrote the memos and asked for them to be written we get nothing. The way to prevent torture is to prosecute all those involved in torture. War crimes must be taken seriously and prosecuted or the spew of all those America is exceptional scumbags must cease. I am deploying the, "Rally Hamster" on behalf of human rights. Hoping he does better than he did over the weekend.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009


We had both Woofstock and A concert on the square for local treats this weekend. I opted for Moogot2 over the puppies. I was not disappointed here is a little video.

I am a little young for Woodstock but the idea of Woodstock has always been much larger than the event. Time passes the idea of peace and justice fades and you have the corporate state that we live in today. We are back to the greatest wealth disparity in America since the gilded age. Woodstock being the mid point in time. The promise never materialized and the world has remained cold and dark for most of its' billions of inhabitants. The same people that screamed at the antiwar protesters now scream at the health-care reformers. The question is will we follow the Reagan retreads bullshit or will wetry another way? So far I am not encouraged.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Our New Car

Welcome to our new car courtesy of the CARS program. In spite of a problematic start this was a very good deal for those that qualify. With a little effort and research the program made a new car possible for us.

Let me start by saying that my roommate and I are on fixed incomes due to disability. Our vehicle while still serviceable was old, inefficient and worth very little on the retail market.
First step on the road for us was to check our eligibility. We went to the web site. Be sure you are at a dot GOV site. This ensures you are dealing with the government. There is a list of Qualifications for your clunker. Less than 25 years old. Still drivable, street legal paper work for the last year, registered and insured. The idea of the program is to remove old gas guzzlers off the road and replace them with safer more fuel efficient cars so your combined MPG needs to be 18 or less. Our 1991 wrangler met all the requirements so we read the details, available as PDF files and then set out to find a new ride we liked and could afford. We checked a few sites like car and driver and consumer reports and talked to our insurance company to get the new rates for the top 4 finalists.
Armed with our research we went for some test drive’s
We needed maximum rebate and minimum cost so we were somewhat limited in our selection. We looked at the Hyundai accent, Toyota Yaris, Kia forte, Chevy cobalt and the Nissan Versa. We settled on the Versa base model sedan. We liked the size, feels like a mid sized, the handling was superior and our insurance company gave it it’s very highest safety ratings. The 5speed transmission shifts very smooth and the variable valve engine has horsepower to spare. The others were OK but all had some drawback for us. A tip for car designers. Back seat windows that don’t open suck. Cars that you cannot get anti-lock braking systems on are not my favorites either.
We picked our model and color then went home to wait for the rules to be set on the 24th of July.
After deciding on a car make your best deal. Keep in mind. The $4500 or $3500 ( and do your best to get the full amount. It will make the environmental part of the program more successful.), is just like cash to the dealer. A little effort that he will get compensated by the salvage yard for. He doesn’t have to sell your old car to get paid. In addition all the offers and discounts they are offering to non cars participants applied to us as well.
On the whole we liked our dealer with one exception, the trying to sell $3000 worth of insurance on a $13,000 car seemed excessive. Extended warranties are a bad deal and trying to sell me is an insult to my intelligence. We struck a deal produced the paperwork and waited for the website to approve us and that is when the fun began.
For those of you going now most of those problems are a thing of the past. The demand overwhelmed the system. I think if the 4 billion originally proposed had been appropriated people wouldn’t have been so stressed and the dealer would have been willing to deliver the cars when the contracts were signed as they were supposed to. Having to wait ten days foe the approval was not part of the deal and cast a bit of a shadow on the buying experience but we will get over it.
We got a new fuel efficient car (29 mpg combined rating is a 70% increase), that is much safer for us and everyone else on the road,( airbags and abs). The state of California gets a big chunk of sales tax. Mike and the guys at the local Nissan dealer sold 13 cars in a weekend when they hadn’t been doing squat. We have some domestic content but it was a NAFTA baby from Mexico. We would have liked to buy home made but could not afford the entry level Ford or GM products.
With the new funding approved and the kinks in the system solved this would seem to be one portion of the Recovery act that is working for the average American.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cash for ????

We participated in the cash for clunkers program and it was poorly run and our dealer held the vehicle illegally but we got a cool new car. The problem was in two areas. The web site set up by Citi group was not prepared for the onslaught. The dealers did not take the clunkers as directed in the program and stuck it to consumers by holding their cars.Here is a look at our farewell to jeep.

After stopping in at the doctor we headed to the beach. We also stopped in at the I center and picked up some Maui Wowie to top things off.

And our new Versa at Camel Rock