Getting ready to trash your Health Care?

“Cash for Clunkers” came to a screeching halt Thursday, after only six days on the road.

In a shocker, the government announced it would suspend the program at midnight because demand was too great. It may have been the best $1 billion the government has spent so far this year. It’s the deal where you get up to $4,500 for your older low mileage beast if you buy a new car with more efficient fuel consumption. But as usual, government bureaucrats can’t help but run even a great program into the ground! This writer is waiting for all the government apologists and those who someone plan to try to blame this on the auto industry. More importantly, if they can’t run this program, do you really want them managing your health care?

The program was scheduled to last through Nov. 1 or until the money ran out, but few predicted it would be depleted in days. Through late Wednesday, 22,782 vehicles had been purchased through CARS and nearly $96 million had been spent.

But dealers raised concerns about large backlogs in the processing of the deals in the government system. A survey of 2,000 dealers by the National Automobile Dealers Association found about 25,000 deals had not yet been approved by the government, or nearly 13 trades per store.

It suggested that with about 23,000 dealers taking part in the program, car dealers may already have surpassed the 250,000 vehicle sales funded by the $1 billion program.

“There’s a significant backlog of ‘cash for clunkers’ deals that make us question how much funding is still available in the program,” said Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the dealers association.

The reports that the CARS program could be suspended created confusion among many dealers, who had showrooms filled with car shoppers looking to scrap their gas guzzlers.

Alan Helfman, general manager of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, said he was worried that the government wouldn’t pay for some of his clunker deals. His dealership has completed paperwork on about 20 sales under the program, but in some cases the titles haven’t been obtained yet or the vehicles aren’t on his lot.

“There’s no doubt I’m going to get hammered on a deal or two,” Helfman said.


About Terry Crowley